Four months have passed since my (and many Sochi residents’) excitement over possibility to see new Europe-bound regular airline flights in the near future. But none of those routes have opened. No news from Ural and Yakutia airlines, and Orenair has Frankfurt/M, Munich, and Dusseldorf on the flight table, but only for Olympics dates. Not even for Paralympics.
Russian aviation authorities have recently allowed(rus) several new European destinations for direct regular flights from Sochi. This is very good news for both Sochi residents and foreign guests, who normally had to fly to Europe through other cities, usually Moscow, Krasnodar, or more recently Istanbul.
Flowing European cities were added to the map of the places that have direct air connection with Sochi:
Flight Sochi – Belgrade will be operated by Ural Airlines (starting July according schedule on their website) two times a week, Sochi – Prague flights – by Yakutia Airlines (they have newest Russian jet – Sukhoi Superjet 100, I hope we’ll see it here in Sochi) three times a week, all other destinations will be operated by Orenair (Orenburg Airlines) – subsidiary of Aeroflot – three times a week.
The only other foreign cities Sochi is currently directly connected with are Istanbul (Turkish Air, DonAvia), Trabzon (UTair), Erevan (Armavia, DonAvia), and a couple of Middle Eastern former Soviet cities.
Sochi News February 26th, 2011
Ok, so, there will be three! official mascots:
1. The Leopard (28%)
2. The Polar Bear (18%)
3. Zaya the dore hare (16%)
4. The Dolphin (12%)
5. The Bullfinch (10%)
6. The Little Sun (8%)
7. The Matryoshka dolls
8. Brown Bear
Percents are the poll results they announced.
Sochi News February 26th, 2011
Russian Paralympians chose Sunlight and Snowflake as mascots for the 2014 Paralympic Games. The poll for the Olympic mascot is going on right now.
Sochi News November 15th, 2010
I should’ve blogged about it a couple of months ago, but I was traveling, and changing to a new workplace.
There’s an ongoing public mascot contest organized by Sochi 2014 Olympic committee. It started on September 5th, and a month later they announced they are accepting international entries.
Their idea, as they announced it, is to get some ideas from public, and then they’ll give popular ones to the pros to complete them. So, when you see the pictured in their gallery, don’t jump to conclusions :)
Official website of the contest: talisman.sochi2014.com
On June 26th Russia and Abkhazia resumed passenger train services between Adler, Sochi and Gagra, Abkhazia. The train travels twice a day – at 7:05 AM from Adler’s train station, and back at 17:57 (5:57 PM) back the same day. The over two hours trip includes two ten minutes stops for passport control on both Russian and Abkhazian sides. Passengers do not leave the train for this procedure. More trains are expected to operate on this route in the near future.
The passenger train service between Sochi and Abkhazia was active in years 2003-2004, back then around 400 people traveled during each ride. It is hoped that resuming of the Sochi-Abkhazia train service will help to unload automotive Russia-Abkhazia border crossings, which increased in the recent years, and reaching 35000 people per day.
In this week’s government’s decision all tourism infrastructure in Russia – that includes hotels, ski resorts, beaches, and other tourist and recreational venues – will go through mandatory classification. And it will all start with hotels in Sochi.
Hotels in Russia are not in a hurry to get classified, as the procedure can be expensive, but the benefits are not always clear. Currently, only 5% of all Russia’s hotels went through classification. Meanwhile, Sochi’s commitement to the Olympics is 57 000 hotel rooms ranging two to five stars. Mandatory classification of all hotels will help to understand what is currently missing, what needs to be built.
How soon all this will start rolling wasn’t annouced.
On unrelated (well, related to hotels) news, Hilton will open Doubletree by Hilton Sochi-Adler hotel in the year 2012.
Turkish Airlines announced launch of flights from Istanbul to Sochi this summer season. Flights to Sochi will be three times a week.
I’m sorry, this picture is probably a little aggressive. But that’s what jumped into my head when I read new Sochi mayor’s initiative: all waiters and cab drivers will have to learn English or loose their jobs.
I recognize that it’s extremely important for services to be available in English by the time Olympics hits the city. And it’s really great that there will be free opportunities for everyone to learn it. But the ultimative tone of the mayor with which it was announced during his press conference irritates me a great deal. Let’s look at this straight – it’s really hard to learn a foreign language, and it’s harder yet to keep what you’ve learned if you don’t use it. Along the fine improvements promised, which should improve live in the city, come real problems to many when their lives come across anything related to the Olympics – people loose great living locations, property, businesses, or will be relocated quite far from where they lived all their lives. And now you intimidate them with possibility to loose their jobs? That’s just not right.
Well, this is the the twist in the news of the day, which is apparently, soon, English language courses will be available to all Sochi residents – free. No dates have been mentioned, it just been revealed that the money for this are allocated for in the target-program «Sochi — hospitable city».
And this is the good news!
Because stuff like this is embarrassing: Read the rest of this entry »
Sochi administartion introduced ban on smoking in public areas – all educational, healthcare, and cultural establishments are declared smoke-free zones. Smoking is no longer allowed in parks and beaches as well.
Smiking is allowed in open-air cafés, though.
There already are similar federal laws in effect in Russia limiting smoking in some areas. But they are seldom enforced, and same thing will likely to happen to this piece is local legislation.
I’ve installed ratings plug-in on this site, which adds 5-star rating widget to the end of each article. It available when you open an article. Please rate my posts, this will help me understand what I should write about and how. Thanks!
Grigor Matevossyan (Григор Матевосян) from Sochi, member of Russia Junior Thai Boxing team, has won gold medal in the Cruiser Weight category (under 86 kg) at the IFMA Muay Thai World Championship 2009 which took place earlier this month.
Despite the great loss of 4000 tropical fish in September, the Discovery World Aquarium in Sochi - now larget in Russia and one of few of this kind in the World – did open in time before the New Year.
The Aquarium located in Adler district of Sochi. There are 29 aquariums hosting around 4000 fish of 200 kinds, and it is expected to welcome 1.2 million visitors each year. I believe it’s reachable.
photos (c) Alexandr Valov
You can find more photos from the Aquarium and opening ceremony in Alexandr’s photo album.
New terminal of Sochi International Airport, which was under re-construction for over a year now, or maybe even two years, is expected to start operating in test mode in February, and to open in March of 2010. The International sector is expected to handle 500 passengers / hour, and triple that during the Olympics.
Originally, when the building for this terminal was completed back in early 90’s, it was to be the domestic terminal, and the old (current) terminals, being much smaller were to be reconstructed to welcome international visitors. Now, it seems, they have different plans. I really hope this is not going to be terminal for international visitors only. Because Russian tourists, who visit this city in great numbers, who support it economically, who know and love the city, and who’s tax money are helping to bring the Olympics here, deserve comfort and convenience too.