England are on their way to Samara - you can find our guide to the sixth largest city in Russia in Free Lions 161 here and in our England Fans' Guide to Russia. Here Goal.com journalist Nizaar Kinsella, who's been based their for the duration of the tournament, tells us about its charms...
Welcome to Samara England fans! I'm sure you'll have lots of fun in the city that was once closed to the West.
I have been based out in Samara for more than 20 days since the World Cup started, to cover all teams, not just England for Goal.com, and the city obsessed by space has been easy to get to like.
Samara, or Kuybyshev as it was known from 1935 to 1991 during the Soviet-era, is a place of rich history.
Stalin’s Bunker is a popular attraction, his hide out during the Second World War, as the government was evacuated to the Volga River protected city as they fought the Nazis near Moscow.
The Volga itself is a river that you can swim in, take boats on or just sit on the city’s embankment to enjoy the baking hot heat of the summer in this lesser known city.
The House Museum of Vladimir Lenin and the Space Museum are worth a visit. The Space Museum has a real rocket attached to it and is shows off the region’s contribution to the space race.
The Zhiguli mountains are an option by boat for any fan who wants a more remote spot to visit, but the nightlife might be of more interest to most.
For beer drinkers, this is the place to be in Russia with Zhigulevsk Brewery being a historic location to drink both cheaply, while also the quality remains high. A walk along either the Embankment or Kuybysheva street will ensure you see the best of the nightlife that the city has to offer.
At the end of Kuybysheva is Puri, a Georgian restaurant of outstanding quality. There’s also a Russian restaurant called Kipyatok which is down Leningradskaya, a pedestrianised walkway that has plenty of nightlife and other spots to eat.
Kuibyshev Square and Glory Square are the best spots for photos, with the latter hosting the fan park in the city. As you will know from the rest of Russia, the people here are friendly and welcoming, but just keep Google Translate at the ready!
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Thanks to Alexandr Zykov for the image used in this blog. Reproduced here under Creative Commons license.