Not your typical Russian town, Sochi is a city of endless contradictions and surprises. Lodged between the sea and lush Caucasus Mountains, Sochi is a sprawling coastal metropolis with a wealth of Soviet-era palatial sanatoriums, ultra-modern skyscrapers, and an emerging food scene. Its subtropical climate with very mild winters and warm Black Sea by the side guarantees a constant flow of visitors all year round.
For many generations of Russians, Sochi has been the synonym of a summer resort, known as the Russian Riviera. The first hotels and health resorts opened here in the second half of the 19th century. Tsar Nicholas II had a palace built nearby, where he would stay with his family every summer. Fyodor Shalyapin and the likes would come here to perform and recharge their energy and spirit. The Russian Revolution destroyed many of the palaces but new, Soviet ones, began to spring up. Stalin set the example by building his dacha here. Others followed, and little by little, Sochi became the most luxurious Russian health resort with a variety of sanatoriums and recreation centres. The next construction boost came after 2007 when Sochi was selected to host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.