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日本, 〒270-0222 千葉県野田市木間ケ瀬5653 ユー・エス・エス東京会場


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  • World Cup 2018: We've Got Just The Deets For Your Trip To Russia This Season Part 2

    Alright! So this is Part 2 of the Muslim Travel Guide to Russia. If you haven't seen the World Cup 2018: We've Got Just The Deets For Your Trip To Russia This Season Part 1 article, go check it out now! Then come back! 6. Rostov-on-Don Picture Credit: Rostov-on-don Guide 2018 What You Need To Know Rostov-on-Don is slightly warmer than the other cities so sunscreen, sunglasses and hats are advisable.  Sights To See Picture Credit: Pinterest H2O Aquapark is the biggest water park in the city and is definitely great value for money. In addition to pools and slides, they also have a spa area where you can have a fancy ethnic bath – Russian, Roman, Turkish, Austrian, Scandinavian, salt bath, and many more – as well as cafés to take a breather and get a shot of caffeine. KidBurg allows children a peek into the life of an adult by letting them try different professions all in one area. It piques their interest, gives them responsibility and lets them play at real life. They will be occupied for hours here! Don River rafting is a beautiful way to see the city and life around its banks as well as put those arms to work. There are a dozen rafting routes to choose from, the standard one taking 5 days. Before the journey, travellers will be assisted in picking their equipment and gear. Schepkinsky Forest is best explored on bicycle. It has a peaceful setting that lets you be one with nature, and if you’re lucky, you might spot some wildlife like wild ducks, pheasants, hares, foxes and wild boars.  Halal Food Country Chicken Picture Credit - Euro Gunzel Note that this restaurant seves beer. Cuisine: Fast food, burgers, chicken, wrapsAddress:Prospekt Siversa, 1А, Rostov, Rostovskaya oblast', Russia, 344082Operating Hours: 8AM to 10PM (Everyday)Contact: +7 918 513-51-35 Prayer Facilities Rostov-on-don Cathedral Mosque Picture Credit: Russia For Me Address: Russia, Rostov-on-Don, Furmanovskaya Ulitsa, 131Contact: 8(863)264-05-20, 8 (863) 264-31-11Website: Transportation Picture Credit: Railway Gazette Cabs, buses, marshrutkas and trolleybuses can take you from the airport around town, while buses and marshrutkas are your best bet around the city, the tram and trolleybus might be a cheaper option. You can also use the electric train to get about as it covers the entire city including the suburbs, with the exception of the northern side. 7. Kazan What You Need To Know Kazan is no stranger to international sports. The city has hosted four different international sporting events prior to FIFA. It is the perfect multi-ethnic pot housing Muslims, Christians and Jews in harmony. This compatibility attracts tourists to all the festivals celebrated here as the happiest city in Russia. Sights To See Kazan Kremlin is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a symbol of the city. Built in the 16th century on the ruins of a fortress, it houses the Kul Sharif mosque as well as the Christian Orthodox Annunciation Cathedral nearby. Immerse yourself in history taking in the Taynitskaya Towers, Museum of Islamic Cultural, the Governor’s and Artillery Courtyards, and the remains of the khan palace, mosque and tombs of the Kazan khans. The Kremlin also offers spectacular views of the rivers Volga and Kazanka. The Kul Sharif Mosque requires a visit in itself. Burnt to the ground in 1552, the new structure took eight years to build – from 1997 to 2005. It has a stunning structure and the monsque shows an insight into Islamic architecture. Not just a place to pray, the mosque also houses the Islamic Culture Museum. The Islamic Cultural Museum features the Islamic religion, going back more than 1000 years ago. Visitors are educated about the