Guide to the 12 stadiums across Russia
Moscow, Jun 5 (AP) Russia's World Cup is spread across 12 stadiums in 11 host cities. They range from St. Petersburg, which is so far north that the sun doesn't set on some summer days, to Sochi and its subtropical climate on the Black Sea coast.
Here is a look at the stadiums:
Cost: USD 410 million for rebuild.
Built in the 1950s to showcase the sporting might of the Soviet Union, Luzhniki has been transformed to host the World Cup final.
The old stands were ripped out and the athletics track from the 1980 Olympics torn up as the stadium was converted into a football-specific venue.
Luzhniki reopened on Nov. 11 when Argentina beat Russia 1-0 in a friendly.
Cost: USD 250 million
Home of the 2017 Russian Premier League champion Spartak Moscow, this stadium opened in 2014 and is already well tested as a venue for Champions League and Confederations Cup games.
The towering statue of a gladiator outside is a nod to Spartak being named after the Roman slave rebel Spartacus.
It is the only World Cup stadium built without government money. Transport is relatively easy from central Moscow, though chronic traffic jams mean most fans prefer the subway.
ST. PETERSBURG STADIUM
City: St. Petersburg
Cost: USD 735 million
Almost everything that could go wrong did go wrong with the St. Petersburg stadium.
Severe delays and soaring costs were just the start for a project which became notorious for employing North Korean laborers, one of whom was among at least eight people to die on the stadium and 17 across all World Cup construction sites, according to the trade union Building and Wood Workers' International.
The spaceship-like arena - which will host a semifinal - remains plagued by a leaking roof and a pitch which had to be replaced repeatedly.
Confederations Cup games, however, passed largely without incident.
Cost: USD 400 million for initial construction, USD 68 millionto convert for football
While memories of the Sochi Olympics became dominated by Russia's doping scandals, one part of the legacy is still gleaming.
Fans are advised to book hotels near the Olympic Park because the main city of Sochi is an hour away.
Cost: USD 250 million
Opened in 2013 as the first of Russia's new generation of football stadiums and was used as the prototype for the other new arenas.
Cost: USD 310 million
This stadium in the Volga River city of Samara is ambitious but proved tricky to finish on time.
Its ambitious design - a glass dome evoking Samara's history as a center of the Russian space program - needed extra time to build but finally opened in April.
The stadium is on the outskirts of the city, so fans should allow plenty of time for travel to games.
NIZHNY NOVGOROD STADIUM
City: Nizhny Novgorod
Cost: USD 307 million
With a roof which seems to float atop white columns, the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium has one of Russia's more impressive designs and will host a quarterfinal.
It also offers fans views of the Oka and Volga rivers which meet in Nizhny Novgorod, a historic city.
Cost: USD 330 million
Sweltering summer temperatures could be a problem for teams coming to the southern Russian steppe to play group or last-16 games in Rostov-on-Don.
The stadium sits on the bank of the Don river and is planned to become the center of a vast new housing and leisure development after the World Cup.
Cost: USD 300 million
In the city once known as Stalingrad, every spot has wartime history, and the stadium is no different.
Workers during construction had to deal with finding unexploded munitions and soldiers' corpses from the Battle of Stalingrad. The stadium sits at the foot of Russia's best-known World War II memorial.
The location meant the stadium had to be designed with a low roof-line so as not to obscure views of "The Motherland Calls" sculpture.
Cost: USD 220 million for rebuild
Even before it opens, the stadium in the Ural mountain city of Yekaterinburg is famous for its unusual design.
In an attempt to keep costs down, the stadium has 12,000 temporary seats.
The seats are on vast towers of scaffolding stretching over the walls of the main stadium, which could make being in the top row a vertigo-inducing experience.
Human Rights Watch alleged that some workers were required to work in temperatures of minus-25 degrees Celsius, and weren't given enough breaks to stay warm.
Cost: USD 295 million
With a population of just 300,000, Saransk was a surprise choice as a host city.
Located 10 hours by road south-east of Moscow, it's by far the smallest of the 11 cities but hopes to make up for that with a warm welcome for foreigners at the biggest international event in the city's history.
Many fans won't be staying in hotels - Saransk simply doesn't have enough - but on campsites or in newly finished apartment blocks which will be sold after the tournament.
Cost: USD 300 million
Kaliningrad is the capital of a sliver of Russian land cut off from the rest of the country and sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania.
Until WWII, the city was part of Germany and called Koenigsberg. Officials are hoping its location and history make Kaliningrad an attractive destination for fans from other European countries.
The stadium is a compact, modest design which has been built quickly