9 facts about Sochi, Russia: Learn more about the Winter Olympics host city

9 facts about Sochi, Russia: Learn more about the Winter Olympics host city
Photo collage of Sochi from Wikipedia.

The eyes of the world are on Sochi, Russia, host city of the 2014 Winter Olympic games. My tween asked me about Sochi and I didn't have a lot of info, so we did some research together and the results are below.

Here are some interesting facts about Sochi, the southwestern Russian city and the first-ever Russian city to host the Winter Games.

1. Greater Sochi stretches 90 miles along the Black Sea, making it very long. In fact, it's the second longest city in the world behind only Mexico City.

2. Sochi has a population of approximately 400,000.

3. Sochi is a relatively new name for the city, as it was first called that in 1896. The first Russian settlement on the site was called Fort Alexander. The name "Sochi" has two possible sources:  it could be a variation of the term "sshatche" was used by the local people to mean "place by the sea" or "shacha" which locals used to mean "sell a head" because it used to be where slave markets were held.

4. Sochi is on the same latitude with Toronto, Nice and the Gobi Desert.

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5. One of the first big names to put Sochi on the map was infamous Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. He built his favorite vacation home, or dacha, right in the city, according to Boston.com.

6. Sochi was known as the "All-Union health resort" of the Soviet Union and after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the city was in fact the only Black sochimapSea resort in Russia. It is in what is known now as the "Russian Riviera."

7. Being a resort town, it's not surprising that Sochi's climate is subtropical, making it the warmest city to host an Olympic Winter Games. It's still quite warm in the winter, when temperatures are not often below 12 degrees Celsius, which is around 53 degrees Farenheit. Not a problem for the indoor events, including hockey, figure skating, curling and speed skating.

8. The northern Greater Caucasus Mountain Range is quite a bit chillier, averaging 5 degrees in the winter. The town of Krasnaya Polyana, located valley in the Caucasus Mountains, will host the events requiring snow and is 40 km and 45 minutes away from Sochi. (Anyone else think it may take a little longer to travel between locations during the Games?)

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9. It's a 37 hour train ride between Sochi and Moscow, according to Time. The two cities are just under 1,000 miles apart.

And as a thank you for reading this far, here's a bonus fact:

10. Breathe easily - the air quality in Sochi is excellent, due in part to the fact that the city boasts nearly 500,000 acres of forests, with about 10,000 of those acres located in Sochi Centre.

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