FIFA WC Venues: The Sun Never Sets in a St Petersburg Summer
The Dvortsovaya (Palace) Square in St Petersburg is one of the attractions for fans in St. Petersburg
The Dvortsovaya (Palace) Square in St Petersburg is one of the attractions for fans in St. Petersburg(Photo: Dmitri Lovetsky/AP Photo)

FIFA WC Venues: The Sun Never Sets in a St Petersburg Summer

Known as Russia’s “Window on Europe,” St Petersburg is a city like no other.

Imperial palaces line its network of canals, its stadium looks like a spaceship and some days the sun never sets. St Petersburg is so far north that the last three weeks of June are “White Nights,” with the sky remaining light 24 hours a day.

Here's what you need to know about one of the 11 host cities in Russia:

The Stadium

The 67,000 strong capacity St Petersburg Stadium resembles a space-ship and will host the third-place playoff, and a semi-final match.
The 67,000 strong capacity St Petersburg Stadium resembles a space-ship and will host the third-place playoff, and a semi-final match.
(Photo: Dmitri Lovetsky/AP Photo)

The vast St Petersburg Stadium was a headache for the Russian government, taking a decade to build as costs soared to 43 billion rubles ($670 million). Worker deaths and corruption scandals marred the project.

The result is Zenit St Petersburg's new 67,000-seat home, which resembles a spaceship parked on the shore of the Baltic Sea. Fans should leave plenty of time to get there, since it's a 25-minute walk from the nearest subway station.

What to Know

St. Petersburg was established by Czar Peter the Great to build a new capital, locals regard St Petersburg as Russia’a cultural capital.
St. Petersburg was established by Czar Peter the Great to build a new capital, locals regard St Petersburg as Russia’a cultural capital.
(Photo: Dmitri Lovetsky/AP Photo)

St Petersburg's grandeur is all down to the vision of one man.

Obsessed with trying to modernize his country, the 18th-century Czar Peter the Great decreed a new capital would be built from scratch in a swamp by the Baltic Sea. The idea was to create a metropolis as a center for European technology and ideas to enter Russia, to force the Russian nobility to adopt European traditions, and to display the glory of Peter's empire.

Soviet revolutionaries later moved the capital back to Moscow, but locals still see St. Petersburg as Russia’s cultural capital.

What to Do

Street actors’ performances at the Dvortsovaya (Palace) Square in St Petersburg is a thing to look forward to for tourists.
Street actors’ performances at the Dvortsovaya (Palace) Square in St Petersburg is a thing to look forward to for tourists.
(Photo: Dmitri Lovetsky/AP Photo)

The grand avenue of Nevsky Prospekt is St Petersburg's heart, running past parks, theaters and shops to the opulent Palace Square. That's where Bolshevik revolutionaries took power in 1917 by seizing the Winter Palace.

Visitors can drink in the city's beauty with a boat trip through the canals, or see some of the world's most celebrated art in the famous Hermitage Museum.

St. Petersburg is a city of restaurants and bars, offering everything from fine dining to some of Russia's best craft beer. At night, the bridges between the city's islands lift to allow ships to pass — something to bear in mind to avoid being stranded on a night out.

What to Watch

St. Petersburg will host seven World Cup games, starting with the Group B game between Morocco and Iran on 15 June.

Russia's World Cup hopes could be dashed by Mohamed Salah and Egypt in the Group A game on 19 June.

Brazil plays Costa Rica in Group E on June 22, followed by Argentina taking on Nigeria in Group D on 26 June.

In the knockout stages, St Petersburg hosts one game in the round of 16, as well as a semifinal and the third-place playoff.

(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.)