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 are operating at 5% capacity, and he only encountered a handful of tourists on the streets.
The Sochi Olympics cost $US51 billion. A good chunk of that went toward building the mountain cluster. The Russian government spent $US8.7 billion on a 31-mile road and railway system to connect Krasnaya Polyana to the coastal neighbourhood of Adler. Another $2 billion was spent to build the Rosa Khutor ski resort.
Here’s what it looks like six months later:
Belenkiy acknowledges that the town will see more activity when the winter ski season returns. But given the admitted lack of post-Olympic planning that went into the Sochi venues, these photos are ominous for the legacy of the 2014 games. They’re reminiscent of the abandoned venues from the 2004 Athens Olympics, the most notorious cautionary tale for poor post-Olympic planning.
We’ve republished Belenkiy’s photos with his permission.
The first few days of the Olympics was plagued by construction problems. One construction site in Rosa Khutor has been “abandoned,” Belenkiy says:
In order 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:
The plan is for the Olympic Village to be converted into residential buildings:
In the distance the ski slopes wait, and hope, for the winter tourist season:
Shops sit empty:
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.