Sochi Olympic Park

Artur Lebedev/ TASS

Mandarin shopping and recreational center is located near the wharf and Bestuzhev Park. It consists of nine buildings with shops, cafes, restaurants, entertainment venues, and a watchtower. The alleys and the squares of the complex as well as its pedestrian bridges and summer terraces all have the same architectural style. In the center is the Mandarin Hall concert hall with 1,200 seats, made to look like an amphitheater. Its main attractions are the vast pool and 130 fountains. The concert hall is the permanent stage for the Argonauts theater-and-circus performance.

While at the Mandarin, you can do some shopping, have a swim at the open-air pools, rest in the comfortable parks, have a meal at one of the cafes and restaurants, and let your children enjoy the two-level recreational center. The Mandarin is also Russia’s first recreational center with its own beach equipped with showers, romantic bungalos, changing rooms, sling chairs with sun umbrellas, and a beach volleyball court.

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Adler is rightfully proud of its century-old Southern Cultures Park, whose beauty is equal to that of Sochi’s famous Dendrarium. The park was planted in 1911, on the lands of General Daniil Drachevsky, at his Sluchainoe estate, by the landscape architect Arnold Regel and gardner Roman Skrivanik. Using 11 hectares of land, they had created the park-and-garden ensemble with a system of ponds. Almost twenty years later, the park was given its contemporary name and greatly expanded. Since then, it has changed a lot, adding new wooden sculptures and plants, and remaining a favourite attraction for the local residents and resort visitors.

Southern Cultures Park captivates visitors with its combination of wide alleys, intersected by numerous paths and roads that can alternatively take you to the thicket of coniferous trees, or to some sweeping meadows, to exotic palmtrees and pampas grass, or eucalyptus groves. In the park’s heartland lie the large ponds with islets and bridges.

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The port was built on the coast of Imereti Valley, at the estuary of Mzymta River, in the run-up to the 2014 Winter Olympics. It became the first new port in the Azov and Black Sea basin, built after the breakup of the Soviet Union. The port was required for delivery of cargos that were used for construction of athletic and municipal venues. After large-scale construction was completed, Imereti Port was transformed into the yacht marina for tourists. The port is still capable of accepting all sorts of cargos, and its wharfs are equipped with cranes and loaders. 

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Next to the Olympic Park, alongside the Black Sea, lies the Olympic Village. During 2014 Winter Games, it housed the athletes, their coaches and delegates from the Olympic countries. Today, almost 50 buildings have been made into residential housing, and the place was given a new name of Imereti Resort. There are apartments available for rent or sale. On the one side the district is confined by the sea wharf, and on the other — by dendrological park with lakes for the birds. The blocks of the former Olympic Village are connected by paved walkways and bicycle routes, there are benches and rest spots.

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In the center of the Olympic Park is the Medals Plaza. Its main attractions are the singing fountain and the Olympic torch pylon. During 2014 Winter Games, thousands of fans gathered here to honour the winners, and there were musical performances every night. The plaza is round like a medal, with a triangular pattern of lawns around the perimeter. To this day, it remains a magnet for thousands of tourists. The plaza offers a great view of all the Olympic arenas and Fisht Stadium that will host 2018 FIFA World Cup. It is still used for concerts and performances, and a special stage is erected on such nights.

In the evenings, the amazing Olympic Fire Chalice singing fountain performs hour-long light-and-music shows to the accompaniment of classical music and contemporary hits. Every night, hundreds of visitors come to watch the show.

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The fans of science and technology can visit some of the Olympic Park’s most unusual attractions — Leonardo da Vinci Mechanics Museum and Nikola Tesla electric show. The “perpetuum mobile,” glider, crossbow, catapult, and other exhibits were assembled by Russian historians and restoration artists using the great Italian’s drawings, so that the museum visitors could test them, and understand the principles of operation. Experienced tourguides are happy to help you puzzle out the mechanisms and learn of Leonardo’s achievements.

After reviewing the Renaissance mechanical science, feel free to visit the interactive Tesla Show for a virtual encounter with the creations of the genius electrical engineer Nikola Tesla. The program includes a film about the scientist, as well as a demo of showpieces and physics experiments. The tour culminates with “Megavolt - Lord of Lightning” show with real lightning bolts that have a voltage of several million volts. The bravest visitors can test themselves in the so-called Faraday cage, which is hit by the lightning, but protects people from harm.

