Jericho journalist Alex Marrow travelled to Nizhny Novgorod in the build up to the tournament, asking how the city was gearing up to welcome England here on June 24:

Nizhny Novgorod stands at the convergence of two rivers, the Oka and the Volga. Founded in 1221 and bursting with history, this city is perfectly suited to hosting World Cup matches, and will give visiting fans plenty to explore.

The wavy mosaic facade of the 45,000 seater arena turns various shades of blue, in homage to the two rivers that slice through the city.

The Nizhny Novgorod kremlin in winter. Photo credit: Joe Barnes

In recent years, several bridges and a long cable car have made crossing the water far easier, reducing traffic and congestion. These infrastructure improvements, along with a new international airport should make travelling to and around Nizhny, as it is locally known, easy for travelling fans.

During the Soviet Union years, Nizhny was closed to foreigners due to its armament factories, and renamed after the writer Maxim Gorky, who was born there. He is one of many famous Russian figures to have lived and worked in Nizhny, a source of pride for local residents.

Fans will gather on the central pedestrian boulevard, a long, wide expanse of bars, restaurants and shops that spill out onto the street. Those looking to take a souvenir home, may be interested to know that the largest factory for painting Russian ‘matryoshka’ dolls is in the Nizhny Novgorod region.

Organisers will close the busy intersection at the end of this street to make way for a 15,000 capacity Fan Zone. From there, visitors can nip into Nizhny’s old, fortified Kremlin, which houses government buildings and a World War II monument.

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The Kremlin overlooks the rivers, affording lovely views of the stadium on the far side of the Oka. The walk from Fan Zone to stadium is about half an hour, down Russia’s longest staircase and along the banks of the river.

Organisers have ensured that Nizhny’s fan locations are all within walking distance, and as one of the most central host cities, it will be very accessible for any fans that come to visit.

Fan tip:

Most fans are expected to travel here from Moscow. It is relatively easy and cheap to travel from Moscow’s Kurskiy Station on the Lastochka high speed train. There are several of these trains daily, with trips taking around three and a half hours. Return tickets can be purchased for around RUB 2500 (EUR 35). For more information about train travel around Russia, please refer to Jericho’s main World Cup Homepage.

Read before coming:

The Lower Depths – Maxim Gorky (after whom the city was named during the Soviet period).

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