The Zygii people lived in the area in antiquity. From the 6th to the 15th centuries, the area successively belonged to the Christian kingdoms of Western Georgian Kingdom Egrisi and Abkhazia who built a dozen churches within the city boundaries. The Christian settlements along the coast were destroyed by the invading Gokturks, Khazars, and other nomadic empires whose control of the region was slight. The northern wall of an 11th-century Byzantinesque basilica still stands in the district of Loo.
From the 15th century onward, the area, known as Ubykhia was part of historical Circassia, and was controlled by the native people of the north-west Caucasus local mountaineer clans, nominally under the sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire, which was their principal trading partner in the Muslim world. The coastline was ceded to Russia in 1829 as a result of a Caucasian_War and Russo-Turkish War, 1828-1829.
In 1838, the fort of Alexandria, renamed Navaginsky a year later, was founded at the mouth of the Sochi River as part of the Black Sea Coastal Line, a chain of fortifications set up to protect the area from recurring the native people of Sochi(Circassian incursions). At the outbreak of the Crimean War, the garrison was evacuated from Navaginsky in order to prevent its capture by the Turks, who effected a landing on Cape Adler soon after. After the fall of Circassia and the Russian Massacres against the Circassian tribes in 1864, 90% of the remaining survivors of these tribes were enforced to leave Circassia again to the Ottoman Empire with their brother's in faith such as Chechens, Dagistans, Balqars,etc.and these massacres considered the ugliest human genocide against Circassian/Adyghe_people in the 18th-19th Centuries.and as a result the Circassians became minority in their historical land Circassia. Forgotten Genocide. Circassian World. .
The war over, the bulk of the Circassians relocatedwere deported/enforced to leave Circassia to the Ottoman Empire as a result to the massacres against them, leaving the littoral area largely depopulated. As the coast was being resettled by Russians, Armenians, and Greeks, the abandoned fort was rebuilt in 1864 under the name of Dakhovsky, or Dakhovsky Posad (as it became known in 1874). In 1896, the burgeoning settlement was incorporated into the Black Sea Governorate and acquired its present name, which refers to the local river. Sochi was granted municipal rights in 1917.
During the Russian Civil War, the littoral area saw sporadic armed clashes involving the Red Army & White movement forces and the Democratic Republic of Georgia. In 1923 Sochi acquired one of its most distinctive features, a railway which runs from Tuapse to Abkhazia within a mile or two from the coastline. Although this branch of the Northern Caucasus Railway may appear somewhat incongruous in the setting of beaches and sanatoriums, it is still operational and vital to the region's transportation infrastructure.
Sochi was established as a fashionable resort area under Joseph Stalin, who had his favourite dacha built in the city; Stalin's study, complete with a wax statue of the leader, is now open to the public. It was at that time that the coast became dotted with imposing Neoclassical edifices, exemplified by the opulent Rodina and Ordzhonikidze sanatoriums. The centerpiece of an earlier period is Shchusev's Constructivist Institute of Rheumatology (1927-31). The area was extensively developed until the demise of the Soviet Union.
Following Russia's loss of the traditionally popular resorts of the Crimean peninsula (which was transferred away from the RSFSR in 1954), Sochi emerged as the unofficial summer capital of the country. During Vladimir Putin's term in office, the city witnessed a significant increase in investment, although many Russian vacationers still flock to the cheaper resorts of neighboring Abkhazia, Ukraine, or to the Mediterranean coast of Turkey.
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Sochi has a humid subtropical climate (Koppen climate classification Cfa) at the lower elevations; with winter temperatures rarely falling much below freezing and with the average winter temperature of . The average summer high temperature ranges between and with occasional extreme heat in some interior locations exceeding . Average annual precipitation is 1,400 mm.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the 2,957 km² (730,690 acre) Caucasian Biosphere Reserve, lies just north from the city. Sochi also has Europe's most northerly tea plantations. It is served by the Adler-Sochi International Airport. The Sochi Light Metro is being built, with construction projected to be complete by 2014.
