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Russia 2018: focus on Saransk Published on 18/04/2017

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Saransk is the capital of the autonomous Republic of Mordovia within the Russian Federation. The local population is a small ethnicity of “Mordva” who have their own language and culture.



Situated just 500 km away from Moscow, Saransk is just an hour-long flight from the Russian capital.

However, today it is still somewhat complicated to reach the capital of Mordovia. There is an airport in the city, but the runway is so small that there is no way for your familiar Airbus A320 to land.

This is why at the moment the airport is undergoing a reconstruction in order to improve the runway and adjust it for bigger planes which will definitely be arriving in Saransk in the course of the FIFA World Cup 2018.

Therefore, the only way to reach the place today is the night train that offers you a 9-hour trip from Moscow to Saransk. A regular car of such train consists of nine compartments with four berths each, two lower and two upper ones. If you happen to get a superior class ticket, you will be offered a complimentary hot meal in the evening straight after the departure. Taking a night train is definitely an authentic and unforgettable Russian experience that you could proudly tell all your friends about.



The population of the Mordovian capital is 300 000 inhabitants, some of them living in apartments, others in private houses.

What makes Saransk so charming through the eyes of a stranger is its authenticity. Quite often, in the middle of the town, you would be walking along regular asphalt sidewalks, and then, all of a sudden, after crossing the street, you will find yourself in a completely different neighbourhood, surrounded by small “izba” (typical Russian-style house) on a very narrow snowy path way too small even for two pedestrians to walk together.



Over the past several years, Saransk has become an important sports center of the country.

In the capital of Mordovia, there is an Olympic reserve Athletics sports school, a biathlon training center, an ice hockey and figure skating arena, and of course the football stadium (Mordovia Stadium). During my short stay in town, Saransk hosted the International Figure Skating Grand-Prix, as well as the Youth Biathlon Cup of Russia.



Today Saransk offers a wide variety of hotels. You will face a choice from the simplest ones, with their Spartan conditions for athletes, passing through some average 3* hotels with their Soviet-style decoration, and until some upper-scale 4* properties providing a range of additional services.

However, the number of upper class hotels in Saransk is quite limited which is why some international chains made a decision to add some new 4* and 5* hotels currently under construction, in order to smoothly host the FIFA World Cup 2018.

All in all, despite certain issues, the administration and the population of Saransk are making a considerable effort to improve the city and be entirely ready for the FIFA World Cup 2018 !

Olga, VPI representative in Russia.


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