There have been several significant developments across the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Host Cities: Sochi's surge in popularity, St. Petersburg’s recognition as the tourism capital of Europe, new Host City ambassadors and a recently opened transport service in Moscow. FIFA.com brings you last month's news highlights from the cities preparing to host Russia 2018.
One of the most highly anticipated infrastructure projects of the autumn was opened at the start of September in Moscow. The Moscow Central Ring is a new railway transport network that comprises 31 stations and encircles the whole city. The high-speed electric trains connect the most far-flung districts of the Russian capital and allow passengers to quickly and directly reach sports venues.
For example, a stop on the service has been opened right next to the Luzhniki Stadium where the Opening Match and Final of Russia 2018 will take place. It takes just 30 minutes to travel from here to another important footballing venue in the city, CSKA Moscow's brand new home, which was also opened at the beginning of September. During the World Cup, Arena CSKA will serve as a pre-match training site for competing teams.
Furthermore, it will soon be possible to go on sightseeing tours on the Moscow Central Ring, during which passengers will learn about the history of the city and some of its main attractions. In this way, moving from one spot to another will not only be fast but interesting as well.
St. Petersburg – Europe's capital of tourism
Two other Russian cities preparing to put on matches at the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 and Russia 2018 set important tourism records last month. First mention goes to St. Petersburg, a place that has always been considered one of the most popular destinations in Russia. At the beginning of September, the country's northern capital received official confirmation of this when it won the most prestigious award in the tourism industry, the World Travel Awards, beating cities like Barcelona, Amsterdam, London, Paris and Istanbul to the accolade.
Sochi was also celebrating an equally important achievement in tourism, with over three million people visiting the seaside resort this summer, the city's best result in the last 25 years.
Kazan and Rostov choose new ambassadors for Russia 2018
Rubin Kazan goalkeeper and two-time Russian Premier League champion Sergey Ryzhikov was appointed as ambassador for Kazan, one of the Host Cities of Russia 2018. He accepted the position at a special ceremony on 30 August, when the Tatarstan capital celebrated its City Day.
“It's a huge honour for me to be a World Cup ambassador,” the former Russia goalkeeper announced. “I'm sure the Confederations Cup and World Cup will be unforgettable events in the life of our city.”
Ryzhikov joins a team of ambassadors that includes actress Ekaterina Skulkina, singer Elmira Kalimullina, water polo player Irek Zinnurov and fellow footballer Elmir Nabiullin.
Another Russia 2018 Host City, Rostov-on-Don, also unveiled their latest World Cup ambassador during City Day celebrations as famous Russian rap artist and producer Basta was nominated to the role.