Lazarevsky City District lies to the north-west from the city centre and has a population of 63,239 people (2002 Census). It is the largest city district by area, covering some and comprising several microdistricts:
Khostinsky City District, sprawling to the south-east from the city centre, occupies approximately , with a population of 62,515 (2002 Census). The district is traversed by many rivulets which give their names to the sub-districts of Matsesta ("flame-coloured river"), Kudepsta, and Khosta ("the river of boars"):
Adlersky City District, with an area of and a population of 69,120 people (2002 Census), is the southmost district of the city, located just north of the border with Abkhazia. Until the establishment of Greater Sochi in 1961, it was administered as a separate town, which had its origin in an ancient Sadz village and a medieval Genoese trading post.
Among the natural wonders of the district is the Akhshtyr Gorge with a 160-meter-long cave that contains traces of human habitation from about 30,000 years ago. The upland part of the district includes a network of remote mountain villages (auls), the Estonian colony at Estosadok, and the ski resort of Krasnaya Polyana which will host the events (Alpine and Nordic) of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
In June 2006, the International Olympic Committee announced that Sochi had been selected as a finalist city to host the 2014 Winter Olympics. On July 4, 2007, Sochi was announced as the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics, edging out Pyeongchang, South Korea, and Salzburg, Austria.
This will be Russia's first occasion to host the Winter Olympic Games. Under the rule of the Soviet Union, Alpine skiing was considered by the ruling party to be a bourgeois and decadent sport and nobody had any Alpine skiing facilities in Russia or anywhere else. Locations like Sochi did not even apply to be the location of the Winter Olympics, and no athletes from the Soviet Union entered the Alpine skiing events. As for the Soviets, their entries in the Winter Olympics were cross-country skiing, speed skating, figure skating, and ice hockey. Hence, the Alpine skiing facilities in the former Soviet Union states are generally poor. They do not have the ski-resort tradition of places like Switzerland, Austria, France, Italy, Norway, the United States, Canada, and Japan, all of which have hosted or will host the Winter Olympics on more than one occasion.
The site of a training center for aspiring Olympic athletes, as of 2008, Sochi has no world-class level athletic facilities fit for international competition. To get the city ready for the Olympics, the Russian government has committed to a $12 billion investment package, shared 60-40 between the government and private sector. By some estimates, the investments necessary to bring the location up to Olympic standards may exceed that of any previous Olympic games.
Greenpeace Russia had told the US-funded Radio Liberty on 12 September 2006 that it wanted to prevent construction work inside a national park, which it said would break Russia's environmental protection laws.
The state-controlled Unified Energy Systems announced in July 2007 that it might spend 30 billion roubles (about US $1.2 billion dollars) on upgrading the electrical power system in the Sochi area by 2014. The utility would have to build or modernize four thermal power plants and four hydroelectric plants — and replace the Central-Shepsi electricity transmission line, which reportedly often fails in bad weather. The new power line would run partly on power towers and partly across the bottom of the Black Sea. By 2011, the power company would increase the resort area's power supply by 1129 MW — of which 300 MW would be used for Olympic sports facilities “The cost of the work is estimated at 83.6 billion roubles (about US $3.26 billion), of which 50 billion roubles (about US $2.0 billion dollars) will go to investments in the electricity grid,” power company announced. They did not say how much of the bill the state would foot. In February 2007, when UES had planned to spend 48.8 billion roubles (about US $1.9 billion) on the Sochi area, the share the state had been ready to pay had been 38 billion roubles (about US $1.48 billion) of that.
The coming of 2014 Olympics also urges the construction of a medium capacity rapid transit system, the Sochi Light Metro. The current alignment would connect the Sochi Olympic Village, Sochi International Airport, two major railway stations of Northern Caucasus Railway, the downtown of Sochi, and the Alpine skiing area Krasnaya Polyana.