Samara is located just over 1,000 km east of Moscow, on the Volga River and near the Russian border with Kazakhstan, with a time zone one hour ahead of the Russian capital. The city will host 6 games at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, including one Russia national team group stage match, one round of 16 match and a quarter final.
The sixth largest city in Russia, Samara was founded in 1586 as a fortress township on the Volga river and initially housed only soldiers. By 1850, the city had become the center of the new Samara province. From 1935 to 1991 it was known as ‘Kuybyshev’, after the Bolshevik leader Valerian Kuybyshev.
Kuybyshev Square, which bears a statue of the man himself, is an ideal starting place for walks in Samara. The most popular route is along the Volga Embankment, which consists of 5km of sandy beaches and cafes.
The sun-worshippers among those visiting Russia for the World Cup will be pleased to hear that temperatures in Samara reach 25 degrees Celsius in the summertime. It is definitely worth visiting the Samara Bend, a hairpin meander in the Volga river, and also the Vertoletka observation deck, where Samara’s natural scenery can be fully appreciated.
Few may know that Samara is home to the Soyuz space rockets. The world’s oldest space launcher family was responsible for sending the first ever satellite, ‘Sputnik I’, and the first ever man, Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, into space. The rockets are made at the Progress Rocket Space Centre.
Samara Arena is set to open in 2018 and will host all six games held in the town. It has a 44, 918 maximum capacity, a dome which spans 330 meters and a 150,000 square meter roof that allows the stadium to be used all year round. After the World Cup, the stadium will change its name to the Cosmos Arena and be used for the home games of Russian second division club Krylia Sovetov.