religion and women’s struggles in the area. Visitors are allowed to interact with the Holy Qur’an – especially the self-flipping one – which gives them more insight into the sacred text, and can see versions of the manuscript as well. Another place you should visit is the Suyumbike Tower. The tower is as iconic to Kazan as the Eiffel Tower is to Paris or the Tower of London. Ideal for families with children, the Kazan Circus and the Forsazh Karting Centre are two places you should definitely visit. The Kazan Circus is not just a circus, it is also a school for children who want to learn circus acts. Four of its alumni participate in Cirque du Soleil which speaks for itself when it comes to standard.   Halal Food SofraKebab (aka Kebabso) Picture Credit: Kebab Sofra Cuisine: TurkishAddress: Ul. Chistopol, 61 A, / tel. 203-34-34               Ul. Bauman 51 TC GUM (3rd floor) / tel. 248-69-55               Ul.Prospekt Pobedy 91 Shopping Center Yuzhny (2nd floor) / tel. 248-69-56               Ul. Etc. Yamasheva, d. 97 TC "XL" (4th floor) / tel. 239-36-16Contact: 203-34-34, 89274777481 Website: Vkontakte | Instagram Pizza House Picture Credit: Pizza Kazan Address: Russia, Kazan, prospekt Ibragimova, 61Contact: +7 (843) 212-22-10 / +7 (843) 523-47-77Website: Vkontakte | Instagram Roll-House Picture Credit: Halal Eda Address: Russia, Kazan, Gvardeyskaya ulitsa, 42Tel: +7 (927) 039-10-59, +7 (843) 258-58-18Website: Vkontakte | Instagram SushiShok Picture Credit: Sushi Shok Address: Chistopolskaya ulitsa 55, Kazan, Republic of Tatarstan, Russia, 420124Operating Hours: 10AM to 11PM Vkontakte Chak-Chak Picture Credit: The Global Hobos Cuisine: Tatar family cafeAddress: Bauman St, 7/10, Kazan, Respublika Tatarstan, Russia, 420111Tel.: +7 843 292-51-41Operating hours: 9AM to 9PM Tatarskaya Usabda Picture Credit: Deborah Norman Soprano Cuisine: Tatar and European cuisineAddress: Russia, Republic of Tatarstan, Kazan, ul. Shigabutdin Mardjani, 8Tel.: +7 (987) 225-04-33Operating hours: 11AM to 12AMWebsite: Vkontakte | Facebook | Instagram Dom Tatarskoi Kulinarii Picture Credit: House Of Tatar Cooking Cuisine: TatarAddress: Bauman St, 31/12, Kazan, Respublika Tatarstan, Russia, 420111Opening Hours: 11AM to 11PMTel. : +7 (843) 292-70-70 / +7 (987) 297-77-29Website: Vkontakte | Instagram Prayer Facilities Qolşärif Mosque Picture Credit: Photo by Daniil Silantev on Unsplash Kazan is home to the most mosques in a Russian city so you don’t have a problem when looking for a place to pray. Qolşärif Mosque was one of the largest mosques in Russia and Europe at the time of its construction. Äcem Mosque, Anniversary Mosque, Bornay Mosque, Bulgar Mosque, Iske Tash Mosque, Märcani Mosque, Nurulla Mosque and Sultan Mosque making it nine prayer places in total. Transportation Picture Credit: Rusmania You can take the bus or Aeroexpress train from one of the finest airports in Europe, but note that the Aeroexpress timings are rather far apart. The bus is the most convenient way to travel as it covers the entire city, but trolleybuses, electric trains, commuter trains and the tram are also options. You can also take a riverboat to get about or simply for sightseeing purposes. Anytime other than a Sunday evening is better as it is most crowded at that time. 8. Ekaterinburg Picture Credit: Audley Travel What You Need To Know Also known as Yekaterinburg, the city is known to produce rain frequently so carry an umbrella. It is named one of twelve ideal cities by UNESCO which perfectly mirrors its natural treasure trove of oil, gas, gold mines, and Europe’s largest emerald deposit. Downtown Ekaterinburg is surrounded by woodland parks that turn into forests at the edge of the city. Sights To See Picture Credit: Welcome 2018 Mayakovsky Central Park of Culture and Leisure hosts concerts and cuisine festivals in the summer, and has a railway for children and amusement rides to keep them busy. The