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Sochi quick fact: Population (2009)

Sochi News December 30th, 2009

Population of Sochi has increased during this last year; around 411 000 people live in Sochi today.

Source: Sochi mayor’s report from December 21, 2009

Other facts about Sochi »

Sochi fighter brings Gold from Thailand

People, Russia, Sochi News December 30th, 2009

Grigor Matevossyan - Muay Thai gold medalist

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.

Links: International Federation of Muaythai Amateur. The official results card for male juniors. Photo:

Sochi Discovery World Aquarium Opens

Sochi News December 28th, 2009

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 airport terminal to open in March

Development, Olympics 2014, Sochi News December 27th, 2009

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.

source; photo (c) D’82

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.

Sochi quick fact: Tourism numbers of 2009

Sochi News December 22nd, 2009

* Gross income from tourism in Sochi in 2009 was $738 000 000 (22,5 bln rubles), which is two times higher than during last year.

* Sochi was visited by around 4 800 000 tourists in 2009.

Source: Sochi mayor’s report from December 21, 2009

Other facts about Sochi »

Sea storm brings destruction

Multimedia, Sochi News December 21st, 2009

Sea storm that has been rocking the shore in and around Sochi has damaged part of new cargo port which is being constructed to support Olympic construction projects, flipped a construction boat that was used in building the port, and broke Moldavian cargo ship in half.

Following is a photo of the «Aras-I» cargo ship that broke in half.

(c) mmordasov

You can view the more photos of this at blog.

The couple of videos below show some of the destruction as it was happening.

Another video: Read the rest of this entry »

Hosting changed

Sochi-Travel.Info December 20th, 2009

Spent whole weekend moving this blog and forum to another hosting company and upgrading scripts. Hopefully the new company’s servers have better uptime and less database interruptions.

Our trip to Khosta

Other stories December 13th, 2009

This is a guest post about a trip to Khosta – district in Sochi and my home town – from Robert MacDonald, an American living in Russia since 2000. You can read another article about this trip on his blog: An October Summer in Sochi… 10 days away from St Petersburg rain and snow!

The other day I put on my many zippered vest as I was going on errands for my wife and needed many pockets for instructions, cell phone, roubles and kopeks change, and well as paper money and metro tokens!  It was then I found my lucky stone from the beaches of Khosta…around 5 cm across, black with green highlights, with white algae and cracks.  It is an ideal worry stone, that you can massage with your thumb when thinking.

Well, since then I have carried it with me, as I love collecting, cleaning, and examining stones, pebbles, and rocks.  Also, having a momento in my pocket takes me back to one of the very special trips of my life.  I’ve seen the New Jersey shore,Florida palms, the ideal climate of southern California, Mexico’s Acapulco, the Riviera, and Italy’s Amalfi Coast… but in my mind nothing can compare with Sochi!

So, what is so special about Sochi?  Read the rest of this entry »

Recent road inftastructure improvements

Development, Sochi News December 13th, 2009

Network of roads in the Olympic capital is 5 to 6 times smaller than Russian average – only 0.7 km per 1 sq km of territory. And only 25% of 2400 km or roads comply with modern safety requirements.
Minister of Transportation of Russia

* Construction of the road parallel to the main – and the only – road through Sochi’s center – the Kurortny Avenue – has just been started. It is not the service road around the city. This road is one of the “Olympic” projects. The road will be 17 km long, 6 tunnels are planned (digging of the first starts in January), and total cost just under $1 bln. Estimated completion – year 2013.

* You can now enter center part of Adler from round-about near the rail-road crossing… under the rail-road! The railroad has been closed, at least for now.

This area has been under heavy construction since last summer, giving a lot of headache to local residents. But I hear some good feedback on this recent change from  my friends.

* Joint Transportation Management Center Will Be Established in Sochi (source)

“The new structure will be formed on a basis of the Olympic Transport Board, will reflect the current road situation in real time and alert Sochi inhabitants to the existence and whereabouts of traffic jams.”

The information about traffic conditions has long been available to the drivers in some larger cities in Russia, like Moscow and St.-Petersnurg, via Yandex Traffic online & mobile services. Now similar service comes to Sochi, but it will only be useful if the road network will greatly increase.

Sochi Olympics mascot will be chosen by referendum

Olympics 2014 December 1st, 2009

A nationwide referendum will be held in Russia to  choose  a  symbol for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee President Dmitry Chernyshenko said.

“As  for  choosing  an  Olympic mascot, it will be done three years before the event in compliance with the rules. A mascot will be selected through  a  nationwide  referendum.  We  will  ask the entire country to choose an   image   that   will  symbolize  the  Sochi  Olympic  Games,” Chernyshenko said at a presentation of the event’s brand on Tuesday.


