Seven of Russia’s historical cities will be the pivot of attention when the World Cup 2018, that costs Russians USD$11.8 billion, starts in June. The cities – St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kazan, Ekaterinburg, Kaliningrad, Sochi, and Nizhny Novgorod – are also among Russia’s top ten tourist destinations. Here are some interesting and fun facts about these cities.

Moscow
• Official population is 12 million (2015), and it’s one of the 10 most populous cities in the world.
• Moscow gets its name from the river. “Moscow” meant “wet”, as Moscow was built on swamps.
• Largest number of billionaires in the world. According to Forbes, there are 84 billionaires in the city with the combined wealth of 367 billion dollars.

Saint Petersburg
• Famous for its white nights, which peak during May, June and July. It’s the time when the day is very long and the sun shines till the midnight and then rises at 3-4 at night.
• Saint Petersburg metro has one of the deepest subways in the world: some stations are so deep they go under the water.
• Has a hockey team, SKA and football team, Zenit.

Kazan
• 1,000 year heritage.
• Known as “the 3rd capital of the Russia”.
• Boasts the largest IT-park in Russia and also one of the largest in Eastern Europe.

Ekaterinburg
• Cold climate all year round and it is famous for its golden dome ‘Church on the Blood’.
• Named after Emperor Peter the Great’s wife Yekaterina who later became Catherine I after Emperor Peter the Great’s death.
• Also known as the “window to Asia”.

Kaliningrad
• Located between Poland and Lithuania along the Baltic Coast.
• Administratively part of the Russian Federation, was separated from the rest of Russia, by the then Soviet republics of Lithuania, Latvia and Belarus.
• It is the country’s only ice-free European port.

Sochi
• Hosted the most expensive winter Olympics in 2014. Russian government was said to have spent US$51 billion on Sochi 2014. And it took 7 years to prepare the seaside resort town for the games.

Nizhny Novgorod
• Large city on the Volga River in western Russia. From 1932 to 1990, it was known as Gorky after the writer Maxim Gorky, who was born there.
• Gorky Automobile Plant was constructed in this period.
• The city was given the nickname “Russian Detroit”.

Words by YY Chen

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