scenic beauty makes for a lovely picnic spot. Kharitonov Garden Kharitonov Garden is a beautiful place to take a walk and appreciate nature. A pond lies at the centre of the garden with an artificial island in the middle of the pond, a suspension bridge connecting the garden to the island. A great place to stroll and take pictures to fill your Instagram feed! Dzerzhinsky Club Building or Urals History and Archaeology Museum is worth a visit even if you are not a fan of history. What is most appealing is the spiral staircase inside the building with its vertical windows that is built anti-clockwise and makes for great pictures. In the centre of the staircase from the roof is a five-point star that can be seen if you look up while climbing. Halal Food Café Zam Zam Address: Ekaterinburg, Avenue of Cosmonauts, 102к1Opening Hours: 8AM to 11PM Café at the Ramazan Mosque Address: Dimitrova street, 15, Yekaterinburg, Sverdlovsk oblast, Russia, 620010Opening Hours: 10AM to 11PM Halal Café on the Minometchikov Address: Ulitsa Minometchikov, 1 korpus 1, Yekaterinburg, Sverdlovskaya oblast', Rossiya, 620050   Prayer Facilities Rahman Mosque Address: Prospekt Kosmonavtov, 182, Ekaterinburg, Sverdlovsk oblast, Russia, 620058 Mawlid Mosque Address: Voronezhskiy pereulok, 34, Yekaterinburg, Sverdlovsk oblast, Russia, 620146 Ramadan Mosque Address: Dimitrova, 15, Yekaterinburg 620010, Russia Transportation Picture Credit: Pinterest The tram, trolleybus and bus routes cover the entire downtown area with only buses and marshrutkas reaching the outskirts. You can also use the electric train or metro to get about. 9. Sochi Picture Credit: Yachting Lifestyle 365 What You Need To Know Sochi is not just a city, but a whole region. Greater Sochi consists of mountains and coastal villages that lay by the sea, and due to the excellent infrastructure, connecting it to the rest of the region. Sochi has hosted plenty of summer and winter games in the past three years, allowing the city to develop beautifully. It also offers a range of gastronomical delights. Sights To See Agura Waterfall Picture Credit: Sochi If you’re looking for a peaceful trip, head to Sochi’s waterfalls. Agura Waterfall is the most popular, with Orekhovsky Waterfall and Zmeykovskiye Waterfall stunning beauties too. Sochi Park Picture Credit: Sochi Park Sochi Park is Russia’s version of Disneyland. Compared to international standards, it is pretty small, but according to Russian standards, it is fantastic. Children will be occupied with the rides offered. The fact that the Black Sea is 3 minutes away means you can enjoy a glorious sunset at the end. Sochi Discovery World Aquarium takes up 6000 square metres and holds up to 5 million litres of water spread across 30 aquariums. Take your family and yourselves to another world and discover the weird and wonderful things that share our planet. Halal restaurants Café Halal House Address: Ostrovskogo str, 27/2, Central SochiContact: 89181241919Opening Hours: 10AM to 2AM Café Uzgen Address: Street Makarenko, 32, Sochi, Krasnodar Krai, RussiaContact: 89631614309Opening Hours: 9AM to 12AM Café Lebanon House Address: Novaya Zarya str., 7, Sochi, Krasnodar Krai, RussiaContact: 89284597522Opening Hours: 10AM to 10PM Humus  Address: Donskaya str, 3, SochiContact: +7-862-291-2425Opening Hours: 10AM to 11PM   Prayer Facilities Tkhagapsh Mosque  Picture Credit: Welcome 2018 Address: Rovnaya Ulitsa, 30, Tkhagapsh Village, Lazarevskoye District Transportation Picture Credit: Russian Rail High-speed electric trains, also called Lastochka trains, are the most affordable way to travel between the districts of Sochi quickly. Since they stop at major districts only, they might skip a few stops so be sure to enquire about that beforehand. Since there are no trolleybuses, tram or metro lines in Sochi due to the mountainous terrain, bus and marshrutka are the only way to get about. Since the marshrutkas follow a fixed route too, ask the driver if he can stop where you need to get off as it is not allowed to stop at some places. 