When Catherine the Great travelled south to tour the lands conquered from the Turks, her lover Potemkin had cheerful façades erected along her route. These hid the mud-splattered hovels that made up the newly founded city bearing her name, Yekaterinodar ('Catherine's gift').
Krasnodar no longer needs those façades, as many of the elegant, turn-of-the-20th-century buildings have been externally restored. Modern development has happened elsewhere and single-storey buildings still line the main street. Wander east through the backstreets or better still hop on a rickety tram down ul Kommunarov and enjoy the vista of old houses.
On summer weekends part of Krasnaya ul becomes a pedestrian zone and is quickly populated by those out to promenade, meet friends or slip into party mode at dusk. Street musicians, karaoke stands, artists and vendors compete for pavement space with cafés and bars while clothes shops open their doors to entice a stream of young customers.