The first World Cup in Russia
For its first world cup, Russia – or the Russian Federation, its official name – has spared no effort. The largest country in the world in territorial extension is investing the equivalent of 16 billion Canadian dollars in the mega event, 3 billion of these in its stadiums. So far, FIFA has already received a request for more than 5 million tickets. Brazil is among the countries that have requested the most tickets, and straight after, about 140,000, coming from Mexico, Argentina, and Germany. Russia, of course, comes in at 1st place with 2.5 million tickets reserved.
In Moscow, near the Kremlin, is where Casa Brasil (Brazil House) will operate. The building is an old brewery with 3 thousand m2 and costs the Brazilian public coffers 12 million Reais. The expectation is that 150 thousand people will circulate through Casa Brasil during the World Cup.
Fortunately, the frightful Russian cold that defeated Napoleon will not be a part of the World Cup. During the period, the mild summer temperatures should not exceed 25 degrees. And tourists will have the opportunity to enjoy the so-called “white nights,” when the sun remains a little below the horizon for a longer period of time, and the sky has an all-night glow, causing a dreamy atmosphere.
The 11 cities in Russia that will host the World Cup matches and some of its attractions
Moscow will be the main stage, both in terms of the football and because of its many tourist attractions. As Russia’s capital, it will be hosting the opening games and the grand finale, as well as other games. A summary of Moscow’s main attractions: The Kremlin and St. Basil’s Cathedral, Lenin’s Mausoleum, Gum (shopping mall on Red Square), the subway, Tretyakov Palace and the Bolshoi. Tip on which bar to go: Denis Simachev Shop & Bar.
St. Petersburg, the city chosen for the final of the Confederation’s Cup. Founded by Peter the Great, it is one of the most beautiful cities in Russia and is famous for its excellent jazz. Among the many museums, two are not to be missed: The Hermitage and the Beloselsky-Belozersky Palace. The former has a collection of more than 3 million pieces in its 1057 rooms. The latter tells, in a very playful way, the history of Russia.
Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan, has the largest concentration of Muslims in Russia. Its attractions date back to the reign of Ivan the Terrible. Among the most famous buildings are the Annunciation Cathedral and the grand Kul Sharif Mosque.
Sochi is an important Russian resort with many beach options during the Cup period. It inherited an entire Olympic Park and a ski resort from the 2014 Winter Games, both adapted for the Summer.
Kaliningrad lies in a region bordering Lithuania, and its biggest attraction is the isthmus of Courland, a strip of land in the Baltic Sea. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city was the capital of Prussia until 1945, when it was totally razed by British bombers.
Nizhny Novgorod, due to its nuclear weapons research, was one of the most heavily guarded cities during the Soviet Union’s existence. At the time, foreigners were prohibited from visiting. A fortress built in 1374 is its main attraction.
Samara has, among its attractions, a temple dedicated to St. George. During World War II, when Moscow was in danger, Samara was renamed Kuybyschev and was chosen to be the alternative capital of the Soviet Union.
Volgograd’s history is linked to the famous Battle of Stalingrad, when, during the second world war, the Soviets managed to contain the Nazis. At the top of Mount Mamayev, there is a memorial to the battle.
Saransk is the capital of the Republic of Mordovia. Although the city was founded in 1600, its main tourist attraction is recent. It is a cathedral in honor of Fyodor Ushakov, a Russian navy commander who was canonized by the Orthodox Church.
Rostov-on-Don has strategic importance due to its canals and also because of the pipeline connecting the city to the Caucasus oil fields. In the city, the attractions are a statue of Alexander Pushkin and a street named after him.
Yekaterinburg, in addition to its monuments, such as a monastery built in honour of the Romanov, has an interesting attraction: because of its geographical location, tourists can place one foot in Europe and the other in Asia. It is the fourth most important city in Russia.