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The spacious House of fans, which saw tens of thousands of guests during the Olympic Games, has been transformed into museum of the Soviet automotive industry. It showcases a collection of more than one hundred Soviet automobiles produced between the 1930s and 1990s. The history of retro cars helps the visitors acquaint themselves with the history of the whole country. The exhibit showcases construction of the first Soviet car factory and appearance of Soviet GAS AA trucks, which were a copy of 1930 Ford AA automobiles. There’s also a showcase of military machinery and the peak years of domestic car industry (1950s and 60s), when its legendary automobiles collected a number of international prizes. The growth of giant car manufacturing plants and the difficult years of perestroika are illustrated by Moskvich and Volga cars. Some of the showpieces deserve special atention, as they could rarely be seen in real life. One of them is the ZIL-3207 Yunost bus, which looks like a limo van.

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The natural ornithological park in the Imereti Valley was established after completion of large-scale Olympic construction in place of the bogs and lakes, used by migrating birds for a stopover. Today, the almost 300-hectare park is divided into 14 clusters, and is known for both its nature conservation and educational efforts. The park is unique as it’s the only place in Russia with preserved Colchian-type swamps inhabited by many rare plants and animals. Despite its residential surroundings, the birds have all the comforts here. The promenades are set up far from the bird rest spots, and some of the especially important ponds are fenced off, so that the visitors don’t disturb the park’s residents. This helps to preserve the migrating birds’ habitual stops and to increase their population, as the scientists regularly note appearance of progeny. At the park, you can see swans and geese, herons and diving ducks, peregrin falcons and kestrels, along with many others. The lakes are inhibited by turtles and snakes.

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A very beautiful and light-filled temple rises in the Imereti Valley. It was built in under two years and consecrated in 2014. Today, its parishioners include both the locals and the tourists, and back in 2014 it also drew the participants and guests of the Sochi Winter Olympics. One of the foundation stones came from the Byzantine temple from the 9th or 10th century, discovered not far from here. Today, the temple is a part of the large spiritual and educational complex "The Refuge of St. John the Baptist." The temple was built in the style of neo-Byzantine architecture. The church, which stands on a two-level podium, is 43 m high. Its lower premises are earmarked for conferences and exhibitions.
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One of Sochi’s newest railway stations is the Olympic Park at Imereti Valley, which was built in under three years in time for 2014 Winter Olympics. It was here that all of the Games’ visitors arrived from the Greater Sochi to get to the ice palaces, and the station managed the big flows of passengers well. It became Russia’s first railway station certified in accordance with environmental BREEAM standards, because it utilizes environmentaly-friendly technologies, such as energy-efficient lighting, water consumption monitoring system, solar panels, and more. The station’s building also looks unusual, reminding visitors of a bird, which had spread its wings over the railway tracks, ready to take off at any moment. The station’s principal decoration is the large cascade fountain, which greets the passengers and bids them farewell. The railway station is combined with a bus stop, which accepts buses from all over the Black Sea coast. After the Olympics, the railway station was renamed “Imereti Resort,” and there are commuter trains going to and from Sochi and Krasnaya Polyana.

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The Olympic Embankment stretches for 6.5 km along the shore of the Imereti Valley, from the Imereti Port to the border with the neighbouring Abkhazia. The embankment appeared after completion of large-scale Olympic construction, and soon became a favourite spot for Sochi residents and visiting tourists thanks to its wide beach strip and well-designed walking zone. In the mornings, the embankment is taken over by joggers and bike riders, and there are plenty of bike rental stations along the route. Sometimes, you can even see tourist electric vehicles. There are cafes and fast food stops along the embankment, and you can buy an ice cream cone or purchase some souvenirs. Walking leisurely, you can enjoy the mountain views on one side, and the colossal ice palaces on the other.

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One of the most popular shows in Olympic Park. In summer, Singing fountains work every day. Singing fountains work every day, the show takes place in the evenings. In the summer period - from 20:30 to 21:30, in the spring and autumn - from 19:00 to 20:00, in the winter - from 18:00 to 19:00.

Sometimes the fountain is closed for week-long maintenance works, which is why it is best to check working hours before scheduling your trip.

Olympic Park opened a special zone for people who love extreme skatebording, scooters and skating.

The area of the Extreme Park is 80 by 20 meters in size and is divided into two parts – a park for training and competitions in freestyle BMX, skating and a street park.

The ice skating rink in Olympic Park has two arenas Iceburg and Ldinka (Icicle), which work all year round. The rink is located close to the Black Sea coast.

It is illuminated and offers rental skates (collateral required).

Olympic Park’s Ferris wheel gives a great bird’s eye view of the surrounding landscapes. The upper part of the wheel is 60 meters high.

A ride lasts 15 minutes. Each of the 28 cabins of the wheel designed to seat six people.