Krasnaya Polyana - Russia cities
The most comfortable Russian resort, located just 45 km from the Black Sea. The beginners will like the long and easy runs through the picturesque forests and advanced riders will find some good heliboarding and off-piste opportunities. The climate is great, because the sea is nearby, however, it might be a drawback if there`s not enough snow. Check the forecast before going there.

Krasnaya Polyana is the most sophisticated ski and snowboard resort in Russia and will be the host of the 2014 Winter Olympics. Sometimes called the "Russian Courchevel", this resort is famous for its well-maintained pistes, quality apres-ski, and overly high prices. The lifts are fast and convenient, the runs are in a very good condition, the local rescue team is considered to be the best in Russia, plus lots of comfortable mini hotels at the village and cozy apres-ski bars.

Krasnaya Polyana is located just 45 km from Adler city (a famous summer destination in Russia on the shore of Black Sea) where there is a recently renovated airport and a train station making it the most accessible mountain resort in the European part of Russia. A flight from Moscow takes 2.5 hours, and a transfer to the ski station takes 1.5 hours more. Easy access makes hundreds of Moscow riders spend week-ends at Kransya Polyana during the season (middle of December - begging of March). The locals are very friendly and the resort is completely safe.

Krasnaya PolyanaThe only disadvantages of the resort are its small size and mild climate (affected by the nearby sea), which means that there is a risk to find too little snow at the lower runs even in January. Always check the level of snowfall at the resort before going there (their website usually has the up-to-date information). The prices for the lifts are too high and the accommodation is more expensive than at other Russian resorts (although cheaper than in Europe).

However, if you want to ride in the Russian mountains and have the western standard of service, that`s the best place to go. Besides, there are plans of massive expansion, so who knows, maybe in a few years this place will be one of the greatest destinations.

Krasnaya polyana is a small settlement, the population of which makes up 5 thousand people. Krasnaya Polyana is a well-developed ski resort with chairlifts for intermediate skiing and snowboarding, and heliskiing for the experienced.

In the last few years there`s been an explosion of hotel building aimed at making the place a major European skiing centre. A few shops, bars and cafés are clustered around the chairlift station.
A spectacular road passing through a deep, narrow canyon leads up from Adler to Krasnaya Polyana (Red Valley). At the end, about 70km from Sochi, is a small settlement surrounded by mountains up to 2375m high.

The nature tried hard to create unique conditions. In the middle stream of the Mzimti river, in 45 km from the Black Sea coast on height of 550-600 m above sea level there is a wide valley. From one side sharp peaks of the Aibgi tower over them, from the other one – the rocky ridge of Achishho. A little farther by the stream of the Mzimti snowy tops of the Big Caucasian ridge are seen. Wonderful forests come up to this terrace; among the trees oak, beech, chestnut, hornbeam, maple, alder are prevailed.

If climbing a little higher on the mountains, wonderful views of Alpine meadows open. Such unique combination of high mountains, protecting from wind, the purest cold river, fresh forest air creates a unique climate in the valley. Winter is snowy and summer is hot here. Specialists, geographers, meteorologists, botanists, doctors, who came here many times, admired, carrying out their measurements – indexes of purity of air, water, soil, sample for Europe. In 1983 all vicinities of Krasnaya polyana were included in Sochi national park. Right after this the famous American writer-naturalist Dzherald Darrell came here for the whole month. He enthusiastically told the whole world about this travel in film “Darrell in Caucasus”.

Russia heard about this place for the first time in 1864. Then in place of the present Krasnaya Polyana there were Adygei aul Kbaade which had to become a settlement where it was announced about finish of the Caucasian war. This war had lasted since 1817. In 1859 there a radical turn happened – Russian army took imam Shamil, a leader of mountain dwellers, a prisoner. Russian army occupied Goithsky pass, went out to the sea, occupied the whole territory of present city Sochi.

A great parade and thanksgiving service were arranged on the 21st of May in 1864 in place of the present Krasnaya Polyana. Russian army couldn’t forgive Adygeis, living in those places, their treason during the Crimean war. An ultimatum was set before them – either to migrate in the steppe areas of Kuban after being naturalized, or went in Turkey. The lands of aul Kbaade became deserted.

