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Sochi

Sochi is the pearl of the ‘Russian Riviera’ (and 2014's Winter Olympics host city). It is the largest Russian resort. It stretches for 147 km along the Black Sea coast of Krasnodar region. Sochi is surrounded by the Caucasian Mountains which protect Sochi from the cold northern air. Mild subtropical climate, high mountains with the plenty of greenery, warm azure sea, healing mineral water springs make Sochi one of the world's best seaside resorts. The surrounding mountains also make Sochi an ideal winter sport destination. Its beach could easily be mistaken for an oversized rock garden. Apart from ancient attractions, Sochi has many more places of interest.

Situated on the Black Sea coast, just north of the southern Russian border in Krasnodar Krai, is the city of Sochi, often called the summer capital of Russia. Out of all the cities on the Black Sea coast, Sochi is the third largest city by the number of tourists.

Sochi's main pride is its parks: Dendrary Park, Riviera Park, a park of subtropical trees in Khosta, and Sluchainoye Park in Adler. It is also worth noting that Sochi is the only resort in Russia, and one of the few in the world, that is located in a protected conservation area. The city is technically part of the State National Nature Park of Sochi and the Caucasus State Biosphere Reserve.

In 1921, the first health resorts were opened in Sochi. During World War II they served as hospitals, treating over 350,000 military personnel. Sochi was the main hospital base in Southern Russia, thereby it was later awarded the Order of the Great Patriotic War, 1st class, and became one of the largest national health resorts.

Today Sochi is the pearl of the Caucasus and Russia's biggest resort. It is one of the sunniest areas of Russia, with a 200-day holiday season, an average air temperature of 25 to 28°С (77 to 82°F) in summer, and the sea temperature of 22 to 25°С (72 to 77°F).

The mild climate, clean sea, fresh sea air, and unique terrain all provide for a wide variety of leisure activities: hiking at all levels, mountain biking, spelunking, skiing, rock and mountain climbing, horseback riding, canyon hiking, off-roading; wind surfing, scuba diving, sailing, seaplane rides, jet skiing and many others.

Several events of note are held in Sochi including the annual Kinotavr Film Festival, the Sochi Velvet Season Theatre Festival, fashion shows, organ and jazz music festivals, comedy club competitions; the billiards world championships; international cycling races, regattas and Russia's mountain bike championships. The city also holds children's festivals: The Magic of Dance, Kinotavrik and The Magic of Fairy Tales.

In September 2009, Sochi became a member of the World Union of Olympic Cities. Although the city submitted bids for the Olympic Games twice before—in 1994 and 1998—it only won the rights to host the games the third time. Sochi, Russia, was selected as the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics over Salzburg, Austria, and Pyeongchang, South Korea. This was the first time since the break up of the Soviet Union that Russia hosted a Winter Olympics. Over 2800 athletes from 88 countries participated in 98 events. The Olympic Village and Olympic Stadium are located on the Black Sea coast.Sochi was the first city with a subtropical climate to host Winter Olympic Games.

Many of the Olympic events took place at the Krasnaya Polyana ski resort center, which is located 40 kilometers from the coast, but within the city limits. An abundance of snow and mild winters have allowed the region to be developed as a winter resort. The high season here lasts four months, from January to April. The average day air temperature on the ski slopes is 0-2°С (32 to 36°F). The mountains are over 2,000 meters high.

It is also the venue of major international symposiums and official meetings. Many official events attended by foreign leaders, politicians, bankers and businessmen, and international forums are regularly held in Sochi.