Topic: leisure

Sochi Russia January 15  2014 A patient during his mineral bath at the Matsesta Sanatorium in Sochi.  Starting in the late 1930s, Matsesta was at the center of Josef Stalin's drive to turn Sochi into the premier resort city of the Soviet Union. Workers from across the USSR were given yearly leaves, paid for by the government, to rest in Sochi's sanatoria and recuperate from their year of toiling in Soviet factories and mines. After the fall of communism, however, Matsesta was privatized and found it hard to compete with resorts in foreign countries like Turkey and Egypt, which were suddenly open to Russian visitors in the early 1990s. The dilapidated sanatorium now survives on the trickle of tourists still nostalgic for the sulphur baths and hot springs they remember from their Soviet holidays.
Photo Essay

Weird, Wonderful Sochi: Inside Russia’s Own Palm Beach

TIME contract photographer Yuri Kozyrev takes us inside the weird, wonderful world of Sochi, which was known in Soviet times as Russia’s version of Palm Beach.

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