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A Day in Sochi

door: Cityseeker
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Southern Flora Park (Yuzhniye Kultury Park)

Locals call this park "green Hermitage." It has an astonishing collection of rare plants from all over the world. The park is especially gorgeous during spring, when the sakura is in full bloom. Yuzhniye Kultury is located in the Adler District, where the coastal Olympic facilities are located.

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Resort City Sochi History Museum (Muzei Istorii Goroda-Kurorta Sochi)

Housed in a former school building with neoclassical architecture, the Resort City Sochi History Museum is a culturally important institution with thousands of items on display. Among the exhibits are documents and important artifacts related to the city's history, including photographs and archeological objects. You will learn about the ancient history of the area, the foundation of Sochi in the 19th century, the Civil and Great Patriotic Wars, and Sochi's past as the resort capital of the Soviet Union. The museum organizes excursions for schoolchildren, dedicated to topics such as "Astronauts in Sochi," "Black Sea and Its Inhabitants," "Nature of the Western Caucasus," and "The Archaeological Sites of the Sochi region."

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Morskoy Vokzal (Morvokzal)

Built in 1955, Morvokzal (the Seaport Building) counts among Sochi's most famous architectural landmarks. It has long been one of the summer capital's most recognizable symbols. The Morvokzal is also a functioning sea terminal, from which you can take a short sea cruise or a trip to Gagra in Abkhazia, Batumi in Georgia, or Trabzon in Turkey.

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Riviera Park

Founded in 1898, the Riviera Park counts among Sochi's most beloved tourist attractions. Here, you can feast your eyes on rare and exotic plants, see a rock or pop gig at the Zeleny Theater, or relax at one of the park's many bars and cafes. For children, there is a variety of amusement rides. Located close to the sea, Riviera Park truly has something for everyone.

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Sochi Art Museum (Sochinsky Khudozhestvenny Muzei)

This museum is housed in a former Communist Party City Committee building. Established in 1971, the institution boasts a collection of around 5,000 objects that illustrate the evolution of art and culture in Russia. Permanent exhibitions are dedicated to Russian and Soviet art of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, Russian crafts, and the 2014 Sochi Olympics (the latter features plans and maquettes). The painting collection includes works by beloved masters such as Ivan Shishkin and Ivan Aivazovsky.

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Nikolai Ostrovsky Literature Memorial Museum (Literaturno-Memorialny Muzei N. A. Ostrovskogo)

If you are really into Russian literature, the Ostrovsky museum is a must-visit. Part of this museum is dedicated to the life of Nikolai Ostrovky, a famed socialist realist writer who wrote one of the quintessential literary works of the Soviet period, the novel "How the Steel was Tempered." The street the museum is on is named after the novel's protagonist, Pavel Korchagin. Another part of the museum tells the story of Sochi's literary life. In addition to all that, the museum organizes fine art exhibitions. Please visit the museum's website for the opening hours.

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Arboretum (Dendrary)

The Arboretum (Dendrary) park is one of Sochi's main tourist attractions. It dazzles with its collection of subtropical flora, including various species of pines, oaks, cypresses, and palms. There are special zones on-site dedicated to the flora of the Caucasus, China, Japan, South America, North America, Australia, and Mediterranean countries.

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Cheshskoye Pivo (Czech Beer)

If you like beer, check out this brewery and restaurant at the corner of Donskaya and Gagarina streets. It offers a posh ambiance and a menu filled with beer grub such as knedliky (Czech dumplings), as well as seafood dishes. For music lovers, the restaurant regularly organizes live music concerts.

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Friendship Tree Garden Museum (Sad-Muzei Derevo Druzhbi)

This beautiful garden is located close to the Central Stadium and the Arboretum. Its centerpiece, the Friendship Tree, is a unique experiment started by horticulturalist Fyodor Zorin in 1934. It is a wild lemon tree, onto which branches of other citrus trees, including orange, grapefruit, and tangerine trees, have been grafted. The tree has branches added by people from more than 160 countries, some of them famous politicians, scientists, astronauts, and cultural figures. The landmark celebrates internationalism and peace. The garden has a museum where various gifts to the Friendship Tree are collected.

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Agura Waterfalls

The three Agura River waterfalls count among the top natural attractions in Sochi. They are located in the Khosta District, about two and a half miles (four kilometers) from the seashore. You can get there by bus or marshrutka (share taxi). You will have to catch your ride in the center of the city, get off at the Sputnik stop, and then cross the Agura River and follow the signs for a little bit more than half a mile. The entrance to the Agura Gorge is situated near Kavkazsky Aul, a local restaurant. The first and lowest waterfall is considered the most splendid, so there are often a lot of tourists there. Stairs lead to the next two waterfalls. After you see them, you can either visit the Orliniye Skaly (Eagle Rocks) or take a longer route to the majestic Akhun Mountain. Orliniye Skaly are said to be the rocks to which Prometheus was chained, and fittingly, there is a statue of him on top. Prometheus was watched by a god called Akhyn, who lived on the Akhun mountain. When Akhyn saw a local girl named Agura giving Prometheus water, he turned her into a river. On top of the Orliniye Skaly you can not only enjoy the view and take pictures with Prometheus, but also buy some snacks and drinks at the nearby kiosk. From here, you can descend to the Matsesta microdistrict, famous for its balneotherapy resort.

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Sochi National Park (Sochinsky Natsionalny Park)

Sochi National Park is 190,000 hectares (469,500 acres) of natural and cultural wonders. There are mountains, canyons, rivers, waterfalls, gorges, and caves. Among the park's main attractions are Akhun Mountain, the Zmeyka Cascade, the Vorontsovskiye Caves, and the Khosta Yew and Boxwood Grove. Cultural attractions include the ruins of a Byzantine temple, a Bronze Age dolmen, and the watchtower on top of the Akhun. The national park is home to various kinds of rare flora and fauna, including several leopards that live in open-air cages.

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Khosta Yew & Boxwood Tree Grove (Khostinskaya Tiso-Samshitovaya Roscha)

On an Akhun Mountain slope there is a truly ancient grove, with yew and boxwood trees hundreds of years old. In 1952 the grove was featured as an in the famous Soviet fairy tale movie Sadko. There are two routes through the grove: the small ring, which allows you to see the main attractions in 30 minutes, and the large ring, for those who want a longer hike. To get to the grove, you will need to walk up Samshitovaya Street from the Khosta-Most bus stop. From the grove you can get to the top of Akhun Mountain, the Orliniye Skaly (Eagle Rocks), and the Agura Gorge.

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