Only in autumn of 1878 Greek migrants from Stavropol came to the valley, covered with fern (Oh, what a beautiful red glade!). They founded settlement Krasnaya Polyana. Later Estonians moved here one after the other. So settlement Esto-Sadok was founded.

In 1898 Krasnaya Polyana was declared a mountain resort. Neighboring lands were declared “reserved hunting” of the tsar’s family. The house for Nicholay II was built here. Building of dachas of tsar’s grandees, landlords, capitalists and the generals of Russian army began near. Sanatoriums and pensions were erected in Krasnaya Polyana at the same time. In 1899 Krasnopolyanskoe high road was built which was a reason of development of Krasnaya Polyana as a mountain climatic resort. In 1914 emperor Nicholay II received a martial review in honor of 50-anniversary of finishing of the Caucasian war here under the old oak.

During the years of the Great Patriotic War the name Krasnaya Polyana was mentioned in news summaries of Soviet Information Bureau several times. Hitlerites, striving eagerly to Caucasus, hoped to put out to sea in the area of Krasnaya Polyana, conquered Sochi. Soldiers of the 20s mountain-infantry division, commanded by colonel Adam Turchinsky, resisted mountain chasseurs of 49th alpine corps. Our soldiers bared the way to Hitlerites and didn’t let them come to Sochi.
For the last decade striking changes have happened. After a lot of investments, Sochi became a perspective city.

Alpine routes, meeting the world standards, emerged in the area of Krasnaya Polyana. Not only our but also French specialists who became a constant visitors of Krasnaya Polyana admitted it. Today the urban village experiences the second birth. It is a mountain climatic resort with the great future.

Sights of Krasnaya Polyana

Probably, the main sight of Krasnaya Polyana is the whole settlement and its vicinities. It is a very beautiful place among the mountains! The wonderful air! The Mzimta river of purity! Wonderful green colors of leaves in summer and wonderful whiteness of the snow in winter.

Mountain high road to Krasnaya Polyana was built at the end of XIX century. Talented Russian engineer Basil Konstantinov ran the works. A section of the high road, stretching through gorge Ah-Tsu is especially beautiful. Powerful stones hung right over heads. There is even a place which is called “God, pass by danger!” The gorge is so unusual that it is often used by producers; films “Caucasian captive”, “Brilliant hand”, “Morning high road”, “50/50”, “Roman and Francheska” were shot here.

On the 33d km of the road perhaps the dizziest place begins. Beds of upper Jurassic period, which had been sea bottom 120-130 million years ago, in the process of orogenic movement rose relatively not long ago. A stone ledge, which was cut by builders in 1897-1899, impresses. A steep stone wall breaks down as a colossal precipice. Somewhere far down, at depth of 800 m Mzimta roars and seethes. At the enter to gorge Ah-Tsu all tourists stop on the large viewing point in order to admire this beauty of the powerful mountains for a while.
One more sight of Krasnaya Polyana is the lodge of Nikolay II.
In 1898 vicinities of settlement Krasnaya polyana were investigated by participants of special state commission. It was decided to found town Romanovsk in this place. The large land was declared a reserve and meant for tsar’s hunting. By project of architecture Alexander Nosanevitch a lodge in case of the Emperor’ arrival was built in 1901 on the slope of the ridge Achishkho.
Now at this lodge there is a small hotel. You may go to it to touch the history and admire the nature. Near the Lodge there is a viewing point, which opens wonderful view to the mountains. Here there is also a nice Museum of Caucasian nature and a restaurant, therefore we may easily go for a walk to the Lodge; it will turn out very cognitive.

Now we will visit the Famous Akhstirskaya cave in 15 km from Adler on the right bank of the Mzimta. A marked path, which ribbons and stretches on the ledge of 120-meter rock, hanging over the picturesque gorge, leads to it. A site of primitive of Mustjersky time was found in the cave: numerous tools with pointed end, chippers, scrapers. Judging by found bones people of those period hunted mostly cave bears, goats and wild boars. Three tracks of fire-places with rests of chared bones were found in the very center of the cave. Scientists determined that this bed refers to the very beginning of upper paleolith epoch, i.e. 35 000 years ago.

