Russia’s Football World Cup Locations
So unfortunately football is not coming home, and England lost out in their bid to host the 2018 football World Cup to Russia. We know you’ll need a while to get over the bitter disappointment, but after that it’s time to start planning your trip to Russia. Well you wouldn’t want to miss the match entirely, would you?
According to the current proposal Russia will have five stadiums ready to host the World Cup games in 2018, two near Moscow, one near St Petersburg, one close by Kazan (the “Third Capital” of Russia) and one near Sochi, on the shores of the Black Sea.
These days being a world cup host nation is as much about the boost in tourism as it is the football – so what can you expect to see at each of these destinations whilst you’re not at the match?
Image from yeowatzup
Russia’s capital, and the most heavily populated city in Europe, is jam packed with incredible sights. The popular tourist draws are the vast Red Square, which is always busy with tourists visiting St Basil’s Cathedral at one end (it’s the one with the colourful onion domes on top) and Lenin’s mausoleum at the other. The Kremlin, Russia’s traditional seat of power is adjacent, as is the home of luxury goods in Russia – the GUM shopping centre.
Image from xJasonRogersx
The attraction you simply can’t miss though is the Moscow Metro. The whole system is a tribute to Moscow’s communist past. The lines run deep underground and the early lines and stations were all dug by workers. The decoration, whilst now ageing was designed as a show of wealth and power, and you’ll notice striking stations decorated in marble and mosaics of popular socialist visions. For all it’s extravagance the system is confusing. As if the Cyrillic alphabet wasn’t enough of a challenge, the same station can have different names depending on what line you are on. We do have one tip though. If the voice announcing the next station on the train is male you’re heading into the city centre, if it’s female your train is speeding towards the suburbs.
Image from Anosmia
Once the capital the old Russian Empire, today St Petersburg is often referred to as the Cultural Capital of Russia, and it’s easy to see why. It’s home to The Hermitage, the world’s largest art museum for starters. Oh, and if that weren’t enough there are another 200 museums including the Russian Museum devoted to Russian fine art and the Russian Ethnography Museum which is all about the cultures of the people of Russia and the former Soviet Union. St Petersburg is also the home of the Mariinsky Ballet, possibly the world’s leading ballet company, over 50 theatres, incredibly grand cathedrals and the baroque Winter Palace, which was the official residence of the Russian emperors.
Image from Nu.Clear.Photo
Despite being only the sixth largest city in Russia, Kazan brands itself as the “Third Capital” of Russia. It lies at the meeting point of two of Russia’s major rivers, the Volga and Kazanka. More relevantly for football fans, Kazan is the sports capital of Russia. The city is a unique mix of modern and old Russia. Contemporary skyscrapers fill the skyline, but the main attraction is the 16th century Kazan Kremlin (fortress) which also holds the far more modern Kul Sharif mosque.
Image from man@Che
Sochi isn’t what you’d typically expect from a Russian city. This Black Sea resort has a subtropical climate, similar to the Mediterranean. Somewhat contrasting this, Sochi is also hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics – as the city is located at the foot of the Caucasus Mountains. Sochi is more of an outdoor city that some of the others, and a visit here will likely include passing time on the beach, bathing in hot sulphur springs at a health spa or visiting the beautiful Agura Waterfalls in an open-top Russian military truck.
Top image from AlphaTangoBravo / Adam Baker’s