Photos from Sochi 2014 logo presentation in Moscow

Olympics 2014 November 30th, 2009

Official Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games Logo

The presentation of logo on the Red Square wasn’t canceled after all! The live coverage was, and the press conference where the new logo will be presented to the World was move to today, Tuesday December 1st (11am Moscow time). But the concert and presentation did go ahead. And the Official Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games Logo is what was leaked earlier – text “ 2014”. Here are a couple of pictures from the event:

Source:, you can find more photos from the concert there.

I guess now we just have to wait for a mascot. ? :o)

update: yet more photos are available here.

update 2: design has been updated fir the new brand. Official explanation of the logo: Read the rest of this entry »

Olympic logo presentation postponed

Olympics 2014, Russia November 30th, 2009

Olympic logo presentation was moved to Tuesday due to the tragedy on railroad between Moscow and St.-Petersburg.

upd: This is today, from the Red Square:


Officially will be presented tomorrow, December 1 at 11am Moscow Time ( 8am GMT ) at a press conference with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Moscow.

Sochi 2014 Olympic Logo leaked!

Olympics 2014 November 27th, 2009

I feel fairly certain, that the following is a real official Olympic logo for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games that will be presented this upcoming Monday.

That’s right, it’s what you see – “ 2014” painted with color of the Russian flag, plus the Olympic rings. Stop for a moment before reading further and look at it: how do you feel about it? Do you like it?

Why I think this is it? I might still be wrong about this, but a few things here and there come together:

  • Comments from officials how this will be unlike anything before
  • The “explanation” comments that came with the leak (read on), and how they sounded in line with everything that government is doing while spending a lot of money of various project in Russia, not just the Olympics
  • The fact that Russian Olympic committee took over domain name
  • Unofficial confirmation from a person I believe is closely involved with organizers of Sochi 2014 Games

For some time now officials hinted that we’ll see something new, exciting and modern. And on November 25th, five days before the logo officially announced, Russian «Vedomosty» newspaper leaked this blurry photo of the logo. According to the article the point of this design is to promote Sochi, Russia and to tie Sochi to Russia in people’s mind. Love it or hate it you’ll probably agree that this design will probably help to reach this goal. In addition, from personal experience, many people in Eastern European – Poles, Slovaks, and Czechs I’ve talked to – who know about Sochi, think it is part of Georgia, which has never been the case. This idea of using even logo to “advertise” Russia goes along the line with the government’s position of getting the most out of money they’ve spend, and with spending a lot of money in recent years to improve the view of Russia in the world (like English language news channel, the use of top branding agencies, etc. – things that many other developed countries do, to be fair).

Another thing that will be unique about the logo is that the official sponsors will be allowed to use their corporate colors on the logotype.

Vedomosti sources claim the logo design is by Interbrand (here’s their Imagining the new Russia article), and no certain info on compensation for logo design. Though they quote design experts putting the price tag in the $600 000 – $1 000 000 million range.

So, what do you say – good? bad? How do you like it?

And what do you think they should do to domain name after the Olympics?

Previous articles on this topic:

New Sochi 2014 logotype coming soon

Olympics 2014 November 24th, 2009

The word out is Sochi 2014 logo is scheduled to be unveiled in the great deal of pomposity on November 30 in Moscow – the Red Square, a concert, etc., Russia’s largest online news site, picked up on a blog post today, with another version of the logo. I don’t know why they started the speculation that this is the logotype that will be presented in Moscow next week, I don’t see where these rumors come from (upd: there’s a photo circulating online of this logo being presented somewhere). In any event, it’s pretty, so here it is for your viewing pleasure:

Parts of highway connecting Moscow and Sochi to become commercial

Development, Russia November 2nd, 2009

There are a few things you need to know in order to understand importance of this piece of news:

  • Main highway connecting Sochi to Moscow (or Moscow to Sochi, if you like) is federal highway M-4, aka «Don» highway
  • «There are only two problems in Russia: fools and roads» – this common Russian saying should tell you something about the overall state of roads in Russia
  • Recently, a law regulating pay roads in Russia has been passed, and State corporation established with intent to improve federal roads.

The «Don» highway crosses several regions in Russia: somewhere road pavement is good, somewhere it’s ok, but in Voronezh and Rostov regions it’s pretty bad. It’s so bad, in fact, that the part of the highway going through Rostov region is considered one of the most dangerous roads in the country (I’ll talk about this a little in one of the next posts). Several years ago, driving from St.-Petersburg to Sochi we witnessed five accidents with fatalities, four of which were on «Don», and all four between Voronezh and Rostov-on-Don. That’s only within two days. The latest trip I took on that road was this summer, in August, and it wasn’t that bad this time (no fatal accidents around, anyways), still the road is very bad in some regions.

One thing always surprises me on these trips, though, is Read the rest of this entry »