The cave stretches under the ground for 2 km. In it there are halls reaching 10 m in height and width with numerous stalactites and stalagmites. Before the enter there is a viewing point which from the height of 100 m opens a wonderful panorama of the river Mzimta valley.

Ridge Achishkho is a unique place. It is almost the rainiest and snowiest place in Europe, snowdrifts in winter reach 7-meter height and for a year rainfall makes up 2000 mm precipitation falls. From the right and the left of the station there are viewing points, which open mountains. From the height of 1890 m above sea level they are seen wonderfully.

If the ascent to the old weather station usually takes 4.5 hours, the return will take two times less time. Having returned home, don’t forget to call at once rescuers and inform them about your returning home. After short-time respite we will descend by the steepest route of explorer baron Tornau. By the way it is already a territory of reserve, therefore if we don’t get permit we will feel as if we are scouts. So, at first a tiresome monotonous ascent on ridge Psekoho waits for us. With ascending beeches disappear and make room for powerful firs. We come out to the Fir glade. Steep ascent to tract Medvezhji Vorota goes later (height is 2338.7 m). Right from here a wonderful panorama opens. In the south-west, like on the saucer, tops of the Aibga ridge are seen; on the north-west – powerful Chugush with glaciers; in the north, very near from us ridge Western Pseashkho, which encloses massif Dzitaku, stretches. And in the east, right behind us a wonder: a huge fantastic conglomeration of peaks, which are three thousand years old, with glaciers atop. Sharp peak Sakharniy especially impresses (3187 m).
From Medvezhji Vorota we are descending to the pass Pseashkho (2014 m). We won’t see the pass from the classical viewpoint. In spite of the pass a fantastic valley, which is covered in summer with a flower carpet, splashed with various tints, waits for us. The pass itself refers to rare valley passes. Here there are no steep slopes.

Later a mistake in measuring was found and already in the middle of the 70-s the garland has passed to peak Tsakhvoa, the highest point of Gertsen ridge. Therefore the highest top of Krasnodar area in our time is declared mountain Tsakhvoa – its height makes up 3345.9 m. Maximal note of peak Smirnovitch height is now specified and makes up 3139.5 m, which corresponds to the 26th place in the area.
If you want to know where here the frontier of Russia lays, look at the maple of Krasnaya Polyana. There, where ridge Aibga ends, beauty Agepta towers. The name of the mountain is translated from Abkhazian as End water. `End Mountain` would be a more appropriate name since, of all the 3,000m plus peaks adorning this region, this one is, in fact, located at the end of the Krasny Kray. Adepta is famous also for its huge, corrie glacier with a strange, almost Scandinavian name – Khims-Aneke. The glacier for the first time was described by the famous traveler Albov at the end of the 19th century. In the 70s and 80s of the previous century the glacier was investigated by specialists-glaciologists. For the last time it was declared impassable by Boris Tarchesky’s group as for the last two decades it has greatly grown in size. The northern bulwark of Agepstais practically impassable, therefore it is stormed mostly from the south, from the side of Abkhazia.

And how beautiful are its southern sun-drenched slopes at the famous 40-m waterfall on the Gega river in Abkhazia. Once on May of 1987 this waterfall was hidden by lava. Torrential stream of water fell down in the huge ice tunnel. Splashes flied in all sides. Rainbow rose above the waterfall. And so in this rainbow aura snow-covered Agepsta towered like a tsarina, adorned with jewels. Perhaps this stick to memory for all.

There are no problems with tourists meals at the Krasnaya Polyana. Practically, in all camp sites and hotels are bars and dinning rooms. Speciality of the Kransaya Polyana is a trout dish, fresh and just caught from the river.
As concerns vine. It would be better to ask house made vine “Isabella” and by tea chestnut honey.

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