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At 30 meters above sea level, the city of Sochi extends for more than 145 km along the eastern Black Sea coast, also called the “Russian Riviera”. Sochi is located in Russia’s Krasnodar region near the Georgian border and has about 350,000 inhabitants. Running along the hinterland of the city is a low mountain range of the Caucasus Mountains with an average altitude of 1,000 meters, and about 25 to 40 km from the coast are the towering 3,000-meter high glacier-covered peaks of the Caucasus main ridge.
The average annual temperature in Sochi is 14.5° C and the average annual precipitation is about 1,600 mm. The coldest months are January and February with minimum temperatures around 3° C. The warmest months are July and August with maximum temperatures around 27° C. The majority of the precipitation falls as snow in the winter months from November to January and the lowest amount of precipitation falls in the form of heavy downpours in just a few summer days, mainly in the months of May and June.
Different climate zones are found in Sochi: in the coastal area of the city, a subtropical climate prevails, in other words, long hot summers and short mild winters, due to its sheltered position close to the sea and the mountain peaks of the Caucasus. Thus the average water temperature of the Black Sea here in August is 24.1° C. Winter temperatures average 0° C in the low mountain regions, such as in the area around Krasnaya Polyana where the Olympic snow competitions will be held and are lower than the coast by an average of 5 to 6 degrees. The temperatures are naturally lower in the high mountain regions. The ski season here usually extends from November until the beginning of June.
The impressive geographical location on the coast of the Black Sea and at the foot of the Caucasus Mountains make Sochi one of the most popular tourist destinations for Russians in summer and winter.
Sochi is the second Russian city, besides Moscow in 1980, to be awarded the Olympic Games by the International Olympic Committee. Thus from February 7th to 23rd, 2014, the XXII Winter Olympics took place for the first time in a subtropical city by the sea and also for the first time in the Caucasus Mountains. All the ice rinks were built in the “Sochi Olympic Park” directly by the sea and for the first time in the history of the Olympic Games, they are all within walking distance. The cross-country skiing, biathlon, ski jumping, bobsled and luge competitions were held about 70 km east of Sochi in the region around the mountain village of Krasnaya Polyana at about 600 meters above sea level. Another 8 km from Krasnaya Polyana is where all the alpine ski competitions and freestyle and snowboard competitions were held on the snow-sure mountain plateau of Rosa Chutor. Television viewers of the Russian TV channel Perwy chose three animals as the official mascots of the 2014 Winter Olympics: the Leopard (with the highest number of votes), the polar bear and the rabbit.
Apart from the Olympic Games, the Krasnaya Polyana ski resort offers skiers numerous lifts and runs of varying difficulty. In winter, the slopes in the valley of the Mzymta River are also known nationwide for their fantastic powder snow and they allow skiers and snowboarders an optimal free-ride feeling. You can also enjoy a breathtaking panorama from the ski resort across the Caucasus Mountains to the Black Sea.
The mild climate and long beaches of black sand and pebbles make Sochi one of the most popular seaside resorts in Russia in the summer. In addition, since Tsarist times the city has been a known health spa center where several sanatoriums with healing springs and parks with sub-tropical vegetation such as palm trees, bananas, citrus trees and beautiful colorful flowers are found. Also worth seeing are the monuments and impressive buildings of Stalinist architecture such as the Cathedral of the Archangel Michael, the Russian Orthodox Church of St. Vladimir and the summer theater. In the university town of Sochi located next to the State University of Sochi are also numerous smaller research institutes and the Russian International Olympic University.
Behind the coastal strip stretch the mountainous region of the Caucasus as part of a 40,000-hectare national park with a diverse landscape and an enormous variety of plants and animals. Vast deciduous forests, flower-strewn alpine meadows, deep gorges, mysterious mountain caves, breathtaking waterfalls and clear mountain lakes open up a variety of recreational options including hiking, trekking, horse riding, caving, white water rafting, canoeing, paragliding, taking photos on helicopter sightseeing flights, and much more.
Sochi regularly hosts major international events.
2014: G8 Summit
2016: Icehockey World Championship
2018: Football World Cup
2014 to 2020: Formula 1 “Grand Prix of Russia”
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