Kazan for Football Fans
Get closer to the history of the big sport
For a die-hard football fan, your trip to Kazan will most likely begin with an acquaintance with the local football club “Rubin” – Russia’s two-time champion, a member of the Union of European Football and the Champions League. The team celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. Many deciding and drama-filled “Rubin” matches have taken place at the “Centralny Stadion” (“Central Stadium”), which is located directly opposite the Kremlin. The arena was opened in 1960, and was repeatedly reconstructed and modernized. Now, "Centralny" is a stadium of the fourth (highest) category of UEFA, which seats over 25 thousand spectators, and is the host of Russian Premier League games, and serves as a place of training for athletes and young players.
Near the stadium, you’ll also find the “Dvorets Sporta” (“Palace of Sports” in Russian or the “Sport Saray” - “Sports Shed” in Tatar) - a complex with an ice arena, a hall, training grounds and a press centre. The “Palace” is over 50 years old, and its walls literally contain its history – it currently houses the Museum of Sports of the Republic of Tatarstan. The museum consists of two zones - the hall of history of sport and the hall of Olympic glory. There are over 11,000 original exhibits in the museum's collection: for example, goalkeeper gloves of hockey player and participant of the 17th Olympic Games in Lillehammer Sergei Abramov, as well as an entire showcase dedicated to the honoured master of sports and six-time USSR champion and winner of the UEFA Super Cup Viktor Kolotov - he played for Rubin almost 50 years ago. To visit the museum, make sure you book a time to come and see everything: +7 (843) 292-26-83.
Score a goal and rate Tatar fast food
If you come with friends who want to play football or just have a good time, you must know: next to the “Palace of Sports” is the “Kazan Central Department Store” with various sports shops. Buy a ball and go to Gorky Park, beloved by the locals with a real forest, street simulators, a stadium, a big green lawn and a football mini-court, available for rent. After an afternoon of training, grab a tasty Tatar pastry snack - echpochmak or elesh at the first national fast food booth “Tubetey” at the stadium or order a drink in the park coffee shop “Uragan-Saray”.
Go backstage at the “Kazan Arena” stadium
The football stadium of the highest UEFA category, designed for 45 thousand spectators, was built on the eve of the World Summer Universiade in 2013. In 2015, Kazan Arena hosted the FINA World Championships in Water Sports, in 2017 - the Confederation Cup, and this year, the stadium eagerly awaits its turn to host the FIFA World Cup matches.
Kazan Arena proudly shows off Europe’s largest digital screen facade, while inside the building, in addition to the stadium itself, many other places of interest can be found. For example, the official Harley-Davidson dealer centre, the city's first squash court as well as the KidSpace children's town. On the days when Kazan Arena is free of any major matches, group tours of the stadium can be arranged - simply book your visit through beforehand. Over the course of an hour, tourists will visit VIP-boxes, locker rooms, and learn about everything that goes on “backstage” of the arena.
Watch the match broadcasts outdoors
The “Kazan” Family Centre is one of the newest landmarks of the city, from which you can enjoy a panoramic view of Kazanka River and the Kremlin skyline. During the FIFA World Cup, a FIFA fan festival will take place outside, in front of this building. This will be the best place (second-best to the stadium, of course) to watch matches - where the big screens will show live broadcasts of the games. A large interactive entertainment program with concerts will take place for fans here. For a complete schedule of events timed with the World Cup, see the official website of the host city. Entrance to the festival is free.
Discuss football over a pint of craft beer
If you want to watch the matches broadcast from the comfort of a local pub, head on over to the centre of Kazan. On your way from the Kremlin towards “Tukay Square”, one of the first places you’re likely to come across will be the Top Hop Bar. In the menu you’ll find a great selection of craft beer and snacks to go with it. You will be advised about how the smoked imperial stout is different from the Indian light ale, and which one will go best with your red potato burger served with beer marmalade. Note: football matches are broadcast without sound.
Further along the route, there is another restaurant and sports bar: Twin Peaks, with a hunting lodge-type interior. Expect American cuisine, large portions and a lot of screens for watching matches – so many in fact that you will notice even the smallest violations of players, unless, of course, you are distracted by the waitresses.
One of the oldest beer restaurants in Kazan is the Beerhouse on Astronomicheskaya Street which will also be broadcasting football matches. The interior is created in the spirit of the European Middle Ages, and the menu is mainly German cuisine, Bavarian sausages and a must-try dish: the pork leg stewed in beer.
The theme of the Middle Ages, in its own way, continues at the Czech restaurant "Chernovar" on Profsoyuznaya Street. It's known for its live music, theme parties and sports broadcasts. The rustic style of the old Czech Republic and the national dishes set the right mood for get-togethers during the match weeks.
At the intersection of Ostrovsky and Universitetskaya Streets you’ll find one of the first Irish pubs in Kazan. “Dublin” is harmoniously decorated with fan attributes, and the menu features European cuisine and imported beer. The pub regularly broadcasts sports events and sometimes organizes live music evenings.
The sports restaurant “Base Winline” is located further than most other pubs and bars in an industrial building next to the “Suvar Plaza” shopping centre and Lake Kaban. Here you can place bets, watch the games on a big screen and be treated to a hearty meal. The menu of the restaurant is maximally adapted for watching football: try the shrimp in sweet and sour sauce, lightly salted salmon or their trademark bruschetta. The impressive design of the restaurant features motorcycles hanging over the bar stand, and a “parked” cabriolet on one of the walls.
Find time to escape from football
Football may be your all, but the Republic and its capital has many other things to offer if you do get to know it a little more closely. During your visit, be sure to visit the Republic’s main places of interest, discover “Tatar Atlantis”, enjoy dishes of national cuisine and just have fun. Before leaving, do not forget to buy a few designer souvenirs, and experience true bekhet*.
*”Bekhet” meaning “happiness” in translation from Tatar
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