The Arboretum Park is one of the most famous places in Russia. The Arboretum tour is popular with guests of the city and citizens. More than 10,000 sightseers visit the shady alleys of the park in summer time.
The Sochi Arboretum is a unique museum where flora of Caucasus and different countries is represented. The visitors admire the beautiful park and learn much new about plant kingdom of the Earth. The park is more than 49 hectares (120 acres) in area and numbers about 1,600 species and forms of plants from all over the world.
The Arboretum was founded in 1890s by a famous journalist and publisher of that time Stepan Khudyakov. The plants were bought in botanical gardens of the Crimea, Germany and Caucasus (some were delivered from a tree nursery of Prince Alexander Petrovich of Oldenburg in Gagra).
The park was constructed the same way as French Italian terrace parks of the end of the 19th century and had been always replenished with new plants. In 1922, the park was nationalized. In 1944, it was given to the Sochi Scientific and Research Experimental Forest Station (now Research Institute of Mountain Forestry and Forest Ecology). In 1973, a palm alley of friendly cities was laid in the Arboretum where while visiting Sochi the leaders of foreign cities plant trees. The Arboretum collection numbers about 20 palm species.
The most beautiful palms are Jubaea chilensis with a trunk of more than 50 cm (19.7 in) in diameter; up to 20 m (65.6 ft) high Washingtonia; Mexican blue palm; butia, edible fruits of which resemble pineapples. Phoenix canariensis, European fan palm, Martius' fan palm and other exotic plants also grow there. It would be interesting for visitors to see a wonderful tree Metasequoia (Dawn Redwood). Not long ago scientists thought that it became extinct about 60,000,000 years ago. But in 1944, several trees were found in mountains of China. Seeds were taken and today metasequoia is successfully grown in many countries.
A sea aquarium is a unique construction of the Arboretum. It is 150 cu. m (5,300 cu. ft) in volume and the water column is over 2 m (6,5 ft) high. In different seasons, 14 to 27 species of fish from the Black Sea live there. The Arboretum consists of two parts: the lower one is a plain, and the upper one is situated on a steep mountain slope. The parts are connected by a tunnel and ropeway. The central part of the park resembles Italian gardens and has many architectural structures. The rest part is an English landscape park laid out on the principal of geography recommended by the founders of the park Professor A. Krasnov and other scientists.