Sochi, Russia - Home of the 2014 Winter Olympics
The XXII Olympic Winter Games are upon us, scheduled for February 7-23 2014 in the coastal city of Sochi, Krasnodar Krai, Russia. The humid subtropical climate and abundance of palm trees in Sochi might seem a bit unusual for winter sports, but the close proximity of the Caucasus Mountains makes the city a convenient hub for the upcoming Winter Games.
Ever since the decision in 2007 to make Sochi an Olympic host city, plans have been made to prepare for what will be the first Olympics in Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union. Since Americans boycotted the Moscow summer games in 1980, this will also be the first time Americans will compete in Russia for the Olympics. The newly constructed Olympic Park in Sochi includes arenas and stadiums for skating sports as well as an Olympic Village. The nearby mountains of Krasnaya Polyana will host mountain sports such as snowbording and skiing.
Quick Facts about the Winter Olympics 2014
- Events will be held in the city of Sochi and in the mountains near the resort town of Krasnaya Polyana
- 6,000 athletes from around the world will be competing in 15 sports disciplines
- Venues for the Olympic Games were constructed for the Paralympic Games as well, creating a more accessible location
- Sustainability and modern technology that promotes a healthy lifestyle are some of Sochi Olympics objectives, and "green" standards were used in construction
- A new rail line will provide 30-minute access from Sochi to Krasnaya Polyana
- Alpine Skiing
- Cross-country Skiing
- Ice Hockey
- Figure Skating
- Speed Skating
- Short-track Speed Skating
- Ski Jumping
- Nordic Combined
Sochi City Stats
Population (as of 2010): 343,334
Area: 1,353 sq miles
Climate: Humid Subtropical
Industry: Tourism, Trade, Construction
Predominant Religion: Christian and Muslim
Climate of Sochi
Sochi lies along the coast of the beautiful Black Sea in the Krasnodar region of southwestern Russia. The unusual humid subtropical climate creates hot summers and mild winters, though the nearby Caucasus Mountains provide easy access to colder winter conditions which are ideal for the Olympic Games.
Sochi lies along the 43º N latitude, which is the same as that of Florence, Italy. The climate of Sochi is similar to that of Florence, with temperatures generally staying above freezing in the winter months, and keeping between 70 and 85º F in the summertime.
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Things to do in Sochi
- Visit the botanical gardens at the Dendrarium
- Hike to the Agura Waterfalls
- Swim in the Black Sea
- Attend the opera at the Winter Theatre
- Tour the Sochi Art Museum
- Ski the Caucasus Mountains
Known as the Black Sea Pearl, Sochi is one of the most popular travel destinations for Russian residents, having over 4 million visitors every year. With about 300 sunny days a year, Sochi is a great summer destination for sunbathing and swimming in the Black Sea. Russia has been, until recently, a somewhat closed country to outside visitors. A getaway to Russia was not a typical vacation, to say the least. But with improved circumstances over the past few decades, visitors are able to see more of this beautiful country, and the upcoming Olympic games are improving tourism and the local economy.
People of Sochi
President Vladimir Putin enjoys vacationing in Sochi, having built a massive palace in the nearby town of Gelendzhik.
Communist dictator Joseph Stalin had a dacha or "second home" built in Sochi.
Sochi is the birthplace of:
- Kharis Yunichev, Olympic swimmer and bronze-medalist
- Elena Vesnina and Yevgeny Kafelnikov, professional tennis players
- Vladimir Nemshilov, Olympic swimmer and bronze-medalist
- Alexey Voyevodam, Olympic bobsledder, silver-medalist, and bronze-medalist
- Andre Geim, physicist and winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics
A Brief History of Sochi
The history of Sochi goes back millenniums. Ancient tribes such as the Maeotae, Sindi, Cercetae, and Zygii had long inhabited the area when it was discovered by the Ancient Greeks in the 5th and 6th centuries BC. The Greeks set up a thriving slave trade with the locals.
Jump forward to the 1800s AD. Ottoman Turkey and Russia had disputes over land rights in the region, and the Russians eventually built a fortress in 1838 in what is now Sochi. The local Circassians didn't recognize Russian rule, and a hundred-year conflict ensued starting in 1763. In 1864 Russia won the war, leading to mass genocide and exodus of the Circassians. Russia has controlled the area ever since.
Map of Sochi, Russia
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