Get To Know Russia's 11 World Cup Host Cities
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From June 14 to July 15, Russia's 11 World Cup cities will host a combined 64 games. Moscow leads the pack as the site of 12 games in Luzhniki Stadium and Spartak Stadium. The capital is also the largest of the World Cup cities, with Saransk's population of 300,000 40 times smaller than Moscow's 12.5 million. Below is a brief introduction to each of the World Cup host cities.
World Cup Cities
Population: 12.5 million
Interesting fact: Moscow has the largest forest within the borders of any urban area; 40 percent of the city is green space.
Best group stage game: Germany vs. Mexico, June 17, at 11 a.m. EST
World Cup stadiums: Luzhniki Stadium (81,000), Spartak Stadium (45,000)
Population: 4.9 million
Interesting fact: Peter the Great founded St. Petersburg on May 27, 1703.
Best group stage game: Nigeria vs. Argentina, June 26, at 2 p.m. EST
World Cup stadium: Saint Petersburg Stadium (67,000)
Population: 1.49 million
Interesting fact: The Russian Imperial Romanov family was executed by Bolshevik troops in Ekaterinburg on July 17, 1918.
Best group stage game: Uruguay vs. Egypt, June 15, at 8 a.m. EST
World Cup stadium: Ekaterinburg Arena (35,000)
Population: 1.25 million
Interesting fact: The city was named Gorky from 1932-1990 in honor of five-time Nobel Prize nominee Maxim Gorky, a founder of socialist realism.
Best group stage game: Argentina vs. Croatia, June 21, at 2 p.m. EST
World Cup stadium: Nizhny Novgorod Stadium (44,899)
Population: 1.17 million
Interesting fact: Samara is said to be the homeland of the Proto-Indo-European language, the common ancestor of the first language for 42 percent of the current world's population.
Best group stage game: Senegal vs Colombia, June 28, at 10 a.m. EST
World Cup stadium: Samara Arena (45,000)
Population: 1.14 million
Interesting fact: Ivan the Terrible led a massacre of the majority of the city during the Siege of Kazan in 1552. Kazan's population decreased from 50,000 in 1550 to just 7,000 in 1557.
Best group stage game: Poland vs. Colombia, June 24, at 2 p.m. EST
World Cup stadium: Kazan Arena (45,000)
Rostov on Don
Population: 1.13 million
Interesting fact: The city was established in 1749 when Peter the Great's daughter Empress Elizabeth built a customs house to control trade with the Ottoman Empire.
Best group stage game: Brazil vs. Switzerland, June 17, at 2 p.m. EST
World Cup stadium: Rostov Arena (45,000)
Population: 1.02 million
Interesting fact: Volgograd is the site of one of the bloodiest battles in the history of warfare. Nearly two million civilians and soldiers died during the Battle of Stalingrad from 1942-1943 during World War II.
Best group stage game: Tunisia vs. England, June 18, at 2 p.m. EST
World Cup stadium: Volgograd Arena (45,000)
Interesting fact: Kaliningrad was the capital of East Prussia and a part of the German Empire until the Soviet Union claimed the territory in the Postdam Conference following World War II.
Best group stage game: England vs. Belgium, June 28, at 2 p.m. EST
World Cup stadium: Kaliningrad Stadium (35,000)
Interesting fact: Expenses associated with hosting the 2010 Olympics totaled $51 billion, making the Olympic Games in Sochi the most expensive in history.
Best group stage game: Portugal vs. Spain, June 15, at 2 p.m. EST
World Cup stadium: Fisht Stadium (48,000)
Interesting fact: Saransk is the capital of the Republic of Mordovia, home to several of the world's best racewalking athletes.
Best group stage game: Peru vs. Denmark, June 16, at noon EST
World Cup stadium: Mordovia Arena (44,000)