For many sports advocates, a favorite team arena could be a home away from home. With all it's beauty and grandeur, many arenas and stadiums are not only known in the field of athletics, but are also prominent icons of a city.
Some people are more at home with the gargantuan stadiums. Ones that hold 80,000 or more, this is all you. You live for the roar of the crowd and the sight of the masses.
Others on the other hand, would prefer the atmosphere of a smaller, more intimate facility. You can never feel too far away from the pitch in these stadiums.
Mostly every football fan is familiar with the Emirates Stadium, Stamford Bridge, Anfield or Old Trafford.
But what of a more distant league? The Russian Premier League, home to two of the past four UEFA Cup Champions.
Russians have a wide variety of stadiums in the league, ranging from several old vintage Soviet yards to ultra-modern facilities. But one thing is for certain, they lack nothing in grandeur.
The stadium featured is the Lizhniki Stadium in Moscow, which holds over 70,000. It is currently home to several Moscow clubs for now and also the Russian national team.
Stadium Name: Zvezda Stadium
Inaugural Season: 1969
Capacity: about 20,000
A crazy story in itself, Amkar has barely been a team for ten years. Founded by factory workers in 1993, the club reached a professional level in two years.
After a record of 34 wins, two ties and one loss in 1998, Zvezda Stadium became their new home. An archaic stadium in most definitions, Zvezda does have a new artificial surface.
Stadium Name: New CSKA Stadium (In Construction)
Inaugural Season: 2010
Capacity: Listed at 30,000
CSKA currently play at the old Lizhniki National Stadium, but are building a beautiful new facility on Peschanaya Street. Built to the highest possible standards, CSKA will truly have a jewel once the arena is completed.
It will be complete with a tower (vaguely seen in the background) of the UEFA Cup trophy won by the Army several years ago.
Stadium Name: Dynamo Stadium
Inaugural Season: 1928
One of the oldest remaining facilities in use in the league, it has a comforting old-time feel to it. Bounding with history, Dynamo Stadium has withstood the test of time. Much like an old baseball field like Fenway Park or Wrigley Field, Dynamo Stadium carries that same feel.
However, a new stadium for Dynamo began construction earlier this year, but as a monument to the city, the old Dynamo Stadium will stand nearly the same. Those walls are hallowed ground.
Stadium Name: Stadion Spartak (In Construction
Inaugural Season: 2009
This Yahoo! video should about tell the story of this stadium. Complete with Spartak's catchy tune, this new stadium is state of the art indeed. But what we do know, is whatever CSKA does, Spartak will try to do better.
The archrivals CSKA and Spartak still share the Luzhniki Stadium for now.
Stadium Name: Petrovsky Stadium
Inaugural Season: 1924
A relic of the old Leningrad days if I ever saw one. The complex on Petrovsky Island has the perfect location for a match.
In its days, Petrovsky has hosted about every possible type of event from athletics to concerts. It has been renovated on several occasions, namely in the early 1960s when the capacity was increased to 33,000.
Now back to normal, the Petrovsky is in it's last season as the home of Zenit.
Zenit's home until 2007 had been the old Kirov Stadium up the river, but that was demolished in order to build the new stadium.
Stadium Name: Gazprom Arena
Inaugural Season: 2009 or 2010
The Spaceship will indeed be a major improvement for Zenit. Now under the ownership of Gazprom, Zenit has become one of, if not the most premier club in Russia. A spectacle to be seen, the Gazprom Arena will have a retractable roof and a retractable field.
A Russian winter in St. Petersburg would require no less.
Additional images can be found here: http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=459203
Stadium Name: Trud Stadium
Inaugural Season: 1957 (with major renovations in 2005)
Tomsk has been a growing football club for a number of years now. In the early 1990s, this club was struggling in the Second Division. But management made a commitment to get them out of the basement, and now they are playing in the Premier League.
Trud Stadium was greatly renovated in 2005, complete with a subterranean heating system (because they play in Siberia), new player lockers and most importantly, new bathrooms.
Stadium Name: Lokomotiv Stadion
Inaugural Season: 2002
Often the most overlooked of the Moscow clubs, Lokomotiv got this right for sure. With it's new renovations in 2002, Lokomotiv Stadion looks brand spankin' new.
A very comfortable arena where no seat seems far from the pitch, even when you're as far up as you can go.
Stadium Name: Kuban Stadium
Inaugural Season: 1960
Finally promoted back to the Premier League in 2009, the kubantsy have always been tremendous supporters. For a smaller city, Krasnodar consistently fills the Kuban to capacity, with assistance of several lucrative promotions.
"Together with the team" has helped make Kuban one of the most popular clubs in the league.
Stadium Name: Central Stadium
Inaugural Season: 1960
The stadium in the ground is home to the defending Russian champions. Kazan won their first title last year and are slated to compete in the UEFA Cup in 2009-'10.
Despite being an older facility, it doesn't lack the atmosphere on game days.
Stadium Name: Saturn Stadium
Inaugural Season: 1999
The aliens stadium is somewhat hidden away in Ramenskoe, and it is one of the smaller arenas in the Premier League. Defined by it's extremely steeping seats, you'll never be far from the action.
The club was known as Krylya Sovetov when it was founded.
Stadium Name: Olimp-2
Inaugural Season: 1930
Rostselmash has had some turbulent times of late. Nicknamed "Olimp", short for Olympus, was reduced in size in 2006 to it's smallest capacity since it's early days. The entire stadium is now under reconstruction, and by the end, it will hold around 30,000 again.
A new grandstand is being put in as well.