FIFA WC Venues: Nizhny Novgorod, a City of Cafes With Own Kremlin
Nizhny Novgorod, a relatively unknown town outside of Russia, stands on the banks of the Volga river.
Nizhny Novgorod, a relatively unknown town outside of Russia, stands on the banks of the Volga river.(Photo: AP)

FIFA WC Venues: Nizhny Novgorod, a City of Cafes With Own Kremlin

A city of 1.2 million people on the Volga river east of Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod is relatively unknown outside Russia.

Fans arriving for World Cup games featuring the likes of England and Argentina will discover a city of parks, cafes and bars with its own historic kremlin fortress.

Here's what you need to know:

The Stadium

Built where the storied Volga River meets the smaller Oka, the roof of the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium seems to float atop a ring of thin white columns.

A new subway station will make it easier for fans to reach the 45,000-seat arena. Legacy is a concern since the local club plays in the Russian second tier and seems unlikely to fill more than a fraction of the stadium on a regular basis.

Having a capacity of 45,000, the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium has an artistic design.
Having a capacity of 45,000, the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium has an artistic design.
(Photo: AP)

What to Know

Traveling to Nizhny Novgorod will take over six hours from Moscow on typical trains or just under four hours on a new high-speed route. Some free tickets for fans are available on both services.

Under its Soviet name of Gorki, Nizhny Novgorod was the place of exile for the Soviet nuclear physicist and dissident Andrei Sakharov in the 1970s and 1980s. The aim was to make it difficult for him to communicate with foreign supporters.

Sakharov died in 1989 but, after the Soviet Union collapsed, a major street was named after him in Moscow.

The stadium at Nizhny Novgorod has a view of the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.
The stadium at Nizhny Novgorod has a view of the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.
(Photo: AP)

Also Read: FIFA World Cup: Kaliningrad Is Cut-Off From the Rest of Russia

What to Do

Nizhny Novgorod offers visitors a chance to experience Russia's medieval and Czarist history at its historic kremlin – a walled fortress containing churches and museums.

The central streets are crowded with cafes and bars, and an array of unusual and sometimes bizarre sculptures. A goat and a shoe-shiner are both memorialised in bronze, as well as French novelist Jules Verne in a hot-air balloon.

There's also a cable car to ride across the wide Volga river.

What to Watch

Sweden takes on South Korea in Group F on June 18 in Nizhny Novgorod's first World Cup game, before Argentina and Croatia meet in Group D on June 21.

England looks to avoid a stumble against World Cup first-timer Panama on 24 June in Group G. Switzerland meets Costa Rica in Group E on 27 June.

In the knockout stages, there's a round-of-16 game on 1 July, and a quarterfinal on 6 July.

(The Quint is now on WhatsApp. To receive handpicked stories on topics you care about, subscribe to our WhatsApp services. Just go to TheQuint.com/WhatsApp and hit send)

(The Quint is now on WhatsApp. To receive handpicked stories on topics you care about, subscribe to our WhatsApp services. Just go to TheQuint.com/WhatsApp and hit the Subscribe button.)