The name of the city is thought to be derived from the name of the Moskva River. Moscow is situated on the Moskva River in the Central Federal District of European Russia, making it the world's most populated inland city. The city is well known for its architecture, particularly its historic buildings such as Saint Basil's Cathedral with its brightly colored domes. With over 40 percent of its territory covered by greenery, it is one of the greenest capitals and major cities in Europe and the world, having the largest forest in an urban area within its borders—more than any other major city. There are 96 parks and 18 gardens in Moscow, including four botanical gardens.
Moscow is a major political, economic, cultural, and scientific center of Russia and Eastern Europe, as well as the largest city entirely on the European continent. By broader definitions Moscow is among the world's largest cities, being the 14th largest metro area, the 18th largest agglomeration, the 15th largest urban area, and the 11th largest by population within city limits worldwide.
Moscow's road system is centered roughly on the Kremlin at the heart of the city. From there, roads generally span outwards to intersect with a sequence of circular roads ("rings").
Moscow's architecture is world-renowned. Moscow is the site of Saint Basil’s Cathedral, with its elegant onion domes, as well as the Cathedral of Christ the Savior and the Seven Sisters. The first Kremlin was built in the middle of the 12th century.
Moscow has always been a popular destination for tourists. Some of the more famous attractions include the city's UNESCO World Heritage Site, Moscow Kremlin and Red Square, which was built between the 14th and 17th centuries. The Church of the Ascension at Kolomenskoye, which dates from 1532, is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and another popular attraction.
Moscow is home to 63 stadiums (besides eight football and eleven light athletics maneges), of which Luzhniki Stadium is the largest and the 4th biggest in Europe (it hosted the 1998–99 UEFA Cup, 2007–08 UEFA Champions League finals, and the 1980 Summer Olympics, and will host the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ with 6 games total). Moscow was the host city of the 1980 Summer Olympics. Large sports facilities and the main international airport, Sheremetyevo Terminal 2, were built in preparation for the 1980 Summer Olympics. In football, FC Spartak Moscow has won more championship titles in the Russian Premier League than any other team. PFC CSKA Moscow was the first Russian football team to win a UEFA title. FC Lokomotiv Moscow, FC Dynamo Moscow and FC Torpedo Moscow are other professional football teams also based in Moscow.
Kaliningrad is a seaport city and the administrative center of Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea. In 2005 the city marked 750 years of existence as Königsberg/Kaliningrad.
Kaliningrad has many museums. A few examples are the Immanuel Kant museum on the Kneiphof island, the Regional Museum of History and Arts, which has parts of Königsberg Castle's Prussia Museum of local archaeological findings, and the Kaliningrad Amber Museum, which is situated in the Dohna Tower near the Rossgarten Gate.
The oldest building in Kaliningrad is the Juditten Church (built before 1288). Also worth seeing are the former Stock Exchange, the surviving churches, and the remaining city gates. In counter-clockwise order these gates are: the Sackheim Gate, King's Gate, Rossgarten Gate, Attack Gate, Railway Gate (Eisenbahntor), Brandenburg Gate, and Friedland Gate. Apart from the already mentioned Dohna Tower, which houses the Amber Museum, the Wrangel Tower also remains as a reminder of the former Königsberg city walls. Only the gate of the former Fort Friedrichsburg remains.
Kaliningrad is home to the football club FC Baltika Kaliningrad, which plays in the Football Championship of the National League (formerly Russian First Division). It played in the Russian Premier League for 3 seasons between 1996 and 1998.
Kaliningrad will be the host of some games in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™.
Saint Petersburg is Russia's second-largest city after Moscow and an important Russian port on the Baltic Sea. Situated on the Neva River, at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea, it was founded by Tsar Peter the Great on May 27 1703. In 1914, the name was changed from Saint Petersburg to Petrograd, in 1924 to Leningrad, and in 1991 back to Saint Petersburg.
Saint Petersburg is the most Westernized city of Russia, as well as its cultural capital. The Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments constitute a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Saint Petersburg is home to The Hermitage, one of the largest art museums in the world. A large number of foreign consulates, international corporations, banks, and businesses have offices in Saint Petersburg.
Saint Petersburg is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list as an area with 36 historical architectural complexes and around 4000 outstanding individual monuments of architecture, history and culture. New tourist programs and sightseeing tours have been developed for those wishing to see Saint Petersburg's cultural heritage.
The city has 221 museums, 2000 libraries, more than 80 theaters, 100 concert organizations, 45 galleries and exhibition halls, 62 cinemas and around 80 other cultural establishments. Every year the city hosts around 100 festivals and various competitions of art and culture, including more than 50 international ones.
There is also a second professional football club in Saint Petersburg, FC Dynamo Saint Petersburg, which is owned by the historic Dynamo sports society.
The city became famous for its resistance during the Battle of Stalingrad against the German Army in World War II. It is often regarded as the largest and bloodiest battle in the history of warfare.
Volgograd is an important industrial city and the administrative center of Volgograd Oblast, Russia. It is 80 kilometers (50 mi) long, north to south and is situated on the western bank of the Volga River, after which the city was named. Volgograd hosts one of the few floating churches in the world: the floating church of Saint Vladimir of Volgograd.
