The 2014 Winter Olympics is takes place in Sochi, Russia. If you are visiting there are some things to know beforehand. Here’s a guide that discusses the ins and outs of Sochi for tourists.
Geography and Statistics.
The city Sochi itself is located on the coast of the Black Sea. As of 2010 the population has been 343,334. The entire city’s area is 68.25 square miles. Sochi is a predominantly Christian city with around 30 Christian churches. There is also around 20,000 Muslims living in Sochi as well as 2 Catholic churches and about 10 churches dedicated to the Armenian community. If you are planning on visiting Sochi for the Olympics bring cold weather clothes. The average of Sochi in the Winter months tend to be 52 F during the day and a cold 39 F at night.
Getting to and around Sochi.
Sochi has an airport which is named Sochi International Airport. This airport is considered to be the eighth busiest airport in Russia. This is the main airport and best way to get to Sochi. For getting around the city the best way to get around is by bus or taxi. Originally there were plans on building the Sochi Light Metro but plans were abandoned when it was decided to reconstruct railways and build a new railway station as well. The new station can only hold about 8,500 passengers at a time.
Security and things to be aware of.
Unfortunately there are a lot of security concerns revolving around Sochi and the Olympics. It would be wise to know all about it instead of turning a blind eye towards it. First of all the Russia has a controversial law against any “gay propaganda” so if you are LGBT it’s wise to just keep that to yourself and don’t show any PDA with your partner. Remember you are in a foreign country and you do not have the same rights as you do back home and violating any rules or laws that they have set may cause severe problems for you which may even result in being sent to jail.
As for other safety concerns there has been known and recent terrorist attacks in Russia so be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times. There is said to be 40,000 law enforcement officials planned to be at the Olympics as well as 70,000 soldiers from the Russian Armed Forces. Everyone is hoping that this is enough security but it’s still best to be cautious at all times.
Specific Olympic information.
The Olympics’ opening ceremonies are scheduled to take place on February 7th with the closing ceremonies taking place on February 23rd. This means that the actual games and competitions last a little over 2 weeks. There are 88 nations participating with an estimated number of 2,500 athletes competing. Since this is the Winter Olympics you’ll see events like ski jumping, ski half-pipe, luge, snowboarding, and ice skating. What’s very interesting and unique about this particular Olympics is that all the athletes who win the gold medal on February 15th will receive medals that contain fragments from the Chelyabinsk meteor, a meteor that entered Earth’s atmosphere in Russia on February 15th 2013.
Other points of interest in Sochi besides the Olympics.
If you want to get more into the culture and experience other things that Sochi offers here are some great things to check out. Sochi takes pride in the local music and arts it offers. “Hall of Organ and Chamber Music” conducts organ, symphony, chamber-ensemble, choral, and vocal music concerts. The Sochi Art Museum opened in 1936 and is a fantastic place to see rare historical art. The website notes that you must schedule pre-odered group visits to gain admission so make sure you make any plans before you arrive in Sochi. Take note that the official language in Sochi is Russian so all the websites for all the different points of interest are in Russian as well. It may be wise to learn a little bit of Russian before you visit or even think about hiring a translator during your stay.