Sochi Olympic Site Looks Like A Ghost City 6 Months Later

Tony Manfred
sochi mountain cluster ghost city 2014 olympics 21
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sochi mountain cluster ghost city 2014 olympics 21

Rosa Khutor, which was one of the main hubs of the 2014 Sochi Olympics, is "completely empty" six months after the games, according Russian photographer Alexander Belenkiy.

Rosa Khutor is located near the mountain town of Krasnaya Polyana. It was the center of the "mountain cluster" of 2014 Olympic venues. One of the Olympic Villages was built there, and it was the base for mountain events like skiing and snowboarding.

Belenkiy called the town "lifeless" in a post on his Live Journal blog. He said the shops, restaurants, and hotels were operating at 5% capacity and that he encountered only a handful of tourists on the streets.

The Sochi Olympics cost $51 billion. A good chunk of that went toward building the mountain cluster. The Russian government spent $8.7 billion on a 31-mile road and railway system to connect Krasnaya Polyana to the coastal neighborhood of Adler. Another $2 billion was spent to build the Rosa Khutor ski resort.

Here's what it looks like six months later:

sochi mountain cluster ghost city 2014 olympics 15
sochi mountain cluster ghost city 2014 olympics 15

Belenkiy acknowledges that the town will see more activity when the winter ski season returns. But given the established lack of post-Olympic planning that went into the Sochi venues, these photos are ominous for the legacy of the 2014 games.  They are reminiscent of the abandoned venues from the 2004 Athens Olympics , the most notorious cautionary tale for poor post-Olympic planning .

We have republished Belenkiy's photos with his permission.

sochi mountain cluster ghost city 2014 olympics 22
sochi mountain cluster ghost city 2014 olympics 22

The first few days of the Olympics were plagued by construction problems. One construction site in Rosa Khutor has been "abandoned," Belenkiy says:

sochi mountain cluster ghost city 2014 olympics 1
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sochi mountain cluster ghost city 2014 olympics 1

To accomodate the swell of tourists for those two weeks in February, massive transportation infrastructure was built. The high-capacity, five-story parking garages that were used by visitors are now empty:

sochi mountain cluster ghost city 2014 olympics 2
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sochi mountain cluster ghost city 2014 olympics 2
sochi mountain cluster ghost city 2014 olympics 5
sochi mountain cluster ghost city 2014 olympics 5

The plan is for the Olympic Village to be converted into residential buildings:

sochi mountain cluster ghost city 2014 olympics 8
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sochi mountain cluster ghost city 2014 olympics 8

In the distance the ski slopes wait, and hope, for the winter tourist season:

sochi mountain cluster ghost city 2014 olympics 16
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sochi mountain cluster ghost city 2014 olympics 16

Shops sit empty:

sochi mountain cluster ghost city 2014 olympics 11
sochi mountain cluster ghost city 2014 olympics 11

The coastal part of Sochi had long been a popular Russian tourist destination. It remains to be seen if Rosa Khutor will be able to draw visitors in the winter.

sochi mountain cluster ghost city 2014 olympics 21
sochi mountain cluster ghost city 2014 olympics 21

Check out Belenkiy's full post here >



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