Sochi, Russia

The coastal city of Sochi is located in the Krasnodar Krai territory in far southwestern Russia. Sochi is Russia’s largest and busiest seaside resort city, situated along the edges of the Black Sea and at the foot of the western slopes of the snow-capped Caucasus Mountains. The city is positioned about 1,603 km from the Russian capital of Moscow.

The city of Sochi is surrounded by the Tuapsinsky District in the northwest, Apsheronsky and Maykopsky Districts in the north, Mostovsky District in the northeast, and the transcontinental country of Georgia and the partially recognized state of Abkhazia in the southeast. The city is bounded by the Black Sea in the southwest.

Administrative Divisions

Sochi marine port, Russia. Image credit: ID1974/Shutterstock

The city of Sochi is administratively subdivided into the city districts of Adlersky, Khostinsky, Lazarevsky, and Central Tsentralny. With an area of 32 km2, the Tsentralny City District comprises many important tourist destinations like the Michael Archangel Cathedral, the Sochi Arboretum (botanical garden), the Winter Theater, and the Maritime Passenger Terminal, among others.  

Covering an area of 1,744 km2, the Lazarevsky City District is the largest and includes the micro districts of Dagomys, Fort Godlik, Golovinka, Loo, and Lazarevskoye. Khosta, Kudepsta, and Matsesta are some of the micro districts of the Khostinsky City District. With an area of 1,352 km2, the Adlersky City District is the city’s southernmost district. The district contains the Akhshtyr Gorge, several mountain villages, the rural locality of Estosadok, and Krasnaya Polyana ski resort. The Adlersky district also hosts a great ape breeding nursery and Russia’s largest trout fishery.

Geography

Map of Krasnodar Krai territory, Russia, with Sochi visible along the coast of the Black Sea. 

Created in 1961, the Greater Sochi area stretches for 145 km along the Black Sea coast and is considered Europe’s longest city. It is also the sixth-largest city on the Black Sea and the fifth-largest city in Russia’s Southern Federal District.

Some of the notable rivers in the city include Ashe, Khosta, Mzymta, Matsesta, Psezuapse, Psou, Shakhe, and Sochi.

Located in the northeastern part of the city and encompassing an area of 2,633 km2 is the Kavkazsky Nature Reserve/Caucasian Biosphere Reserve that was established in 1924. The area also includes the Sochi National Park. The Caucasian Biosphere Reserve is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

According to the Köppen Climate Classification, the city of Sochi experiences a humid subtropical climate with mild winters and warm and humid summers. In the winter months, the average temperature ranges between 10 °C during the day and 4 °C at night. In the summer months, the average temperature ranges between 25-29 °C during the day and 16 °C at night.

Brief History

Sochi Olympic Park, Russia. Image credit: Zotov Dmitrii/Shutterstock

As a result of the Caucasian War and the Russo-Turkish War in 1829, the coastal area along the Black Sea was occupied by the Russians. The Fort of Alexandria (renamed later as Navaginsky) was established in 1838, at the head of the Sochi River. During the Crimean War of 1853-1856, the fort was abandoned to prevent its capture by the Turkish troops. After the Caucasian War (1817-1864), the new Dakhovsky fort was built at the abandoned site of the Navaginsky fort. During this time, the Russians committed ethnic cleansing of the Circassian peoples who lived on the territory that is occupied by Sochi today.

In 1874, the Dakhovsky settlement was renamed Dakhovsky Posad. In 1896, Dakhovsky Posad was renamed again as Sochi Posad and it became a city and the district center of the Black Sea province. From 1900 to 1910, the city of Sochi Posad began to develop as a resort town. In June 1909, the city’s first resort, the “Kavkazskaya Riviera” (Caucasian Riviera) was opened. After the Russian Civil War, Sochi became a territory of Russia.

The city’s economy is dependent on tourism, resort, retail trade, food processing, and construction activities. The snow-capped peaks of the Caucasus Mountains, long sandy beaches, subtropical resorts, numerous parks, and important landmarks are major attractions for the many tourists who visit this beautiful Russian city. The city serves as a perfect venue for all types of winter sports. Sochi was the host city for the Olympic Winter Games in 2014. It was also one of the Russian cities to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

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