10. Saint Petersburg What You Need To Know Saint Petersburg’s weather has a mind of its own, so even though the days are generally cooler in the summer, rains and wind are unpredictable. Come prepared with sunscreen, sunglasses, a jacket, umbrella, and shoes fit for the rain. The second largest city in Russia maintains a vintage look which makes it a delight to walk through, and is called the cultural capital of Russia with its plentiful offerings of art, history and more. It was also known to be the best destination for tourism in Europe in 2016, and its nearly 100 water bodies are just a tip of the iceberg of what Saint Petersburg has to offer. Sights To See Nevsky Prospekt Picture Credit: Saint Petersburg If you want to get a taste of Saint Petersburg, just stroll along Nevsky Prospekt. It is the main street of Saint Petersburg and was planned to be the beginning of the road to Nizhny Novgorod and Moscow. The hub of the city now, most of its life happens right off the Prospekt. People sporting the latest fashion, expensive cars, shopping stores, aged architecture, music and culture are all melded here to be enjoyed. State Russian Museum Picture Credit: Saint Petersburg Walking along the Nevsky Prospekt will give you an insight to Saint Petersburg’s history and bring you to many buildings that have remained that way for centuries. Kotomin House, Stroganov Palace which is now a branch of the Russian Museum, Mertens Trade House, St Peter’s School – also known as Petrischule – who had a famous architect and composer amongst its graduates, and the Meteorological Weather Pavilion are just some of the wonders. City Duma Tower was a five-tiered tower that was used as fire tower from the 18th century. Colour coded balloons would be hung on a metal frame fastened to its roof so that firefighters would know which parts of the city were on fire. Eliseyev Emporium was built in 1903 and has all its original fittings and interiors restored, with the detail in aging done to perfection. Walking into it is like walking into another era. Picture Credit: Welcome 2018 PitStop Chain of Go-Cart Clubs has four outlets in several districts in Saint Petersburg, while Grand Prix Carting Club is also a good option for your go-carting needs. Halal Food Teahouse Khan Address: Sofiyskaya Ulitsa, 54, Sankt-Peterburg, Russia, 192241Contact: +7 812 380-16-16Opening Hours: 8AM to 10PM (Mon-Thu), 9AM to 12AM (Fri-Sun) Obedov Address: 19 K 2 Kashirskoe sh 142, Moscow 115230, RussiaContact: +7 495 775-47-44 Khalal kafe Address: Tamanskaya St., 55V, Vozrozhdeniye, RussiaContact: +7 928 255-55-22Opening Hours: 9AM to 11.30PM Alo Teahouse Address: 52 neberezhnaya kanala Griboyedova, Sankt-Peterburg, Russia 190031Contact: +7 (952) 353 50 12Opening Hours: 24/7 Navruz Address: Leninskiy Ave., 125, St. Petersburg 198216, RussiaContact: +7 812 372-11-21  Brat Cafe Address: 31 Mytninskaya Ulitsa, Sankt-Peterburg, Russia 191144Contact: +7 (921) 977 33 77Opening Hours: 10AM to 12AM Café Bistro Address: 13 Malaya Balkanskaya Ulitsa, Sankt-Peterburg, Russia 192281Contact: +7 (812) 953 50 33Opening Hours: 11AM to 9PM   Prayer Facilities Saint Petersburg Mosque Saint Petersburg Mosque is the only mosque in the city. It was the largest mosque in Europe (not counting Turkey) when it opened in 1913, accommodating up to 5000 worshippers. It is a sight in itself with its beautiful architecture. Transportation Picture Credit: St Petersburg Smart Free Tour Metro stations in St Petersburg are clearly marked with an “M”. Announcements are made in Russian while stop signs are marked in Russian and English, so keep your eyes peeled if you take the metro. Marshrutkas can be taken to metro stations and stop on request. Buses, trolleybuses and trams run through the city and