Always be careful what you promise your wife! Take it from Russian businessman Sergey Nikolayevich Khudekov who promised his wife a plot of land and a villa in Sochi – even though he didn’t like the city! His wife would not let him forget this promise, and in 1892 he purchased 50 acres of land to start building a villa named after his wife, Nadezhda.
Khudekov was not a lover of Sochi, but he did have a thing for flora and fauna (Sochi has an excellent climate for tropical plants). Khudekov began bringing exotic plants from all over the world. He planted over 400 species of plants in Franco-Italian styled terraces throughout the villa. By 1917 he had collected over 550 species of plants. He also imported expensive iron sculptures and vases from France.
This turned out to be a win-win situation for Khudekov and his wife! Khudekov got to cultivate his love for plants, and his wife got a beautiful dendrarium and villa!
Fire Dance Shrub, a native of China but found in Japan and Britain
In 1922 the park was nationalized, and sometime around 2012, it became a part of the Sochi National Park system. This helped with the maintenance of the park through access to federal monies. Today, the park has over 1500 species of rare and exotic plants from all over the world.
Sochi Arboretum Botanical Garden/Dendrary Park
Address: Kurortny Ave., 74, Sochi
Hours: 8 AM – 7 PM (some of the exhibits open and close at different times)
Entrance Fees: Adults, 250 Rubles ($4.50), Children, 120 Rubles ($2.00)
Cable Car Fee: 150 Rubles ($2.75)
Parking: free parking
Time Needed: 2-4 hours
Dendrary Park is enormous and made up of two sections, a lower and upper part.
I would recommend starting in the lower part and walk about halfway up. Spend about 1-2 hours looking at the different shrubs, flowers, and trees, walking around the fountains, and checking out the sculptures.
The lower part must be the home to a hobbit!
The Japanese garden is a beautiful, shaded, and a serene place to relax for a few minutes. It gets hot there; I visited in October, and it was about 80.
Make sure you wear comfortable shoes because you will be doing A LOT of walking, and there are lots of stairs.
After climbing lots of steps, take a moment to relax here and then head out of the park to the cable car to make your way to the top and have lunch.
It’s important to know that the cable car is outside of the main park and across the street.
When you purchase your cable car ticket, show them you have already bought your ticket to enter the park. There is also another ticket booth at the top when you leave the cable car. You will need to show your entry ticket to the park there too.
Once you get to the top, you will be greeted with beautiful views of the Caucasus mountain range and the Black Sea.
Once you have enjoyed the view, enter the park, and stop at the restaurant for lunch.
A short way down from the restaurant you will come to Palm Tree Lane. The park has over 80 species of palm trees from around the world.
As I was making my way down, I passed a small pond with swans. There were several black swans, and this was my first time seeing these beautiful creatures!
As you make your way out of the park, stop at a souvenir stand and purchase some Dagomys Tea, made at the Dagomys plantation in Sochi. I recommend buying feijoa (a fruit native to Sochi) flavored.
I enjoyed my visit to Dendrary park. I wasn’t sure that I would like it, but upon entering I was struck by how clean, well maintained, and beautiful it was.
I’ve seen some complaints on TripAdvisor that it is poorly maintained, but I disagree. In the early 2000s it wouldn’t be surprising to find places like this in a state of disrepair, but in the last 2-3 years Russia has (literally) cleaned up! Becoming part of the Sochi National Park system probably helped too, as they had access to more money to keep up with the park. This park is enormous, and I am sure the cost of upkeep is high.
One thing I didn’t like was the condition of some of the larger birds in the park. The ostriches did not look very well-kept.
Last but not least, I want to share a couple of essential tips that will make your visit more enjoyable:
- Wear comfortable shoes!
- Bring water and a lot of it.
- Check the weather before going – it can get warm!
- Take the cable car in at least one direction
- The Dendrarium is made up mostly of trees, plants, and shrubs. If you are expecting mostly flowers, you may be disappointed.
- Charge your phone/camera battery before visiting
We hope you will consider checking out Sochi Arboretum Botanical Garden/Dendrary Park during your stay in Sochi.
Thanks Nadezhda for making your husband keep his promise!