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About Sochi

General Information

Founded around 160 years ago, Sochi city is one of the biggest Russian cities at the Black Sea. The city population is about 300,000 people, but each year it hosts more than 3 million holidaymakers. The city spreads out 145 km along the Black Sea coast and therefore is among the most stretched cities in the world.

Sochi is called the summer capital of Russia. It consists of the resort settlements of Adler, Hosta, Matsesta, Dagomys, and Lazorevskoye. Mineral springs, attractive coastal and mountain scenery, long beaches, and the warm climate have made Sochi large and popular resort. The city is located on the same latitude as Toronto, Nice, and the Gobi Dessert, north of the border with Georgia.


Situated in the midst of lush, subtropical gardens on the Black Sea's most stunning stretch of coastline, Sochi provides the ideal destination for leisure visitors.

No matter what time of the year you come here, you find the same picture - sunshine and greenery all over. There are few cities in the world as rich in greenery and flora as Sochi. Three-quarters of its territory are under parks and gardens with 85 percent of evergreens.

The city is blessed with 300 days of sunshine. Squeezed between the Caucasus Mountains and the Black Sea, Sochi boasts a mild subtropical climate with the average summer temperatures of 25 Celcius. Very often the Black Sea temperatures in the summer are even higher than those of the air and swimming is enjoyable from May till October.

Full of greenery and open space, Sochi is the perfect place to relax. The opportunities for recreation and relaxation are endless. Over 250 hotels, health and spa centers offer their facilities to numerous guests the whole year.

It's a unique Russian city where the lush subtropical vegetation and the warm sea are close neighbors to snow-capped mountains. Within 2 hours of Sochi center with its pebble beaches and inviting waters of the Black Sea, you can be skiinig mountain ranges, enjoying some of the most beautiful and unspolit countryside - the ski resort of Krasnaya Polyana.

Come and savour many magical moments in Sochi, an easy-going, friendly resort city, offering a great many pleasures in ints subtropical warmth. A city which will suprise, delight and entertain all those who are prepared to enjoy every corner of it. Whatever your age, you'll never be short of something to do or see in Sochi. It's time to relax, explore and adore the wonders of this God-blessed city.

City telephone code is 8622.

Time: Moscow time + 3.

The Black Sea city of Sochi has been a popular Russian resort area for nearly two centuries. Located approximately 1,500 miles due south of Moscow, the city is famous for its favorable climate, beautiful landscapes, beaches, parks, health resorts, spas, and hotels, as well as mineral springs, which have prompted the development of spas, such as the renowned Matsesta. Tourism is the leading industry of the city and provides growth for other sectors, such as health care, hotel services, construction, restaurants, and food processing. During the last decade, the popularity of Sochi has waned as Russians, granted new travel freedoms, began vacationing abroad. However, as a result of the economic crisis that began in 1998, including the devaluation of the ruble, Russians have redirected their attention back to the area. During summer 1999, the number of visitors registered at hotels, health resorts, and other facilities reached 1.5 million, up from 569,400 in 1998. However, the city does not offer an adequate supply of high-quality restaurants, hotels, and leisure attractions to meet the great demand.

Sochi is accessible by air and sea. It has an international airport that offers air connections with most major Russian cities, as well as Western Europe, through Moscow. Currently, a new modern terminal is being built to extend the airport`s capacity. Modern airport management, as well as funds to complete construction, is needed to finalize this project. Sochi`s seaport provides a direct sea connection with Turkey, Greece, Georgia, and Ukraine. A new trading port in Sochi is currently under construction.

Tourism is the most promising and developed sector in Sochi. Visitors are attracted not only by the pleasant summer weather and Black Sea, but also by skiing and sports competitions and other attractions, business events and trade fairs, and health spas and medical treatment centers.

Although most tourists flock to the city in the summer, the winter season also attracts skiers to the Krasnaya Polyana resort, which was founded by Alpika Service. The firm, which constructed ski tracks and provides equipment rental, instruction, and ski lifts, is currently seeking partners or investors to help expand the complex into a high-quality, all-season tourist complex with hunting, fishing, and mountain climbing. A candidate to host the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, Sochi hosts many sports competitions that attract thousands of athletes and spectators each year.

Sochi has some 200 hotels and sanatoria (health spas) that offer a range of services and standards. Among the best hotels are the Radisson SAS Lazurnaya a nd Dagomys, both owned by Russian gas monopoly Gazprom. Another four-star hotel also run by Radisson, the Lazurnaya Peak, is located outside the city center at the Krasnaya Polyana ski resort. Several of Sochi`s sanatoria are located in centuries-old villas, all in need of renovation and interior modernization as well as improved hospitality management. The most striking such sanatoria are the Ordzhonikidze, Rus`, and Sochi. Many sanatoria and hotels were built in the second half of the 20th century, with modern architecture. During the Soviet era, they belonged to different large Soviet organizations that sent their employees to Sochi for vacations. Now all sanatoria are privatized. Many of them are partly renovated and receive visitors throughout the year. For example, hotel Zhemchuzhina (Pearl) is gradually renovating its rooms to international standards. Zhemchuzhina`s management seeks an investor for further renovations and preparations to acheive international certification as a four-star hotel.