have clear designated stops. You can also call a cab to get about. It is safer to call a taxi or hire them through an app than to hail them off the street. Meteors are the form of river transport that is quite popular with locals and tourists. Boats leave every half hour during the high season and every hour during the low season. Tickets are cheaper when bought as a roundtrip. The bridges across the river open every night so keep that in mind if you are out late. The sight is spectacular, and you can take a boat to get across the river if you need to. 11. Moscow What You Need To Know Temperatures in Moscow differ greatly between day and night, so light clothing is advisable with layers for the night. Moscow is the largest city in Russia and the hub for many festivals, exhibitions and fairs to inspire people of all passions – as the capital should be. Sights To See Moscow Kremlin Picture Credit: ArchiGeek The Moscow Kremlin is the heart of the city and one of Russia’s main attractions. A Kremlin is a fortress where life was concentrated in centuries ago, which is why it is home to many historical sites. Explore the Kremlin and learn the history of this capital city. It is also currently the residence of the President of Russia, which is why the public does not have complete access to it. Tsar Bell Picture Credit: Sputnik News The Tsar Bell and Tsar Cannon are two major tourist attractions even though the reason why Empress Anna Ioannovna ordered its making is unsure. The bell weighs 200 tonnes and is 6 metres high and took 18 months to make, in addition to the 2 years it took chisellers to carve a design onto it. Soon after, a big fire caused it to fall into the pit it was standing on and a large part to break off it, which is where it spent the next 100 years before engineers could figure out how to get it out. The bell and cannon are purely structures as their size makes it impossible for them to be used. The barrel of the cannon has a diameter of 4 feet, and the cannon balls seen next to it don’t actually fit inside. Halal Food Tajj Mahal Address: Ulitsa Arbat, 6/2, Moskva, Russia, 119019Contact: +7 495 107-91-70Opening Hours: 10AM to 5AM Bardak Address: ул. Маросейка, 6/8 стр. 1, Moskva, Russia, 101000Contact: +7 495 624-88-78Opening Hours: 12PM to 11AM Mister Livanets Address: Glinishchevskiy Pereulok, 3, Moskva, Russia, 125009Contact: +7 495 692-99-23Opening Hours: 12PM to 12AM (Sun-Thu), 12PM to 2AM (Fri-Sat) Farsi Address: Kutuzovsky Ave, 2/1, Moskva, Russia, 121248Contact: +7 499 243-20-20 Vai Me! Address: Мясницкая ул., 11, Moskva, Russia, 101000Contact: +7 495 646-02-20Opening Hours: 10AM to 11PM   Prayer Facilities Moscow Cathedral Mosque and Old Mosque Moscow are the two mosques in the city. Transportation Picture Credit: The Atlantic The Moscow Metro is organised into rings and lines to familiarise yourself with the route before hopping onto a train. Announcements are made in Russian and English to make it easier for tourists to get about. The Monorail is more like a landmark than an actual mode of transport, but you can use your same metro pass to transfer onto the monorail without having to pay extra, as it is a part of the metro. Commuter trains link the major cities or districts in Moscow, while buses, trolleybuses and trams are a better way of getting around in the city. The 2018 FIFA Russia World Cup makes it the best time to visit this vast country with its varying landscape and rich culture. Check out the World Cup ticket categories, book your tickets, plan a Muslim-friendly trip to Russia, and enjoy the season. The Muslim population in the country makes for a fairly easy Halal trip to Russia, especially with places like Moscow and Kazan, the latter having plenty of prayer places in Russia that you can locate. You might want to read up on basic cultural ethics and tourist phrases in the local dialect before you travel to Russia....