A memorial complex commemorating the battle of Stalingrad, dominated by an immense allegorical sculpture The Motherland Calls, was erected on the Mamayev Kurgan, the hill that saw some of the most intense fighting during the battle. With its 85 meters it is almost twice the height of the Statue of Liberty; it is the tallest statue of a woman in the world.
The Panorama Museum sited on the Volga contains artifacts from World War II. These include a panoramic painting of the battlefield from the location of the monument on Mamayev Kurgan. A rifle of the famous sniper Vasily Zaytsev (popularized in Western media in the film Enemy at the Gates) is also on display.
Several communities in France and Italy have streets or avenues named after Stalingrad, hence Place de Stalingrad in Paris and the eponymous Paris Métro station of Stalingrad.
Volgograd will be the host of some games in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™.
Kazan is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia. It is the eighth most populous city in Russia. Kazan lies at the confluence of the Volga and Kazanka Rivers in European Russia. The Kazan Kremlin is a World Heritage Site.
In April 2009, the Russian Patent Office granted Kazan the right to brand itself as the "Third Capital" of Russia. In 2009 it was chosen as the "Sports capital of Russia" and it still is referred to as such. The city hosted the 2013 Summer Universiade, 2014 World Fencing Championships, the 2015 World Aquatics Championships, and one of the host cities for the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup™.
In 2015, Kazan was visited by 2.1 million tourists, which is a 20% increase in comparison with 2014. The Kazan Kremlin was visited by 1.5 million tourists in 2015 and hotel and entertainment complex with aquapark called "Kazan Riviera" was visited by 1 million tourists.
The city has a citadel. Major monuments in the kremlin are the five-domed six-columned Annunciation Cathedral (1561–62) and the mysterious leaning Soyembika Tower, named after the last queen of Kazan and regarded as the city's most conspicuous landmark.
Also of interest are the towers and walls, erected in the 16th and 17th centuries but later reconstructed; the Qol-Şarif mosque, which is already rebuilt inside the citadel; remains of the Saviour Monastery (its splendid 16th-century cathedral having been demolished by the Bolsheviks) with the Spasskaya Tower; and the Governor's House (1843–53), designed by Konstantin Thon, now the Palace of the President of Tatarstan.
Next door, the ornate baroque Sts-Peter-and-Paul's Cathedral on Qawi Nacmi Street and Marcani mosque on Qayum Nasiri Street date back to the 18th century.
Kazan now is one of the most developed city in Russia in terms of sport. The city hosts two World Championships in Field Hockey in 2005 and 2011, World Summer Universiade 2013, World Championship in fencing in 2014, Aquatics Championship FINA 2015 and other international competitions of various levels. City is a leader in terms of winnings in various sports including most popular teams sports.
Nizhny Novgorod colloquially shortened to Nizhny, is a city and the administrative center of Nizhny Novgorod Oblast Russia. From 1932 to 1990, it was known as Gorky, after the writer Maxim Gorky, who was born there. The city is an important economic, transportation and cultural center in Russia and the vast Volga-Vyatka economic region, and is the main center of river tourism in Russia.
Originally the name was just Novgorod ("Newtown"), but to distinguish it from the other, older and well-known Novgorod to the north, the city was commonly called "Novgorod of the Lower lands". This land was named "lower" because it is situated downstream, especially from the point of view of other Russian cities such as Moscow, Vladimir and Murom. Later it was transformed into the contemporary name of the city that literally means "Lower Newtown".
Nizhny Novgorod is an important center of Volga cargo and passenger shipping. During summer, cruise vessels operate between Nizhny Novgorod, Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and Astrakhan.
Much of the city downtown is built in the Russian Revival and Stalin Empire styles. The dominating feature of the city skyline is the grand Kremlin (1500–1511), with its red-brick towers. After Bolshevik devastation, the only ancient edifice left within the kremlin walls is the tent-like Archangel Cathedral (1624–31), first built in stone in the 13th century.
There are more than six hundred unique historic, architectural, and cultural monuments in the city. There are about two hundred municipal and regional art and cultural institutions within Nizhny Novgorod. Among these institutions there are eight theaters, five concert halls, ninety-seven libraries (with branches), seventeen movie theaters (including five movie theaters for children), twenty-five institutions of children optional education, eight museums (sixteen including branches), and seven parks.
Some matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ will be played at the proposed Nizhny Novgorod Stadium - on an island in the Volga river.
Samara is the sixth largest city in Russia and the administrative center of Samara Oblast. It is situated in the southeastern part of European Russia at the confluence of the Volga and Samara Rivers on the east bank of the Volga. The Volga acts as the city's western boundary; across the river are the Zhiguli Mountains, after which the local beer (Zhigulyovskoye) is named.
Formerly a closed city, Samara is now a large and important social, political, economic, industrial, and cultural centre in European Russia. Samara's riverfront is considered one of the favourite recreation places both for local citizens and tourists.
