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2014 Winter Olympics

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Sochi - a sought-after resort destination before and after the Olympics

Shots of Sochi and Krasnaya Polyana
Shots of Sochi and Krasnaya Polyana
Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

When most people think of the winter Olympics, they imagine snow. Many would be surprised to learn that Sochi is a sub-tropical Russian resort town on the Black Sea, made popular because the likes of Stalin and Putin spent their holidays there. Many of Russia’s elite have built vacation homes near Sochi’s beaches. So why, one might ask, is the city of Sochi hosting the winter Olympics? Why not freezing cold St. Petersburg or Moscow, where snow abounds?
Well, for one, the popularization of Sochi may significantly increase tourism to Russia, especially attracting those who prefer milder climates from Moscow or St. Petersburg. The mountain region just east of Sochi, The Krasnaya Polyana Mountain cluster (just about an hour’s drive outside of Sochi), provides a top-notch skiing destination for the outdoor winter Olympic events. Athletes returning to the milder climate at sea-level, after competing in the mountains, may appreciate the warmer weather of Sochi’s mild winter.
Palm-tree-laden Sochi is a beautiful city, not only for its beaches and subtropical climate, but also for its neoclassical architecture, much of which was built up in the first half of the 20th century. Joseph Stalin influenced much of the early development of the city because he chose to have a summer residence built there. The architecture and weather are reminiscent of Nice, France, and other Southern French resort towns. Perhaps Stalin wanted to build something in Russia that equaled the beauty and resort style of southern France.
Sochi seems to offer so much as a tourist destination, it’s difficult to doubt that, after the Olympics, the area will surface as an extremely sought-after international vacation spot. Aside from the Black Sea and the beaches, people are treated to the gorgeous architectural views of the buildings, surrounded by idyllic, lush plant life. Behind the small city of Sochi, the buildings are dwarfed by an imposing mountainous region - one can imagine a beautiful beach resort town, with snow-capped mountains looming in the distance! Sure sounds like an incredible view - and definite must-see if visiting the country of Russia!
Other neat things to see near Sochi are Lake Tshyna (Blue Lake), thermal hot springs (who doesn’t like those!?) and Mzymta River.

Olympic Event being held at the Krasnaya Polyana mountain cluster
Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images
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