Thursday, February 06, 2014

Sochi: The Main Resort of the Russian Riviera

Back when Sochi was announced as the primary location for the 2014 Winter Olympics, some people may have thought a) why Sochi and maybe even b) but isn't Sochi as far south as Venice and right on a warm body of water?  Sochi is indeed a warm place with an average high of 50 Fahrenheit (10 Celsius) and an average low of 37 Fahrenheit (3 Celsius) in February.  In fact, the nice coastal climate has been given the name the Russian Rivera or the Caucasian Riviera.

So why Sochi?  Two reasons, first the nearby Caucasian Mountains and second the established tourism infrastructure.

Sochi.  From SeniorCitizen.Travel

The nearby Caucasian Mountains and their foothills give enough elevation for snow hills and tracks for many winter sports.  Meanwhile, winter and summer vacation has been popular in Sochi and the Black Sea Coast region of the Russian Rivera since the 1950s.  First it was for Communist Party elites but it slowly became more open to everyone.

Sadly some of the infrastructure began to fall apart in the 1980s and 1990s due to lack of funds and government priorities elsewhere.  This has left Sochi in a bit of a bind in which middle class Russian facilities and those for the ultra-rich are fine but facilities for athletes and foreigners are in such a sorry state that #Sochiproblems became a popular Twitter hashtag.

The main loser of Sochi, besides citizens who lost their pillows to foreigners and any anti-corruption Russian, is Abkhazia.  One in the de facto independent state/separatist region of Georgia can actually see of some of the Sochi facilities from the border.  Many Abkhaz's were hoping to cash in on the Olympics by offering affordable alternatives for staying and sight seeing.  However, Russia's anti-terrorism perimeter integrates itself to the Abkhaz-Russian thus practically closing down all traffic from the de facto republic to Sochi.

1 comment:

M.L. Hayes said...

I think we both had the same idea. I made a video and a blog entry about Sochi.