  • Ultimate Muslim Traveller's guide to 2018 FIFA World Cup Stadiums

    Football fever is creeping in, with the FIFA World Cup being held this year in Russia and the commencement being just months away! It’s time to rally up your fellow supporters and start making travel plans because watching the game on a T.V. screen isn’t the same as actually being at the stadiums with the massive crowds! It’s a euphoric, powerful experience and besides you get to see your favourite players in the flesh! The FIFA experience may be overwhelming with all those matches and stadiums to get to and all the keeping up to do, as well as where to find proper prayer facilities and Halal restaurants. Don’t worry we’ve got you covered with this ultimate Muslim traveller’s guide to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia!   The FIFA World Cup The FIFA World Cup, also simply referred to as the World Cup is a tournament organized by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), which is the sport’s global governing body. The championship’s inaugural tournament was held in 1930 and has been awarded every four years since – except in the years 1942 and 1946, the tournaments were not held due the Second World War. The current World Cup champion is Germany; they won their fourth title at the 2014 tournament which was held in Brazil. The World Cup Finals is a three year long qualification phase and determines which teams will qualify for the tournament phase. The 32 selected teams as well as the automatically qualifying host nation/nations compete for the title in the different venues within the host nation/nations for about a month. As of now, 20 World Cup tournaments have been held, and the title has been won by eight national teams. Brazil was the reigning champion for five World Cup wins, and is the only team to have qualified for every tournament. The World Cup is the most watched and followed sporting event in the world! The overall audience of the 2006 FIFA World Cup was an estimated 26.29 billion people, while the final match garnered a staggering audience of 715.1 million which is a ninth of the entire population of the planet! Due to it being one of the world’s most prestigious sporting events, it is no stranger to scandals and hooliganism. The media has often revealed many corrupt officials of FIFA and reported many acts of violence performed by fans themselves, which has tarnished the name of the World Cup. However, fans are not giving up on the World Cup yet, because at the end of the day, it brings people together to enjoy the sport loved by the world over. The 21stFIFA World Cup will be held in Russia, with the opening ceremony to be held on 14th June 2018 and ending on the 15th of July 2018.   Moscow Moscow is Russia’s largest city and capital with a population of 12, 380 664, it is also the country’s main cultural hub. Football is a major part of the city’s history with four clubs - CSKA, Spartak, Dynamo and Lokomotiv – which were placed in the top division of the 2015/16 Premier League championship of the country. Two stadiums in Moscow would be hosting the tournament for the 2018 FIFA World Cup - Luzhniki stadium and Spartak stadium. Moscow’s Luzhniki Olympic Complex is the biggest stadium in Russia and will host the opening ceremony and closing ceremony as well as the first match and final match, along with four group matches, one round of 16 final and one semi-final. The stadium first opened in 1956 and is situated by the Luzhnetskaya Embankment of the Moskva River across from Vorobyovy Hills. Luzhniki hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the 22nd Olympic Games of 1980. The 1999 UEFA Cup final was hosted by this stadium. It was at this stadium during a Euro 2001 qualifier that Russia beat England 2-1. Luzhniki was reconstructed in preparation for the 2018 World Cup, it was completed in 2017. The expanded stalls can accommodate 81,000 spectators instead of only 78,000, which was its previous capacity. Before the recent remodelling, the seating arrangements caused poor visibility from some sections of the stalls, however, now the stalls have been moved as close to the pitch as possible fixing the visibility issue. From the total number of seats, 300 have been equipped for people with disabilities, 1,700 seats are reserved for VIP spectators and 2000 seats for the media. A little fun fact about the stadium; state-of-the-art technology has been used to equip the goals. Several cameras watch the goals, while an electronic bracelet alerts the referee. Find Halal restaurants near you in Moscow  Find Mosques near you in Moscow   The second stadium to host matches is the Spartak stadium; it is the arena of Russia’s No.1 football club, FC Spartak Moscow. The stadium can accommodate 45,000 spectators and has its own metro station, the Spartak Metro station, which makes it easier for football fans to reach the stadium. Moscow is home to 2 million Muslims, therefore finding restaurants serving Halal food would not be too difficult, and restaurants can easily be found by searching on the net. Due to the city’s large population of Muslims finding a mosque won’t be a hassle. Moscow is home to the city’s largest mosque – Moscow Cathedral Mosque – it has a capacity of 10,000 worshippers. While visiting the city to watch the World Cup matches, make sure to visit Moscow’s most famous attraction, the Kremlin. The city