Tuesday, March 15, 2016

RUSSIA: Sochi, Pearl of the Black Sea

Sochi is not just another city in Russia. Apart from it being the host of 2014 winter olympics games and a leg of Formula 1 race, Sochi is dubbed the “Summer Capital of Russia”, some call it the Russian Riviera. Yes, imagine long stretches of picture perfect beaches, waterfront board way, palm trees, bustling nightlife and you will pretty much get the point. However, Sochi is not just about sun-kissed perfection. It is also a fascinating destination for winter sports enthusiasts, foodies and Yoga masters. Read on to find out what makes Sochi special!


Sochi is located in the Southernmost region of Russia, so expect a well-blended assimilation of culture between the neighboring countries. The region is described as a melting pot of Russian, Georgian, and Caucasian cultures, which can be justified by the food, drinks and wine they serve!


The open 
sea, mountainous coastline, dramatic mountain ranges, and mysterious caves. If you are looking for outdoor adventures, you’ve just found a treasure box! Some notable attractions includes:  

  • Mt. Akhun, which is arguably the point that provide the best panoramic view of the city,  

  • Agurskoe Canyon with cascades of 3 waterfalls surrounded by towering cliffs.

  • 33 waterfalls, which as it’s name implies, contains 33 waterfalls in one scenic place

3. SKI

photo credits: Lee Siew Suan
It has been Russian’s favorite skiing destination since the Soviet times. Despite Sochi’s close association with warm sunny beaches, it is also blessed with snow-capped mountains. So get your ski ready and have a blast in Krasnaya Polyana!


The region's many renowned balneotherapeutic spas, hydrosulfuric, iodine-bromine water springs and mud-baths keep the city’s medical and leisure tourism in high demand among Russians. One of the most sought-after therapeutic sessions is the dolphin therapy. Sonic waves emitted by the mammals are believed to modulate immune system, reduce stress and ease autism.


Sochi become well known when it first won the bid to host 2014 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. Although they were mixed reviews about how Sochi did as a host, it is still a great breakthrough for Russia since the breakup of USSR in 1991. Also, you may visit the Olympic coastal and mountain cluster during your trip.


There is a good reason why Stalin chose Sochi to build his summer residence in. Throughout the year, the "dacha" witness historical meetings including one with Chairman Mao from China. Today, it is converted into a museum displaying personal belongings and Stalin’s waxwork. There are also some Byzantine style ruins of fortress and temples from 4-5 century A.D. not far from the city.
Photo credits: Lee Siew Sean
The Adler Dolphinarium is definitely the highlight of our trip to Sochi. For only 450 Rubles, we get to enjoy a spectacular 50-minute dolphin performance. This is probably the cheapest place in the whole wide world to do something similar.


Ever heard of the term “Stalinist period Empire Style buildings”? Me neither! So I went there to find out. Best examples of the style is said to be the Central train terminal, Winter Theater and Sochi Art museum, which are indeed beautiful.


One of the most famous caves in Sochi is the Akhtyrshskaya Cave in Adler district, which was inhabited by primeval people. We went inside the cave with a tour guide who enthusiastically explained the many petroglyphic drawings and other primeval tools.


The Singing Fountains in the heart of the city is hard to missed, with those water streams sing and dance every evenings (seasonal). Like I’ve said, the Sochi Art Museum is one of the best example of the unique architecture style typical to Sochi, and it is one of the prettiest building around. Even if you are not into art, simply roam around Greater Sochi and you’ll find so many monuments that you might adore.

photo by Artem Firsov on http://www.sochi-travel.info
They don’t call Sochi “the pearl of Black Sea” for nothing! The coast of Black Sea is such a breathtaking spot to catch a sunset. Walking down the board way, you’ll see an endless string of restaurants, bars and arcades lining the coast. Although it is still not quite a common sight, you may see people surfing in Sochi, it seems to me that the sport is gaining popularity in Russia!

12. PARKS 

Located just opposite the mosaic art of Stalin, lies the Riviera Park. This is probably the most popular public park of Greater Sochi, as it was packed even after sunset during winter months! There is an interesting corner called the “Glade of Friendship” where magnolia trees are planted by politicians, celebrities and social influencers, including the astronauts of Soyuz-Apollo. Arboretum Botanical Garden (Dendrarium) is also a favorite among visitors where you can ride a cable car up to the top for an unobstructed vista of the sea.

That’s not all! There’s more to look forward to since the opening of AJ Hackett Skypark Sochi in summer 2014, featuring the “worlds highest and longest Skybridge, suspending 207m above the ground, Bungy, the worlds biggest Flying Fox and Sochi’s Swing (The World’s Highest Swing).

These guys are the best. Photo credits: Lim Tsu Huey

Thank You for Reading! 
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