2018 World Cup Venues
Held in Eastern Europe for the first time since its inauguration, the upcoming World Cup is already shaping up to be a historic experience. Russia is aiming to further make the 2018 edition a memorable one, with six brand new stadiums in the making and a complete renovation for the rest of the venues. Scattered across 12 different cities that include the coastal Sochi and the spectacular St. Petersburg, each of the venues will provide fans with a unique cultural experience, with the opening and closing matches expected to be played in the Russian capital, Moscow.
With a fascinating history that spans back over 750 years, Kaliningrad was entirely rebuilt from the ground up after its obliteration in WWII. Today, the city is a blend of modern landmarks and beautiful, historic architecture that date as far back as the 13th century. Culturally rich and rife with indigenous flora, Kaliningrad features numerous museums and theatres along with beaches, virgin forests and ample greenery.
Inspired by Munich’s awe-inspiring Allianz Arena, the new Kaliningrad Stadium will boast 35,000 seats and an open roof to allow fans the chance to enjoy Kaliningrad’s mild June and July weather.
Sitting ashore Russia’s Volga and Kazanka rivers, Kazan is one of the country’s busiest sports capitals. With a bustling opera and ballet dance scene and vibrant streets lined with eclectic boutiques and delicious eateries, the city is also a prime touristic destination and enjoys a warm weather during the summer season.
With a capacity of 45,000, the Kazan Arena was completed back in 2013. Known as the “city in the city”, the stadium features an enormous HD screen on the front exterior, corporate offices, an event space, a number of food and beverage outlets and shops, and a fitness area.
Luzhniki Stadium and Spartak Stadium
With over four million visitors every year, Moscow is Russia’s capital and largest city. The city’s inherit charm stems from its compelling history and modernism. Known for World Heritage Sites like the Red Square and the Kremlin, Moscow hides a slew of equally-enthralling lesser-known landmarks such as the Izmailovo Kremlin, the Golosov Ravine and the Monument of the Conquerors of Space. The capital is often covered in the beautiful snowy whites during winter, but during summer, it is blessed with a warm weather that makes it an ideal World Cup destination.
The newer of the two stadiums located in Moscow, Spartak Stadium, also referred to as Otkrytiye Arena, can seat up to 45,000 football spectators. It is home to Russia’s very own Spartak Moscow Football Club which is evident by the venue’s chequered red and white exterior. Luzhniki Stadium, the city’s other hosting football venue, is not only the competition’s largest stadium, but also the oldest. With an impressive capacity of 81,000, the stadium hosted the Summer Games in 1980, and will continue to add to its enthralling history by hosting the opening match of the 2018 World Cup, one of the semi-final games, and the highly-anticipated finale on July 15.
Russia’s fifth largest city is also one of the country’s busiest cultural capitals. Nizhny Novgorod, or Nizhny as it is more commonly referred to, is famed for its historical architecture, with some landmarks dating back 600 years. The most recognized of those features is the city’s Kremlin, a magnificent fortress that sits atop a hill in the city centre and overlooks the Volga River.
Currently under construction, Strelka Stadium’s development is progressing as expected, with the venue set to open shortly before the 2018 World Cup. The stadium overlooks the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and the fork of Russia’s Volga and Oka rivers, providing supporters with some breath-taking views.
Diversified residents. A cultural hub of activity, the city holds some of the country’s finest museums, opera and ballet houses and shopping districts. Lined ashore the Don River, Rostov-on-Don is best experienced during the summer months when the weather is warm and pleasant, in perfect time for the World Cup.
Aiming for completion by the end of the current year, Levberdon Arena owes its name to its location on the left bank of the River Don. The venue will serve as the home turf of Russia’s Rostov Football Club.
The second largest city in Russia and one of the most loved metropolises of the world, Saint Petersburg is rife with baroque architecture that echoes its rich history. Sitting at the edge of the Baltic Sea, it is home to the Winter Palace and the State Hermitage, and thrives on culture through its colourful artistic, intellectual and music scenes. Lined with 324 bridges that straddle both rivers and canals, Saint Petersburg is often compared to Venice, with each of the cities known and loved for their history and vibrancy.
With a capacity that reaches 70,000 seats, Zenit Arena was designed by Kisho Kurokawa Architects and Associates, after their “spaceship” submission was selected at an architecture competition. After nine years of work and construction, the highly-anticipated stadium will open its doors in 2017 and will serve as a home to Football Club Zenit Saint Petersburg.
A city known for its mild weather, picturesque beaches and scenic routes, Samara is cluttered with kitsch cafés and drink tents where locals and tourists can enjoy a treat and soak in the coastal beauty. The city is home to a multitude of other attractions and activities such as the museum of natural history and the Samara Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre.
