When Catherine the Great travelled south to tour the lands conquered from the Turks, her lover Potemkin had cheerful facades erected along her route. These hid the mud-splattered hovels that made up the newly founded city bearing her name, Yekaterinodar (‘Catherine’s Gift’).
It's been a long time since Krasnodar has needed those facades. Today, its lively centre boasts clean and pleasant streets lined with countless cafes and restaurants. Externally renovated, tsarist-era buildings give parts of the city an elegant, European-style appearance that have earned it the sobriquet 'Little Paris'. There isn't a great deal to see in the city, but it's a pleasant place to relax for a day or two.
The road from Rostov-on-Don feeds into the northern end of Krasnaya ul, Krasnodar’s 2km-long leafy colonnade of a main street. Train and bus stations are to the southeast, just north of the Kuban River, which snakes around the city’s southern and western flanks.