has other delights to offer, like the Moscow Zoo, circuses, and a cat theatre! Find Halal restaurants near you in Moscow  Find Mosques near you in Moscow   Ekaterinburg Picture Credit -   Ekaterinburg is the fourth largest city in Russia, it was named after Russian Empress Catherine I. The Trans-Siberian Railway ran through the city across the vast expanse of Siberia into China, making Ekaterinburg Russia’s gateway to Asia. The FC Ural is Ekaterinburg’s football team, it was founded in 1930. The team is placed in the top national football division of Russia’s premier league. They are two-time winners of the Football National League Cup, which is the second most influential division in Russian football. The Ekaterinburg Central Stadium will host four group stage matches, for the duration of the tournament the stadium will be referred to as Ekaterinburg Arena. The stadium is located in the Verkh-Isetsky district, which is the central part of the city. The Polschad 1905 Goda is the nearest metro station; there are four bus stops from here to the stadium. The city was named one of the twelve ideal cities to live in by UNESCO. Ekaterinburg is full of natural resources such as oil, gas, gold mines, and Europe’s largest deposit of Emeralds! Though Ekaterinburg has a population of 200,000 Muslims, the city lacks Mosques. There are two Mosques, the Congregational Mosque, which is the main Mosque in the city, and the Ramadan Mosque. Finding Halal restaurants may be challenging, there is only a scattering (around four restaurants) of Halal friendly restaurants in the city. One of the known restaurants is Halal Cafe Ramazan. However, there are many Halal friendly grocers in the area. Find Halal restaurants near you in Ekaterinburg    Saint Petersburg   Saint Petersburg is the cultural capital of Russia.  Once referred to as Petrograd and Leningrad, the current name “Saint Petersburg” comes from Latin-Dutch word-formations. The locals of refer to their city as Piter. The city has a population of 5,281,579 people. The center of the city is an open-air museum. Some of the city still looks like it did in the 1900s, it is an eclectic mix of neo-classical architecture and modern buildings. It boasts 200 museums, 70 theatres, 50 cinemas and 1100 libraries. Saint Petersburg’s local football club is FC Zenit Saint Petersburg, the team was founded in 1925. The squad plays in the Russian Premier League, and were the champions in 2007, 2010, 2011-2012, and 2014-2015. They won at the 2007-2008 UEFA Cup as well as the 2008 UEFA Super Cup. The stadium is located on Krestovsky Island, which you can access through the new Novokrestovskaya Metro station, and the new pedestrian bridge linking the island with the southern coast of Primorsky District. The stadium was designed by Japanese architect Kisho Kuroko, and is one of the most technologically advanced stadiums in Europe. It has a retractable roof which takes 15 mins to open or close, and a roll-out pitch. The stadium has a capacity of 68,000 spectators, and will host two matches. The easiest way to travel to the arena is by metro.  The closest station - Krestovsky Ostrov – is only a 2 minute walk away from the stadium (Metro line no. 5). There may be some restrictions on traffic close to the stadium however, shuttle buses will be provided on game days. The buses will stop at two locations the Krestovsky Ostrov bus station and the intersection of Sportivnaya Street and Morskoy Prospect. The Saint Petersburg Mosque is a must visit, when it was first opened in 1913, it was the largest Mosque in Europe. This is also the only Mosque in the city, however certain Halal restaurants offer prayer facilities. There are quite a few Halal friendly restaurants in the area, so you won’t have a problem with finding the right restaurants. Navruz is a good restaurant to visit while in Saint Petersburg. Find Mosques near you in Saint Petersburg Find Halal Restaurants near you in Saint Petersburg   Sochi   Sochi became famous for hosting the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, whose preparations caused the city to experience great improvements in infrastructure. Among the many new facilities is the Fisht stadium, which will play host to the 2018 World Cup matches. The stadium is named after one of the peaks of the western part of the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range. In the Adyghe language “Fisht” means “white head”. The stadium has been designed in a unique way to give spectators a mountain view on one side and a sea view on the other side. The stadium can house 40,000 people. The best way to get to the stadium is by cab or bus, and travelling is easy due to the many renovations made to the city for the Winter Olympics. Unfortunately, in spite of all the money spent on the Olympics, the city has still not managed to build a Mosque. The only available Mosque in the region is a 2 and a half hour drive to the Adyhge village of Tkhagapsh. There are a few Halal friendly restaurants in the region namely, Cafe “Halal House”, Cafe Uzgen and Cafe Lebanon House. Find Halal Restaurants near you in Sochi   Kazan Photo credit - Maksim Tumanov/TASS   Kazan was founded a thousand years ago and is one of the main cities in Russia. The city is a port located on the left bank of the Volga River – a religious, economic and cultural center – it is the third capital of Russia. The city has a population