A week in Krasnodar
Krasnodar is Russia’s 16th biggest city by population. It is nestled in between Georgia, Ukraine and the Black Sea, in the far south of the country. It is known locally as the Kuban region of Russia due to the fact that it sits right on the Kuban river- though its characteristically hot climate might make you think that the name comes from the South American island instead. It averages at 30 degrees most days in the summer, and rarely dips below zero in the winter – which is a stark contrast to Russia’s more famous cities St Petersburg and Moscow.
My time in Krasnodar was mainly spent getting to grips with a totally different environment to what I’ve seen in Russia so far. My partners mother, a native to the area, said that this city often gets given the same description from both insiders and outsiders alike: that it is seems just like a big village. I might put this sentiment in a kinder way, by saying that though Krasnodar has less of a classic cityscape, it definitely has elements of both urban and rural charm.
There are even areas where ‘grand’ is the only applicable description. The newly built Krasnodar football Stadium is a huge spectacle to behold. Whilst I wasn’t lucky enough to see a game here during my stay, I did have a chance to rent a bike to ride around the beautiful and enormous park that surrounds the stadium. Its popularity is clear to see even just in the amount of pedestrians ambling through the area. This sight is a real source of pride for many locals. If you do choose to visit Krasnodar, this is definitely something you do not want to miss
An additional delight to my stay here was to find out that very evening one of the main streets, Ulitsa Krasnaya, is closed off from traffic completely. People are thus free to walk down it like a huge footpath! As well as numerous streemusicians, the whole road is lined with speakers that play music to go with your evening walk, creating a really sociable and lovely atmosphere. If you get hungry, thirsty, or fancy a bit of shopping at any point during your amble – cafés, restaurants and shops galore line the entirety of the street, and usually stay open late.
These are some of the most unique, but still city-like features of Krasnodar. It is also however surrounded by amazing nature as well. Obviously the river that runs through the centre provides for some nice nature, but even venturing out of the city by an hour or so will take you to some stunning areas – particularly sea, mountains and forests. I went to stay in the beach town Anapa for three days during my week away. Not only was this a great exercise in my Russian language (I was the only foreigner around for miles to see) but it was a perfect place to relax and have fun, and have the chance to experience a hot and sunny beach holiday in Russia! The south of the country might be the perfect place for you if you are passionate about learning Russian language, but not so keen on cold and industrial cities.