World Cup 2018: What to see in Russia’s host cities for Nigeria’s matches
Nigeria is considered by Russia as ‘immigration risk’ country with strict measures in place for Nigerians traveling to Russia but the case has not been the same for fans traveling for the World Cup.
Nigerians, as any other participating country in the World Cup, enjoyed simplified travel procedures to Russia and this is an opportunity for fans to see some of the beautiful attractions in the country while enjoying the games.
Jetsanza.com lists recommended attractions in the host cities for the Nigeria’s matches.
Croatia v Nigeria, 16 June
Formely the capital of Prussia, Konigsberg (“King’s mountain”) later flattened in the Second World War. During the Potsdam Conference, Stalin procured the city as the westernmost outpost of the USSR. Even though it was hundreds of miles from Russia, the area became part of the world’s biggest country – and was rebranded as Kaliningrad, with the German-speaking population forcibly removed.
The major attraction in Kaliningrad is the grand cathedral, re-built with the help of German donations. Look out for the statue of Immanuel Kant, the philosopher who believed perpetual peace could be secured through universal democracy and international cooperation.
Nigeria v Iceland, 22 June
Formerly Stalingrad, Volgograd is on the western bank of the Volga River. It was the site of WWII’s Battle of Stalingrad, commemorated by a huge statue, The Motherland Calls, part of the hilltop Mamayev Kurgan memorial complex.
Known as Hill 102, Mamaev Kurgan changed hands many times during the biggest confrontation in the Second World War: the Battle of Stalingrad, in which the Soviet Union fought Germany to a standstill in 1942-43, with the loss of thousands of Red Army and German lives. The hill, which is now the site of a memorial complex, stands above the brand-new stadium – which, according to Fifa, “embodies aspects of a Victory Day firework display”.
After the tournament, the ground will become home to FC Rotor, formally known as Tractor Stalingrad.
Nigeria v Argentina, 26 June
The former Russian capital is the greatest urban creation of all time, coaxed into existence by Peter the Great – now entombed in the Peter and Paul Cathedral, alongside the murdered family of the last tsar. And the Hermitage is arguably the finest art gallery in the world, both in terms of its location, in a string of former palaces, and houses Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Picasso and others.