Parks

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The yew and box-tree grove is a unique old-growth forest in the Khosta District of Sochi, which has existed since before Ice Age, miraculously surviving both major construction projects and great natural calamities. Even though it has seen some major damage from the boxwood fungus in the past two years, the grove is still spell-bindingly beautiful.

Specially appointed pathways lead the tourists through the thickets, precipitous rocks and stone labyrinths past the ruins of an 11th/12th-century fortress and some caves, dead-ending at a turbulent mountain stream. The sprawling tops of the mighty, ages-old yews keep most of the grove in the cool shade even on a scorching summer day.

There are two excursion routes one can follow, two and five kilometres long. On the way, you can rest in the secluded arbours or on benches. The sign-posts will inform you of the local florae and faunae, as well as the directions.
Sergei Bobylev/TASS

Across the street from Arts Square there is a small exotic garden with a bronze dragon guarding the entrance.

This green oasis in the resort heart of Sochi was crated thirty years ago by the famous landscape architect, Sergey Venchagov. He planted this veritable oriental garden with glades and narrow paved paths on a tiny piece of land, squeezed in between Kurortny Prospekt and private homesteads. It is home to coniferous and deciduous trees, which are common to Japan and Russia. A weeping willow broods over a pond in the middle of the garden, surrounded by Korean silver firs, Japanese larches, cedars and several kinds of pine. There are no benches in this garden. It is customary to just walk quietly here, following the paths, contemplating the beauty.

Sergei Bobylev/ТАSS
This small, cosy park was planted on the left bank of the River Sochi in 1970 by a group of youth activists, led by young architect Valentin Kirichenko. Hence its name: Komsomolsky.  

The fountain remained the park’s centrepiece for years, but more landmarks have since been added, including the memorial for Sochi-born soldiers who fought in the Great Patriotic War, and the monuments commemorating Afghan War veterans and Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant emergency rescue workers.

This park with its green glades in the shade of the evergreen trees, its shrubberies in bloom and neat benches is one of the favourite recreation grounds for locals and visitors alike.  
Sergei Bobylev/ТАSS
The embankment of the River Sochi, stretching along Ulitsas Chaikovskogo and Konstitutsii, lined with sycamores and chestnut trees, wakes up in the early hours of the morning, when the first anglers and joggers appear on the scene. The banks of the Sochi become more populous a little later, when people start going to work. Later still, it’s time for young moms with baby carriages. At midday, the embankment fills with seniors, coming out to chat and enjoy some fresh air.  

In the evening, the embankment becomes the city’s top happening spot. Kids get the run of a huge playground. Amateur athletes hit the outdoor work-out machines on the plaza. The embankment offers a majestic view of the mountains in the distance, where the River Sochi has its source. The river is prone to all but dry up during a particularly arid spell in summer, but once the rains return, the Sochi becomes its torrential self again, roaring amid the rocky banks, lest we forget that the Sochi is a genuine mountain stream.  
Sergei Bobylev/ТАSS
This small secluded park in the middle of Adler was planted on the alleged scene of the death of Aleksander Bestuzhev-Marlinsky, the 19th-century author of popular romantic novellas, a friend of Pushkin’s and Griboyedov’s. Bestuzhev-Marlinsky was exiled to Siberia for his role in the anti-monarchy revolt of 14 December 1825, known as the Decembrist Revolt. In 1829 he was transferred to the Caucasus, where Russia was at war with the mountain folk, to serve as enlisted man. Bestuzhev fought very bravely, and was soon awarded a St. George Cross. He was killed in 1837 during the landing on Cape Adler. Bestuzhev-Marlinsky was not 40 yet. His body was never recovered.

This Bestuzhev memorial park was a local initiative in the early 1910s. A bronze bust of Bestuzhev stands in the middle. Pushkin’s lines are etched on the memorial plaque: “Upon the ruins of autarchy they shall inscribe our names…”
Sergei Bobylev/ТАSS
The local authorities set sights on this wooded hillside, sloping down to the sea, about a hundred years ago, deciding to convert it to a place of recreation and amusement. They had palm-trees, oleanders, magnolias and a few flower gardens planted here. The park was initially named Vereshchaginsky after the former owners of the land, then renamed Yermolovsky after the Minister of Agriculture and Government Estates, and finally named after Mikhail Frunze, an eminent Soviet statesman, in the 1930s. The summer theatre, built in the middle of the park in 1937, was also named after Frunze.

Like almost every park in Sochi, this one has a fountain, encircled by the busts of Russian composers. It’s right next to a snow-white Mauritanian arbour of extraordinary beauty. Relaxing on one of the comfortable benches, listen to the tumult of the sea, which is perfectly audible here. The typical seaside resort feel notwithstanding, local sports lovers come here to work out. Outdoor workout machines are deployed for them in one of the lanes.
Sergei Bobylev/ТАSS
Arts Square is a busy plaza in front of Sochi’s Art Museum, between Kurortny Prospekt and Ulitsa Ordzhonikidze. The Lenin monument in the middle is, to this day, a magnet for the members of the Communist Party, who hold their meetings and commemorative rallies here.  

The figurines of animals, dancers and musicians, populating the long flowerbed in the middle of the square, look fantastic at night, when illumination turns on. On either side of the main entrance, next to the two fountains, you can observe the creations of the local artist, Akop Khalafian: The Golden Fleece, which evokes the myth of the Argonauts, some bronze pumpkins and a family of eagle-owls. In the side-lanes of the park, local artists and craftsmen put their artworks and artefacts on display.
Artur Lebedev/ТАSS
The facilities you can find in this large park in downtown Adler include rides, a performing stage which doubles as dance floor, some sports grounds, and a green area with fountains. The Soviet aura is still very much alive in this park, opened in 1980. The old-timey rides and swings like Orbita, Kolokolchik, Solnyshko, Lodochki, as well as the vintage shooting gallery and Hall of Mirrors win the kids’ love as surely as they make the grown-ups feel nostalgic.  Modern trampolines and swings seem to coexist peacefully with those dinosaurs. This park is where the people of Adler go en masse on holidays. It was designated as one of the urban activity Live Sites for the 2014 Olympic Summer Games in Sochi.