Samara has an opera and ballet theater, a philharmonic orchestra hall, and five drama theaters. There is a museum of natural history and local history studies, a city art museum, and a number of movie theaters. As a dedication to the city's contribution to the development of aerospace industry there is a museum Cosmic Samara and an exhibition of aerospace history in Samara State Aerospace University. In the 2000s there has also occurred a large number of art galleries, dedicated to contemporary art. There is a zoo and a circus in the city.
Samara is also a popular venue for National and International Ice speedway, and the City won the Russian Ice Speedway Premier League in 2012/13 season.
Samara is one of eleven cities hosting the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ with 6 matches (4 Group Stage Matches, 1 Round-Of-16 Match, 1 Quarter-Finals) which will take place in the newly built stadium.
Saransk is the capital city of the Republic of Mordovia, Russia, as well as its financial and economic center. It is located in the Volga basin at the confluence of the Saranka and Insar Rivers.
The current name, "Saransk", refers to the city's situation on the Saranka river.
The Saransk Regional Museum is dedicated primarily to the history of the city, while the Mordovian Museum of Visual Arts has an excellent collection of works by Russian masters Stepan Erzia and Fedot Sychkov.
The city has a large number of buildings remaining from the 17th and 18th centuries; however, many parts of the town are dominated by Soviet era apartment blocks, dating mainly from the 1960s, similar to other provincial towns which expanded rapidly due to fast industrialization. These buildings are nearing the end of their service life and are in need of serious repair and, in many cases, replacement. Industrial enterprises are mainly located to the north of the town center. The eastern part of Saransk, located east of the Insar River, is Posop. An interesting detail is the Soviet era military base, belonging to the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, which is located along the railway lines and serves of a time when Saransk was, effectively, a closed city. Another city landmark is the Saransk TV Tower — a 180-meter-tall guyed tubular steel mast built in 1961.
Rostov-on-Don is a port city and the administrative center of Rostov Oblast and the Southern Federal District of Russia. It lies in the southeastern part of the East European Plain on the Don River.
Rostov's favorable geographical position at trading crossroads promotes economic development. The Don River is a major shipping lane connecting southwestern Russia with the north. Rostov-on-Don is a trading port for Russian, Italian, Greek and Turkish merchants selling, for example, wool, wheat and oil. It is also an important river port for passengers. Some refer to it as the "gateway to the Caucasus".
The most conspicuous architectural feature of the central part of the city is the Cathedral of Virgin's Nativity (1860–1887), designed by Konstantin Thon. Other facilities include seven stadiums, a Palace of Sports, a circus, a zoo botanical gardens and parks. Rostov-on-Don hosts the North Caucasian Science Center and research institutes. The city is also home to a Starbucks coffee chain, a true rarity in this geographical area of Russia.
Rostov-on-Don is one of the host cities for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™. A huge development is planned on the left bank of the Don River, which includes a soccer stadium to host the games during the championship.
Sochi is a city in Krasnodar Krai, Russia, located on the Black Sea coast near the border between Georgia/Abkhazia and Russia. Russia's largest resort city.
Greater Sochi is elongated along the Black Sea coast for 145 kilometers. Being part of the Caucasian Riviera, it is one of the very few places in Russia with a subtropical climate, with warm to hot summers and mild winters.
Sochi is unique among larger Russian cities as having some aspects of a subtropical resort. Apart from the scenic Caucasus Mountains, pebble and sand beaches, the city attracts vacation-goers with its subtropical vegetation, numerous parks, monuments, and extravagant Stalinist architecture. About two million people visit Greater Sochi each summer, when the city is home to the annual film festival "Kinotavr" and a getaway for Russia's elite.
Sochi is also known for its sport facilities: a local tennis school spawned the careers of such notable players as Grand Slam champions Maria Sharapova and Yevgeny Kafelnikov (Kafelnikov spent much of his childhood here, while Sharapova relocated to Florida at the age of seven). In late 2005, the Russian Football Union announced that it was planning to establish a year-round training center for the country's national teams in Sochi. The city's warm climate was cited as one of the main incentives. Sochi is also the home for the football team FC Zhemchuzhina which plays in the Russian First Division and for the ice hockey team HC Sochi which plays in the Kontinental Hockey League.
With the alpine and Nordic events held at the nearby ski resort of Roza Khutor in Krasnaya Polyana, Sochi hosted the XXII Olympic Winter Games and XI Paralympic Winter Games in 2014, as well as the Russian Formula 1 Grand Prix from 2014 until at least 2020.
Ekaterinburg, alternatively romanized as Ekaterinburg, is the fourth-largest city in Russia and the administrative center of Sverdlovsk Oblast, located in the middle of the Eurasian continent, on the border of Europe and Asia. Ekaterinburg is the main industrial and cultural center of the Ural Federal District.
A number of popular Russian rock bands, such as Urfin Dzhyus, Chaif, Chicherina, Nautilus Pompilius, Nastya, Trek, Agata Kristi and Smyslovye Gallyutsinatsii, were originally formed in Ekaterinburg (Ural Rock is often considered as a particular variety of rock music. The "Vysotsky" is the tallest skyscraper in Russia outside of Moscow.
The city is also one of the 11 Host Cities that will receive matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™. The matches will be played on the upgraded Central Stadium.