MOSCOW, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Russia will host the 2018 World Cup finals in 12 venues spread across 11 cities.
The Russian capital, a city of more than 12 million people, is home to two World Cup venues.
Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium, which will host seven matches including the final and opening match, has undergone extensive reconstruction work since 2013 to expand capacity to 81,000 seats.
Spartak stadium, home to the Russian Premier League club of the same name, will host five matches, including one in the round of 16.
St Petersburg’s World Cup stadium, which took a decade to build, will host seven World Cup matches including a quarter-final. Home to Russian soccer powerhouse Zenit, the venue has experienced several issues with its pitch and leaking roof.
St Petersburg was founded by Tsar Peter the Great in 1703 and was Russia’s imperial capital. It remains an important cultural and artistic centre.
The Kazan Arena was inaugurated in 2013 when it hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the Summer Universiade. The venue will host six World Cup matches including a quarter-final.
Located some 700 kilometres east of Moscow, Kazan has hosted a string of high-level sporting events in recent years including the 2015 World Aquatics Championships and the 2017 Confederations Cup.
Located in the Sochi Olympic Park, the Fisht Stadium hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics before being converted into a soccer venue. The stadium will host six World Cup matches, including a quarter-final.
Sochi is a resort city that lies on the Black Sea shore at the foot of the Caucasus Mountains.
The newly-built 45,000-seat World Cup venue in Nizhny Novgorod will host six matches including a quarter-final.
Nizhny Novgorod, located some 400 kilometres east of Moscow at the confluence of the Volga and Oka rivers, is Russia’s fifth largest city by population.
Work is still going on at the new 35,000-seat stadium, which will host four World Cup group stage matches, on an island in the heart of Kaliningrad.
Wedged between Poland and Lithuania, Kaliningrad is the tournament’s westernmost host city. The Baltic Sea exclave, once known by its German name Konigsburg, fell under Moscow’s control at the end of the Second World War.
Built on a former battlefield that saw some of the fiercest fighting of World War II, the 45,000-seat Volgograd Arena will host four group stage matches.
Volgograd, formerly known as Stalingrad, is home to the giant “The Motherland Calls” monument commemorating the 200-day Battle of Stalingrad in which Soviet troops stopped the advance of Nazi Germany’s army.
Located on the left bank of the Don River, the 45,000-seat Rostov Arena will host five World Cup matches, including one round-of-16 match.
Rostov-on-Don, a major transportation hub home to more than one million people, is located near Russia’s border with Ukraine.
The 35,000-seat Ekaterinburg Arena, originally built in the 1950s, has undergone a major facelift to host four group stage matches next summer.
Located on the eastern slopes of the Ural mountains, at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Ekaterinburg is the easternmost host city.
The World Cup venue in Samara will host four group stage matches, a match in the round-of-16 and a quarter-final. Russian authorities have said construction work on the venue is behind schedule.
Located some 850 kilometres southeast of Moscow, Samara is a major economic and transportation hub on the Volga River.
The newly-built stadium in Saransk, the smallest of Russia’s World Cup cities, will host four group stage matches.
Located more than 500 kilometres southeast of Moscow, Saransk is the capital of Russia’s Mordovia region and has produced several world-class racewalkers. (Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Peter Rutherford)