Sochi, a resort area on the Black Sea in Russia, is the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics. It's a popular summer resort town because of its warm weather, beaches and a shoreline boardwalk that draws visitors from across Russia. All that makes it an interesting choice for the site of the Winter Games, scheduled for Feb. 7-23, 2014.
Thirty minutes from the town center, a new Olympic park is under construction. The venues for figure skating, hockey, speed skating, curling and the opening and closing ceremonies are being built in a cluster and will be within walking distance of one another. Thousands of hotel rooms also are going up nearby.
Mountain venues, which are 90 minutes from Olympic Park, also are under construction. The key and repeated word here is "construction."
A rail line designed to move spectators from the coastal area to the mountain venues is scheduled to be finished in time for the Games, 14 months away.
The long-term goal is to make Sochi a year-round resort with summer and winter activities.
One of the challenges for attendees and Olympians: Many of the main roads are one way in each direction, which could result in L.A.-type traffic jams during peak times. Then again, Sochi has been a sister city with Long Beach since 1990.
Here's a first look at Sochi, at sea level and in the mountains, in photos taken in October.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun