Luzhniki Stadium blossoms as it prepares for a new chapter

Luzhniki Stadium, the venue hosting the opening and final matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, looks all but ready for next year's footballing extravaganza. One thing is certain, though: anyone who has visited the stadium before will notice just how much the legendary arena, which enjoyed its 60th anniversary last year, has been improved. As the 2018 World Cup nears, the stadium begins a new life.

The main construction work at the new arena is complete, virtually all of the seating has been installed, and the finishing touches are now being made to the venue's interior.

The grass on the Luzhniki pitch, sown in August 2016, has survived the harsh Moscow winter. Lit and heated by special lamps that provide an alternative to natural light, they create the necessary conditions for the pitch to grow and be maintained around the clock. Moving around on special wheels, the enormous structures are able to bathe virtually the entire pitch in light and warmth.

Luzhniki's stands will soon come alive, too. They've been brought as close as possible to the football pitch and modified, meaning their incline is lower-pitched. Crowd capacity has been raised from 78,000 to 81,000 as well.

After reconstruction, the arena's roof will be turned into a giant screen to broadcast the matches.

“We will continue our improvement works in April,” said Moscow deputy mayor Marat Khusnullin, who is responsible for construction and urban policy matters. “In the future, we will need to put up temporary structures around the complex that are needed to host the World Cup: media areas, fan zones, VIP zones and places to unload multimedia equipment.”

Further improvements to the Luzhniki Olympic Complex are also planned. Much of the development, including on the embankment area, was completed last year. The remaining work will begin shortly.