The future home of Krylia Sovetov Samara Football Club, Cosmos Arena’s construction began in 2015. The 45,000-seater was designed to echo the features of a precious gem, with an 80-metre-dome of translucent glass panels that is highly reminiscent of a Swarovski crystal. Expected to be completed in the near future, the arena will feature a monorail to transport spectators.
Saransk, with a population of 340,000, is one of the smaller Russian cities to host the 2018 World Cup. Situated on the Saranka River, this wonderful city features lush greenery and warm summers. European-influenced, there are a number of cultural elements to the city, including historical buildings, theatres and museums. Saransk is also recognized for its past sporting achievements, as well as being the hometown to a great deal of Olympic and World champions.
Mordovia Arena was especially designed and built for the 2018 World Cup. As the current seating capacity is 45,000 – a far greater number than Saransk would ordinarily need – the upper level seating will be dismantled after the World Cup culmination, leaving the arena with a new capacity of 28,000. The new expanse will be reconstructed to feature shops and leisure space. Offering stunning views of the River Insar, the stadium's design has been built to bear resemblance of a solar sphere.
Fisht Olympic Stadium
Sochi, bordered by the Black Sea and encircled with the dramatic Caucasus Mountains, was the preeminent host of the XXII Olympic Winter Games and XI Paralympic Winter Games of 2014. Judging from the successful hosting of these games, supporters will undoubtedly enjoy their time spent in the southernmost city of the 2018 World Cup. Due to its close proximity to the mountains and the sea, Sochi attracts a vast amount of tourists every year who revel in this beautiful city. Whether adventure sports, like mountain climbing or hang-gliding, take your fancy or something more relaxed, like lounging by the beach and watching the Black Sea dolphins, Sochi has it all.
The Fisht Olympic Stadium has a great sporting history, having been the host of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Games. The 40,000 seat capacity will hold 4 group stage matches, a round of 16 match and a quarter-final match. The roof of Fisht Olympic stadium was designed to resemble the snowy apexes of the surrounding mountains, but this has been partially removed for the 2018 World Cup so supporters can enjoy Sochi's balmy summer evenings whilst they watch the action unfold.
The city that saw the infamous Battle of Stalingrad tear down its walls, Volgograd was rebuilt from the ashes after WWII to become one of Russia’s most important industrial hubs. Now famed for its eco-tourism, it features intricate baroque architecture and is known for destinations such as the Mamayev Kurgan memorial complex and the planetarium.
Central Stadium’s first construction began in 2014 where Volgograd’s old arena once stood. Bigger, sleeker and more impressive than its counterpart, the contemporary arena will feature a bright, colourful roof held in place by steel cables, and will seat up to 45,000 football fans.
Russia's fourth largest city and home to 1.3 million people, Yekaterinburg is an interesting and unique cultural hub that hosts a numerous amount of theatres, museums and budding music scene. But besides these more cultured activities, the city plays host to a number of quirky spots. You can visit the mafia cemetery that holds large granite tombstones engraved with life-size depictions of late mafia members, or, if that doesn't take your fancy, you can check out the circus building, a large steel dome that shows weird and wonderful entertainment. However, if you're looking for something even more eccentric then be sure to stop by the QWERTY monument, a giant keyboard replica built out of concrete blocks.
Yekatinburg's Central Stadium opened in 1957. It held 27,000 seats, which at the time made it one of the largest arenas in the world. Whilst this status is no longer held, it still remains an enormously spectacular stadium. It is one the few already existing stadiums to host the 2018 World Cup but is currently being extensively refurbished in the lead up to the tournament. The renovations include an additional installment of 17,000 seats, 2 new metro lines, a press center, as well as a revamping to the food vendors and security systems.
Moscow Travel Guide
This amazing city exceeded our expectations and we’re sure you’ll feel the same. For those who haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing Moscow, it offers so much more than the picture postcard views of St. Basil’s Cathedral that it is so often associated with (though those are pretty amazing too). We’ve been busy traveling back and forth to Russia to prepare for the 2018 World Cup and have discovered that modern Moscow has a burgeoning restaurant scene, an enviable arts community, and some other unique experiences that we couldn’t wait to share with our guests. Check out our travel guide to see everything we love about Moscow.
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WORLD CUP DISCLAIMER
Omeir Travel Agency is in no way associated with FIFA, the Organizing Committee for the FIFA World Cup, Russia 2018, MATCH Services or MATCH Hospitality. FIFA’s official ticket site is www.fifa.com/tickets.