World Cup 2018 City Guide: Saransk

Saransk at a glance:

Population: 297,514
Stadium: Mordovia Arena
Number of matches: 4

Peru – Denmark
Colombia – Japan
Iran – Portugal
Panama – Tunisia

Saransk is one of the biggest surprise?inclusions in the list; the city is quite small compared to most Russian cities and does not contain an elite football club, but PFL side Mordovia Saransk. It is the capital of the Republic of Mordovia and a much-loved city across?the nation for its natural beauty. The whole region is the home of the Finno-Ugric culture and contains a flux of ethnic groups including;? Finn, Hungarian, Estonia, Moksha and Erzya.

|

The World Cup Stadia

Mordovia Arena

Named after the Republic in which Saransk is the capital, the Arena on first glance looks not asimilar to either Bayern’s Allianz Arena or Spartak Moscow’s Otkrytie Arena. The design is based upon the sun, a key cultural symbol to Mordovian myth and legend.

With a capacity of 44,442 and just a ten-minute walk east of the city centre, the Mordovia Arena is a favourable ground for fans. In one of the first games held in the stadium, a match between Mordovia Saransk and Syzran-2003 in the PFL (Russian third tier) 41,000 spectators packed out the venue.

There are few fears that the ground would become a white elephant thanks to the passion and fandom of Mordovia fans, as well as the stadium itself being reduced to 28,000 after the World Cup. The space vacated by the reduction and demolition of temporary structures will allow for the building of indoor volleyball, basketball and tennis courts along with a large gymnasium.

The decision to build the stadium was actually taken before Russia’s bid to host the FIFA World Cup was even approved, and construction started way back in 2010. Numerous civic planning problems were also solved with the construction of the stadium, with a new park, embankment to the Insar River, and a large residential area surrounding the city all planned. The former two are expected to have been completed by the time the World Cup begins in earnest.

Photo: Igorkhait

Address: Mordovia Arena, Volgogradskaya ul. 1, Saransk, 430009.

|

Saransk’s History

Saransk’s origins lie as a fortress on the border of the Kingdom of Russia in the middle of the 17th Century. Thought to have been built by 1641, it was a key part of a fortified line of defences that ran from Belgorod to Simbirsk. The fortress was built by the Insar River, an inlet of the Saranka River, in which the fortress took its name; Saransky Otrozhek.

Cossacks were the first inhabitants of the fortress, however, the region is not known for a strong Cossack culture alike to Rostov in the Don basin. It was officially converted into an administrative centre of Saransk Uezd a decade later but didn’t reach town status until 1780 and still only housed 4,000 inhabitants by the end of the 17th Century.

Sovetskaya Square, the historical heart of the city and location of the FIFA World Cup fan fest during the tournament.

Over time, due to the expansion of the Russian Empire, the town morphed from a strategic military location into a trade hub; it sat right on the crossroads connecting Astrakhan to Moscow and Crimea to Kazan. Grain, wood, leather, meat and honey became staple produces thanks to the astounding level of hunting in the area.

Although the town never became an industrial centre, it was reinvigorated during the industrial revolution thanks to the Moscow-Kazan railway which ran through it. As a result,?the art school of K.A.Makarov (1828), a bank (1844), the first small power plant (1886), a paid public library (1893), and a free public library (1899) were opened in the town.

During the Russian Civil War, Saransk was one of the centres of formation of military units of the Red Army. The war led to hunger, unemployment, a drop in production, forcing a radical reconstruction in 1930.

It became the capital of the Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic of Mordovia in 1934, but the population was wrecked by war; 17,000 fought in World War Two and 8,000 died.

Economic recovery dominates the post-Soviet history of the city, with socio-economic development leading to a vast rise in employment and the geographic size of the city itself.

|

Football in Saransk

Before the last decade, very few people outside of Russia will ever have heard of Mordovia Saransk. The team performed an RB Leipzig-like meteoric rise through the league system but now have suffered just as quick and disastrous fall back down to the PFL.

Alike to Mordovia itself, the club is a little-celebrated team outside of the local area, and the latest iteration was only really “formed” in 2005 thanks to the merging of two local sides. However, they have existed for almost sixty years in earnest, first founded in 1961 at Stroitel Saransk.

