The Huffington Post Canada  |  Posted:  |  Updated: 02/06/14 EST

2014 Sochi Olympics Photos: Satellite Pictures Of The City Past And Present

The opening ceremonies for the 2014 Sochi Olympics is fast approaching but criticism against the Russian host city have surfaced long before the official start.

Journalists stationed in Sochi were greeted to an Olympic village and park still under construction with days before the Feb. 7 start date. Reporters also took to Twitter to share some of the imperfections and stories awaiting them within the first days of arrival in the city.

But to the credit of Olympic officials in Russia, the country has had a fair amount of work to do since winning the bid in 2006. Sochi, while widely considered as a resort town, has a population of roughly 400,000 and sees about two million tourists a year. In order to accommodate the influx of thousands of athletes, fans and members of the media, Russia had to build an Olympic city from the ground up.

And Google Maps has the photos to prove it.

This is what Sochi looked like back in April 2005, a year before it was even considered to host the Winter Games.
sochi olympics photos april 2005

And here it is back in January 2014
sochi olympics photos january 2014

You can see the gradual progression from what's essentially open fields to a collection of Olympic venues, parks and arenas for athletes and spectators in the pictures below.

Here it is in September 2007:
sochi olympics photos september 2007

The situation as of March 2010:
sochi olympics march 2010

Construction as of September 2011:
sochi olympics march 2011

Getting closer as of March 2013:
sochi olympics march 2013

Nearing completion in November 2013:
sochi olympics march 2013

On Thursday, Dmitry Kozak, the deputy prime minister in charge for the Olympic preparation, addressed his critics, saying that the circulating photos of undrinkable water, incomplete hotel rooms and questionable fixtures were overblown, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Also fighting back against earlier media reports was Vladimir Yakunin, head of the national rail operator Russian Railways, the company responsible for most of Sochi's infrastructure. In his blog, Yakunin criticized the Western media for bias covered against Russia.

I will not repeat the content of publications, but their essence is the same - it is unconscionable judgments about the ambitions of the Russian authorities, the Olympic budget, categorical statements about companies - construction contractors, fear mongering about the fact that the Games in Sochi will not be provided with the necessary level of security, all kinds of hints and it ... At the same time there is no word about the quality of Olympic venues, that level of infrastructure Olympics has no analogues in the world. No mention there of the unique features of this region of Russia that, for sure, would be interested in a Western audience, not too familiar with our history and geography.

Still not sold in booking a trip to Sochi? Well, Google has also expanded its Streetview technology to map the host city for Olympic armchair tourists.

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  • ADLER, RUSSIA - JANUARY 08: The Olympic Rings stand outside of Sochi International Airport on January 8, 2014 in Adler, Russia. The region will host the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics which start on February 6th, 2014. (Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images)

  • SOCOG staff members digs in the snow after six workers were swept off a roof at the bobsleigh center, for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, on Thursday Jan. 16, 2014 . (AP Photo/Joe Payne)

  • SOCOG staff members digs in the snow after six workers were swept off a roof at the bobsleigh center, for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, on Thursday Jan. 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Joe Payne)

  • In this photo provided by Olympictorch2014.com, performers dressed in folk costumes welcome Olympic flame with Russian traditional bread-and-salt during the Olympic torch relay in Yelets, some 380 kilometers (237.5 miles) south of Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Olympictorch2014.com)

  • In this photo provided by Olympictorch2014.com, torch bearers pose with Olympic torches during the Olympic torch relay in Yelets, some 380 kilometers (237.5 miles) south of Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Olympictorch2014.com)

  • ADLER, RUSSIA - JANUARY 10: Security personnel walk on the Olympic Park in the Coastal Cluster at sunrise on January 10, 2014 in Adler, Russia. (Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images)

  • ADLER, RUSSIA - JANUARY 10: Military personnel with canine units patrol the Olympic Park in the Coastal Cluster on January 10, 2014 in Adler, Russia. (Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images)

  • ADLER, RUSSIA - JANUARY 08: Security personnel walk outside of Shayba Arena on January 8, 2014 in Adler, Russia. (Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images)

  • ADLER, RUSSIA - JANUARY 08: Flags blow in the wind in front of the Main Press Center on January 8, 2014 in Adler, Russia. (Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images)

  • In this Friday, Jan. 3, 2014 photo and provided by Olympictorch2014.com, Olympic torch bearer Anzhela Vershinina holds an Olympic torch during the torch relay in Kungur, Perm region, Russia. (AP Photo/Olympictorch2014.com)

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) tries an Olympic volunteers uniform, visiting an equipment centre in Sochi on January 4, 2014. (ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) tries an Olympic volunteers uniform, visiting an equipment centre in Sochi on January 4, 2014. (ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A view taken on January 14, 2014 shows general view of the Olympic Park in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi. (MIKHAIL MORDASOV/AFP/Getty Images)



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