Sochi has a very long history. The area was inhabited about 400,000 years ago. The local Akhshtyrskaya Cave is the northernmost point southeast of Europe in which Cro-Magnon men, the first ancestor of Europeans, lived. Even the name of the city comes from antiquity. Procopius of Caesurae of the Byzantine Empire made note that the natives of the empires Black Sea coast were called Sachi in Latin.

Sochi was established in 1896 on the site of the former Navaginskoye fort and began developing as a resort town in 1902 .

The territory of Sochi became a part of Russia at the end of the Caucasian War. Officially founded in 1898, Sochi was set-aside as a resort area. Its fate was decided when salubrious hydrogen springs were discovered throughout the area. Since then it has been developed as a health resort that is now the best in Russia. The first hotel called Kavkaz Riviera was opened in Sochi in 1909. As the area became popular before the revolution, many wealthy people from St. Petersburg and Moscow came down and built splendid summerhouses.

In the 1940s and 50s sanatoriums, spas, and resorts rose by the hundreds. Most sanatoriums were built to treat bronchial, lung and nervous disorders. Now there are over 250 stretched along the shores and hidden in the mountains. In the Soviet times, Sochi was the most popular resort in Russia.

The end of communism not only brought an increase in prices. In addition, Russians got the opportunity to travel overseas, so some have gone off to see the rest of the world. The crowds have thinned. However it is still popular and many people come to Sochi beaches and sanatoriums in summer.

Climate and Nature

Sochi is a region of many contrasts, which is especially true in respect to landscape and climate. Sochi is located between the sea and lies on the early Caucasian Mountain range.

The climate in Sochi is semi-tropical. The average temperature in winter is 8-10 C and it rarely rises above 30 C in summer. There are about 200 days of sunshine a year. Similar to Northern California, it is possible to swim in the sea from April through October, and ski on slopes from October into May.

Palm, banana, and citrus trees, and an ever-blooming parade of flowers can be found in the region. More than 80% of the territory is part of a national park or the Caucasian State Biosphere Reserve.

The City Today

The best Soviet architects constructed Sochi architectural ensemble in the 1930s and the 1950s, but the major attraction of Sochi is the natural beauty of the region. Today Sochi is called the Russian Riviera. Its black sand and pebble beaches stretch over 20 miles along the Black Sea coast.

A must-see is the citys beach. A short stroll from the beach, over the Sochi River, is the Park Riviera. Located in Sochis most popular park are art galleries, cafes, games, and amusement rides. Russian astronauts and celebrities have planted magnolia trees there.

To see a whole diversity of different plants, Dendrary Botanical Garden should be visited. Not far from Dendrary is the Friendship Park with its Trees of Friendship and museum.

Not far from Sochi about an hour into the mountains is Krasnaya Polyana. It is where the ski slopes are located. On the way to Krasnaya Polyana there is the largest trout farm in Russia.

Throughout the area strange structures from a little known dolman culture are scattered. An ancient local legend says that these Dolman houses were built by giants for the dwarfs who rode hares. However, the current theory is that they are sacral cult constructions with sun orientations. They were built at the same period as the Egyptian pyramids, and it is thought, using the same techniques.

Traveling to Sochi

By Plane
There are several flights a day from different Moscow airports: Vnukovo, Domodedovo, and Sheremetyevo-1. Flight time between Moscow and Sochi is about 2 hours. Visitors from outside Russia can fly to Sochi through Istanbul (Turkey), or UAE (Dubai). There are also flights from most big cities in Russia.
Aeroflot: Sochi (8622) 94-40-97 Moscow/ (095) 753-55-55/
Flights to Istanbul by Chernomor Avia - representative in Istanbul tel. 0544-813-11-12

By Train
There are several daily trains from Moscow. Train travel from Moscow to Sochi takes from 26 hours (the fastest train) to 32 hours. (Cost from $50-100)

By Ferry or Hydrofoil
The seaport of Sochi is located in the city and serves both passenger and cargo ships. There is direct sea connection with Turkey and Georgia. There is a ferry to Trabson (4-5 times a week) and a ferry and a hydrofoil to Istanbul (about 12 hours) once or twice a week. The ferry (and hydrofoil to Georgia) three times a week.

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