In 2005, Lisma-Mordovia formed with Biokhimik-Mordovia to create Mordovia Saransk, and they first reached the FNL, then on 8 May 2012 defeated Shinnik Yaroslavl 2-0, clinching promotion into the Premier League for the first time in its history (even with a round to spare). The side suffered a tumultuous few years, yo-yo-ing directly between the RPL and FNL between 2013-15. However, at the end of the season before last, suffered two relegation’s in a row into the third tier once again, where they remain.

READ MORE:?A Mess Worth Making? – The Rise and Fall of Mordovia Saransk

Current CSKA and Sbornaya (Russia) defender Viktor Vasin is probably the most famous name to feature for the club in the modern period, along with current Crvena Zvezda (Red Star Belgrade) midfielder Damien Le Tallec.

READ MORE: Interview –?Damien Le Tallec and the Madhouse in Saransk

|

What to do in Saransk

Saransk is a very small city, especially compared to some of the metropolis’ farther north. However, it is very picturesque. The majority of the landmarks are within walking distance, as the city limits have a radius of roughly 5km.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Saransk is full of cultural and historical hot spots. The Cathedral of St. Fedor Ushakov on Sovetskaya Ulitsa. It is honoured to the patron saint of the city, an admiral who commanded the Black Sea fleet 1790-1792. The Museum of Fine Arts is also located nearby on Kommunisticheskaya Ulitsa, named after Soviet artist S.D. Erzya.

Around the corner from the cathedral on Sbornaya Square is a massive shopping centre littered with shops, bars and restaurants. Saransk’s city centre is also littered with bars leading all the way to the stadium, so there will be plenty of places for fans to celebrate.

Transport within the city is effective, if somewhat restricted. There is no metro but has a great bus and?marshrutka (taxi) service. RFN writer Andrew Flint visited a month ago and reported that this was not in operation between the city centre and the airport. However, it is expected to be in operation by the start of the competition proper.

The airport itself is also very small and has only just opened the international terminal at the start of May, so is somewhat of a bureaucratic nightmare. The new renovation, however, is glorious.

Saransk’s new International Airport

Saransk is a hidden gem in Russia and deserves a place in the limelight. Hopefully, the transport issues will be solved by next month, or the small infrastructure may suffer under the sheer weight of so many travelling fans.

Avatar

Author: James Nickels

Born and raised in South Shields, the direct mid-point between Sunderland and Newcastle in North-East England during an era of sustained success and European football for the Magpies, while the Black Cats floundered in the lower divisions, so naturally I decided to support Sunderland. I’ve developed an interest in Russian football over the last decade or so, but it piqued while studying for my Masters’ Degree in Russian and Soviet History, and I’ve been hooked by Spartak Moscow ever since. Considers Eduard Streltsov the best of his generation, and a fond proponent of his repatriation.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Nhà Cái Trực Tuyến Hàng Đầu Châu Á́́ sitemap bet365combet scr888login bet365 Slot V online bet365 soccer w88Thailnd happyluke
www.amazingnewstar.com| www.amazingnewstar.com| www.theautobluebook.com| www.polarisviprentals.com| www.az-sunnah.com| www.mlslasvegashomes.com| www.awesomehoodie.net| www.itsw88.com| www.bluewhaleonline.com| www.checkboyradio.com| www.cometopaisley.com| www.desiredirectory.com| www.365discountmeds.net| www.petcareconsultant.com| www.worldfxmarkets.com| www.fourwindshomes.com| www.hotelw88.com| www.jquery-quickzoom.com| www.laughingdragoncafe.com| www.truthofyoursoul.com| www.basecampmaricopa.com| www.hoteldelvallesj.com| www.w88center.com| www.orchardsweaters.com| www.avcomprojecson.com| www.777w88.com| www.w88loto.org| www.calendari2014.com| www.kreativ-kids.net| www.lindaucapital.com| www.monclerssale.com| www.ronaldmacdonald.net| www.krishnawebworld.com| www.andrewheimann.com| www.myanmarrlhousing.net| www.bluewhaleonline.com| www.bonzailine.com| www.jayscheesesteak.net| www.w88loto.net| www.bjxiaofanggs.com| www.myhomeprotector.com| www.irantraveler.net|