10 Stadiums in Russia that every football fan would love to know about

The summer of 2018 has a feast of sporting events, led in no small measure by the second-most-watched sporting event in the world after the Olympics, the football World Cup. In its 21st edition, the tournament will see 32 countries competing for the football’s most prestigious title. The event will be held in Russia from mid-June to mid-July, across 12 venues. If you are a fan of this beautiful sport, here are ten stadiums in Russia you must visit, whether you’re going to catch the live action or not.

1.    Luzhniki Stadium

Originally built in 1956, it has hosted many important sporting events, including the 1980 Summer Olympics. Just as Wembley is to England, Luzhniki is to Russia; though it has also been the home ground to some of Moscow’s biggest football clubs – Spartak, CSKA and Torpedo. The last big football event held here was the all-English 2008 UEFA Champions League final, when Manchester United beat Chelsea.

Rebuilding one of Moscow’s landmarks began in 2013, taking care to ensure it preserved the historical façade. The stadium’s interiors were renovated: the athletics track was removed, the stands made rectangular and moved closer to the pitch, and the stadium’s capacity was increased from 78,000 to 81,000; a project that cost $540 million. 

2.    Spartak Stadium 

This stadium, located in St. Petersburg, is home to one of Russia’s most famous football clubs, Spartak Moscow.

In 2010, Spartak started building its 45,360-seater stadium on the site of Moscow’s former airport. The façade of the stadium consists of hundreds of diamonds that represent the red-and-white Spartak logo, and when the national team is playing, it switches to the colours of the Russian flag. The Spartak Moscow museum, the club shop and official fan club are also part of the stadium, whose construction amounted to $430 million. 

3.    Krestovsky Stadium 

Home to FC Zenit St. Petersburg, the new stadium (also called Zenit Arena) has been built on Krestovsky Island, where the Kirov Stadium previously stood. 

The stadium was designed by Japanese architect Kisho Kurosawa, who envisioned a spaceship landing on the shores of the Gulf of Finland for the stadium. One of the world’s most modern sporting arenas, it features a retractable roof and sliding pitch, can accommodate 67,000 people, and host any type of event at any time of year. Even during the freezing winter, the temperature inside the stadium is a comfortable 15 degrees Celsius. With a construction cost of $1.1 billion, it is one of the most expensive stadiums in the world. 

4.    Kazan Arena

Kazan Arena was built for the 2013 World University Games and hosted the opening and closing ceremonies. Following the Games, a football pitch was installed, and the stadium also served as a venue for the Confederations Cup in 2017. The stadium is now a multi-purpose venue, with a capacity for 45,379 and home to FC Rubin Kazan.

Designed by the same firm of architects as London’s Emirates Stadium and Wembley Stadium, Emirates Stadium cost $450 million to construct. When viewed from above, Kazan Arena – which is built on the banks of the Kazanka River – looks like a water lily.

5.    Nizhny Novgorod Stadium

This 45,379-seater stadium has been built where the Volga and Oka rivers meet, close to the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. From here you can get a stunning view of the Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin, which is situated on the far side of the Oka River.

Given its location near the city’s historic districts, the arena is restrained, yet striking in its design. It features a light basic structure that supports a semi-transparent undulating façade, which is designed to conceal the bowl of the stadium. A walkway surrounds the building, and when lit up at night, it is a sight to behold. At a construction cost of $290 million, the stadium will be home to local club Olympiets Nizhny Novgorod.

6.    Volgograd Arena

Volgograd Arena was built on the site of the Central Stadium, which many local supporters fondly remember for their European victory over Manchester United and domestic battles with Spartak Moscow. 

The stadium’s façade and windbreaks represent features of a Victory Day firework display. The roof, with cables evocative of the spokes of the wheel on a bicycle, lends the arena an extra element of airiness. This 45,568-seater stadium, which cost $290 million to construct, will be home to FC Rotor after the World Cup.

7.    Ekaterinburg Arena

Home to FC Ural - one of Russia’s oldest football clubs - the stadium was initially built in 1953 but has been refurbished several times since then. The last of these refits have been made for the upcoming World Cup, taking its capacity to 35,696 and a construction cost of $215 million. Despite the changes, the stadium’s historical façade has been left intact as an architectural legacy. Features typical of Soviet neo-Classicism have been lavishly used in the construction of the stands, along with decorative art in the form of sculptures, vases and banners.

8.    Rostov Arena

An already popular city for restaurants and tourism facilities, Rostov-on-Don expanded by developing the left bank of the Don River – including building the 45,000 capacity Rostov Arena. The construction cost of this stadium amounted to $330 million.

The arena’s roof is shaped to imitate the form of the Don River. With stands at different heights also allow spectators to enjoy everything that happens on the pitch and the striking views of the city.

9.    Fisht Stadium

Located in Sochi Olympic Park and close to the city’s Formula 1 circuit, Fisht Stadium was built for the 2014 Winter Olympics, where it hosted the opening and closing ceremonies. The stadium reopened in 2017 after reconstruction for the forthcoming World Cup and expanded capacity of 47,659.

The stadium was named after a peak in the Caucasus Mountains – Mount Fisht. ‘Fisht’, in the local language, means ‘white head’, and it has earned the name as the silhouette of the arena looks like a snow-capped mountain peak.

One of the more expensive stadiums in the country, construction cost $519 million. The stadium will not be home to the city’s football team. However, it will host training camps, friendly and competitive matches for the Russian national team.

10.    Samara Arena 

The 44,918 capacity Samara Arena’s design reflects the theme of space, a tribute to the dominant industry of the region. The shape of the stadium resembles a glass dome, which will be lit up at night, emphasising the stadium’s dramatic design.

At a construction cost of $320 million, once the football world cup is over, the stadium will be home turf to FC Krylya Sovetov, a club that appeared several times in Europe’s top club competitions.

For millions of people, the upcoming football extravaganza is one of the items on their bucket list, and there are few countries as varied and beautiful as Russia.

For any true football fan, this is an opportune moment to fulfil your #KnowledgeGoals, and brag about it to your friends. These magnificent stadiums are sure to ignite the travel enthusiast in you and give you major #TravelGoals. So, what are you waiting for? Get an HDFC Bank Personal Loan, which can be credited to your account in 10 seconds* and #GoForGoals at the biggest sporting event in the world

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