As England prepare to play France in their first Euro 2012 match at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk, we look at the eight cities that play host to the matches and teams. The selection of Poland and Ukraine as hosts may have been a controversial one due to crowd troubles that have taken place in these countries over the past few years. However, there is nothing controversial about the cities themselves, as they are all wonderful places to visit.
Donetsk is widely famous for being the cleanest city in Eastern Europe. There are five different rivers that run through the city, which make it a very beautiful place to visit and live in. There are some lovely architectural examples all throughout the city. Pushkin Boulevard is probably the most beautiful road you will walk on in all of Europe. It is full of wonderful buildings, restaurants, cafes, and other sightseeing opportunities. The Donbass Arena, home of FC Shakhtar Donetsk, has been renovated for these championships.
Gdansk (previously known as Danzig) is famous for the many different types of people who have ruled it. The city has been around since 700 A.D., giving it a long and storied history. It was one of the famous city states in Europe that survived all on its own. This self-sufficiency is something that the citizens of Gdansk are still proud of. The PGE Arena, home of Lechia Gdansk, will play host to matches at the tournament.
Kharkiv was long thought of as the heart of Ukraine and its main city. That was, until Kiev came along. Kharkiv is located in the main agricultural part of Ukraine, making it a hub for farmers and businesses as well. Kharkiv is also known for its engineering prowess and various factories. While it may be a very practical city, there are also some wonderful pieces of history worth seeing. The Metalist Stadium, home to FC Metalist Kharkiv, will host games.
Kiev is the capital and the most famous city in all of Ukraine. Around 2.5 million people live in this city that was named after its founder, Kyi. There are said to be 100 museums and 40 libraries in Kiev, making it a historian’s paradise. Kiev is the cultural hub of Eastern Europe. Olimpiyskiy (Olympic Stadium) is the ground that will host games. This is the largest stadium in Ukraine and is home to both their national football team and their most famous club side, Dynamo Kiev. In fact, Dynamo Kiev are responsible for sending 11 players to the tournament, the joint most along with Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Lviv is the more cosmopolitan city on this list; people here are fashionable but relaxed. Coffee shops and bars are very commonly seen throughout the city. Famous poet Taras Shevchenko resided here. Arena Lviv has been specially created for these championships, and will be a spectacular stadium for teams to play in.
This is one of the oldest cities that exists in Poland. It was the center of many Polish Kingdoms, which is why some of the most famous kings are buried in the city. There are some truly mind blowing streets and wonderful architecture to behold in Poznan. There are plenty of bars and pubs for people who want to grab a few beers before heading to matches. Stadion Miejski, home of Lech Poznan, will play host to games.
Warsaw is the capital of Poland and home to around 1.5 million people. This city is something of an emerging political power. There are around 200,000 businesses as well as the Warsaw Stock Exchange. In addition to this, there are plenty of historical landmarks that fans will want to go see. The Royal Castle, built in 1791, classifies as one of these landmarks. Stadion Narodowy (National Stadium) will host games and is also the home ground for the Polish national team.
Wroclaw was part of the land of Bohemia in the 16th century, which is what it is most famous for. The Rynek, an intricate system of buildings and sights, is one of the most exciting parts of visiting Wroclaw. There are some wonderful art galleries, as well as political buildings, in that area. Stadion Miejski Wroclaw, home of Slask Wroclaw, is where games will be held in this city.
By Julie Bowman