Krasnodar is the capital of Krasnodar Krai.
The city is one the most important historical and cultural centers of Southern Russian and Northern Caucus region. Krasnodar was founded in 1794 by the Black Sea Cossack settlers under the guidance of Catherine the Great to guard the southern border of the Russian Empire. It is located to the east of the Black Sea. The city has a population of 713, 426 people according to 2010 census and it is more ethnically diverse than the Russian North with many Georgians, Armenians, Chechens and Ossetians setting in the area over the years of political turmoil.
To fly directly to Krasnodar from abroad, one would use Austrian Airlines or Pegasus Airlines with flights landing directly in Krasnodar International Airport and thus bypassing the Moscow hub in Sheremetyevo International Airport. This option is usually more expensive and most travelers opt for cheaper flights with Moscow layovers, the cheapest of which are Avianova, Skyexpress or Aeroflot flights by the national Russian airline company. When flying through Moscow, one has to change between international and domestic terminals of Sheremetyevo Airport, which can take several hours due to permanent heavy congestion in the city of Moscow.
Once in Krasnodar, you have many options in terms of transportation. Although the city does not have the subway system like the bigger metropolises of Moscow and St. Petersburg, it has a dense network of trams, trolleybuses, city buses, taxis, the boat across the Kuban river and, a uniquely Eastern European road feature of “marshrutkas”, which is a hybrid between a taxi and a minibus. Hitchhiking is also common. Trams, buses, and trolleys are more popular modes of travel because they are public and relatively cheap with a single pass costing 10 rubles (~35cents USD) and a monthly pass for 400 rubles (~$13 USD) as per single type of transportation. A monthly pass valid for all three types of public transit costs 700 rubles (~$23 USD). Some people choose to opt out of using trams, buses and trolleys because they have a tendency to be packed during rush hours of morning and evening as well as not sticking to schedule during times of heavy rain or snow. For times like these, taxis and marshrutkas are always available at a higher fee. One in three native Krasnodarians own a personal vehicle.
Krasnodar offers many in terms historic places, cultural attractions and entertainment venues. “Krasnaya St.” is the main street of the city, along which many of the interesting spots are located. Krasnodar has twelve theatres, the oldest of which are the Drama Theatre, Children’s Puppet Theatre, the regional Philharmonic Hall and the Operetta Theatre, all located along Krasnaya St. The city also has ten museums. Two of the most well-known museums – Krasnodar Regional Fine Arts Museum (13 Krasnaya St., (861)262-6633) and Krasnodar Regional Exhibit Hall (32 Rashpilevskaya St., (861)268-6763) have many famous works of Kuban and Russian and European artists from as early as XVIth century. The city has several parks and arboretums, four zoos and two water parks (“Equator” and “Aqualand”) for those visiting in summer months. Krasnodar has eleven movie theaters. “Aurora” movie theatre (169 Krasnaya St.) is one of the oldest and historically preserved movie theatres in the city built in 1967. For night time entertainment, around twenty entertainment complexes are opened 24 hours and usually include bowling alleys, shopping centers, video arcades, casinos and restaurants in one place.
Krasnodar has many restaurants, pubs, eateries, sushi bars, hookah bars, pizzerias, coffee/tea houses and fast food places. The predominant Krasnodar cuisine is a mix of south Russian, Georgian, Armenian and Greek flavors with emphasis on fresh local grown produce minimally spiced and mostly flavored by parsley, dill and cilantro. For those, who are looking for a familiar place to snack, the city has Subway, McDonalds (100 Dzerzhinsky St., (861)210-4192) and KFC (104 Uralskaya St., (861)210-9333). “Lubo-Dorogo” is a popular Krasnodar fast-food chain which specializes in a mix of Russian cuisine with appetizers priced between 90-280 rubles, main courses between 150-350 rubles and desserts (70-110 rubles).