Grozny (Russian: Гро́зный GROHZ-nyh) is the war-torn capital city of Chechnya. Since the end of the Second Chechen War, Grozny has undergone a renaissance in development and many abandoned or low-quality apartments and houses demolished and replaced with newer re-built apartment buildings and suburbs. Grozny was originally a Russian fort. Throughout 1994 and the early 2000s the city underwent chaos as Russian military battled Chechen rebels. Grozny is currently undergoing redevelopment.
Grozny was originally founded in 1818 as a Russian fort. It was a major stronghold for the Russians during the Caucasian Wars during 1818-1864. During the early 20th century, population boomed because of the city's rich oil reserves which drove many Russians from other parts of the country to work in the city.
During World War II, Josef Stalin accused the Chechen people as a whole with working with the Nazis to overthrow the Soviet government. The Chechens were labeled as a "traitor people". It was decided to deport all Chechens and Ingushis from the then Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Republic into exile in Central Asia. The republic was abolished and re-peopled with settlers from other parts of the Soviet Union: neighbouring North Ossetia, South Ossetia and Dagestan, Central Russia, Georgia and the Ukraine. When many of the harsher Stalin's policies were condemned and rolled back by the new Soviet leadership after 1956, the Chechen-Inglush Autonomous Republic was reinstated and Chechens were allowed to return to their homeland, doubling its population. However, no provisions were made to return the non-Chechen newcomers to their original places of residence or to compensate returning Chechens for homes and property that they have lost, much of it now in hands of the newcomers. This and the experience of deportation caused bitter resentment between Chechen and non-Chechen population of the Republic. Many Chechens with no means to subsist in the countryside anymore settled in Grozny, which has been an industrial city with predominantly Russian population even before the deportation, having only a handful of Chechen residents up until then.
In the 1990s, rebels began to form groups in an attempt to destroy Russian control in the city and the rest of Chechnya. The government lost partial control and the city was dangerous. Peace finally began to return during the late stages of the war in the 2000s and currently the government is beginning to reconstruct the city.
Because of Grozny being highly devastated by years of war, transportation is often tricky and hard as much of Grozny's transportation system has been destroyed. However, since reconstruction began, it's possible to take a flight to the city or use a train, bus or the convenient highway system.
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A night train departs from Moscow every second day, taking two nights. Due to terrorist threats, this train is heavily guarded, expect delays and hassles. Also, there is a night train from Rostov-on-the-Don and a day train from Astrakhan. Local trains connect with Khasavyurt and Gudermes.
Grozny is connected to the rest of Russia by a large highway system. The P-308, P-307 and M-29 highways connect the city to other cities in Russia. Keep in mind that it's best to take a map with you, or else you can get lost.
It's very difficult to get around Grozny since during the Siege of Grozny the tram and trolley system was almost destroyed. The tram is not expected to re-open, but the trolley has re-opened this year. The trolley still has not fully developed, so it's advised to use a car in the city. There is a (religious) taxi company operating in the city called Islam, which uses green-painted cars.
- 1 Akhmad Kadyrov Mosque. Completed in 2008 and locally known as the Heart of Chechnya, this is by far the largest mosque in Russia and one of the more lavish in the world.
- Church of St. Michael the Archangel'. Recently renovated after being almost destroyed during the Siege of Grozny.
- Another good place to go is to Downtown Grozny which features many lights and newly opened shops and restaurants that are at good prices. There are also many stands which sell fruit and beer.
- On weekends, you can go and watch some football (soccer) at the Sultan Bilimkhanov Stadium. FC Terek Grozny plays there in the Russian Premier League.
Because of the region's war's effect on the economy, many items in Grozny are cheap. Don't expect to find many Western essentials you can find in stores of other parts of the country. Many authentic swords and daggers can be bought at low prices. There is a flea market with many Chechen and Russian merchants. Again, don't expect much and expect to find some bootleg copies of well-known products.
- Café Oasis is a reasonable place to eat in downtown Grozny. It will be difficult to find though. You might want to bring a guide.
There aren't many bars in the city, but there are many local vendors which sell beer. Common sense must be used when approaching alcohol, and beer can only be sold legally between 8:00 and 10:00 AM.
- A good and cheap hotel is the Hotel Arena City. The hotel is new and modern, and has many essentials you can find in other hotels in the rest of the country. Many other hotels are being built. Note: it is reported that rebels closely monitor hotels, so be careful and try not to look suspicious.
Grozny has only partly stabilized enough to be safe for travel. Take extreme caution when visiting war-torn areas as there are some unexploded land-mines. Rebels often take tourists as hostages, so try to blend in with the population. It's advised NOT to speak Chechen in the city, as a foreigner speaking the language will attract a lot of unwanted attention. If you plan to visit Grozny, take lots of precaution.
Many foreign governments, including the UK, Canadian and US governments, strongly warn their citizens not to travel to Chechnya under any circumstances. They report that there have been many incidents of their citizens visiting there as well as Russian citizens being missing, killed, or kidnapped for ransom.
- Argun — Argun is a city that is just a few miles east of Grozny. Just take the highway if you want to visit Argun.