of 1,231,878 people. In 2009 Kazan was chosen as the Sports Capital of Russia. The structure of the stadium is reminiscent of a water lily, giving it an almost ethereal look. The stadium was built for the 2013 Summer Universiade, and hosted both the opening and closing ceremonies. The arena is the only football stadium where 12 world records in swimming was set. It will play host to two matches for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. During the match days traffic around the Kazan Stadium will be restricted. Public transport will be provided from the airport to the stadium via shuttle buses. Spectators can also get buses at the Adoratsky Street and Yamasheva Prospect intersection, and even use the Kazan-1 Railway route from Fan Zone to stadium or the route from Kazan-2 Railway station to the stadium. Kazan is a predominantly Muslim city therefore finding Mosques and Halal restaurants will not be difficult. Kazan has its own distinctive cuisine – Tartar Cuisine – which is Halal, so be sure to try some dishes in the many restaurants available in the city. One of the most important heritage sites in Kazan is the Kul Sharif Mosque, it is located in the Kazan Kremlin. Find Mosques near you in Kazan Find Halal Restaurants near you in Kazan   Saransk Photo credit -   Saransk is situated on the banks of the Insar River, which is joined by the Saranka and Tayla Rivers within the city limits. The city is full of myths and legends, with many landmarks in its vicinity. The city has a population of 300,000 people. FC Mordovia is the local football club which was founded in 1961. The team won at the 2009 Pro Football League, going on to win the National League Championships in the 2011/2012 and 2013/2014 seasons. The Mordovia Arena will host 4 matches for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The stadium has a capacity of 45,000, and can be reached by car in 10 minutes from the airport, and 5 minutes from the railway station. Shuttle buses will run between the stadium and railway station, airport, as well as hotels. Saransk has three Mosques, the Ikhsan Mosque, Aal-Mansur Mosque and the Uskudar Mosque. You can easily find Halal friendly restaurants in the city by doing a quick search online, one of the recommended restaurants is BurgerBoom.   Kaliningrad Photo credit -   This city is the westernmost regional capital of Russia, parts of Lithuania and Belarus lie in between the Kaliningrad region and Russia. Kaliningrad is an important shipping hub where many international routes interconnect, such as rail lines, and sea and air routes. The Kaliningrad region boasts of the largest field of amber in the world, 90% of the world’s prospected stocks of amber. Kaliningrad has their own football club – Club Baltika – founded in 1954. The team is one of the leading clubs on the National Football League. The Kaliningrad stadium will host four group stage matches for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The stadium has been built on the shore of an island, October Island. The stadium has five storeys and will be able to hold 35,000 spectators. As of now, there are public transport routes to the stadium, the nearest stop is a 20 minute walk away from the arena. As stated on the official website, access roads will be built in time for the World Cup. There are very few Halal friendly restaurants in this area, with just a very few speckled across the city and only around two Mosques for the whole city. Find Halal Restaurants near you in Kaliningrad   Samara Photo credit -   Samara is the main economic centre, transportation hub and cultural magnet for the whole Volga basin. The city celebrated 45 years in aerospace engineering by opening a museum and exhibition centre in 2001, the museum houses Europe’s only Soyuz booster rocket in launch position. The museum hosted the Wings of the Future exhibition in dedication of the city’s preparations for the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup. Samara also has Russia’s first public football museum, most of the exhibits are devoted to the local team – FC Krylya Sovetov. The team was put together during the Great Patriotic War of 1942, marking its 75th jubilee earlier in 2017. The squad has their own stadium, the Metallurg stadium which was Eastern Europe’s best attended arena in the year of 2004. The club has played in top division for over 45 seasons of the Soviet national championships, also going on to the USSR Cup finals in 1953 and 1964. FC Krylya Sovetov scored a bronze at the Russian championship and played at the 2004 Russian Cup finals. The team went competed in the 2005 UEFA Cup and also played at the UEFA Europa League in 2009. The Samara Arena will host four group stage matches in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, including one match with the Russian national team. The stadium has been designed to look like an object from space, it is symbolic of Samara’s role in the world history of space exploration. Samara is the location of one of Russia’s largest Mosques, the New Mosque. It was built in the 1990s with red brick, and has an apple orchard by the walls. The Mosque was designed by Rasim Walshin, a local architect. It will not be easy finding Halal fare in Samara, there are very few restaurants that serve Halal food. Cafe Al-Halal and Lagmannaya, are recommended restaurants in the area. Find Halal Restaurants near you in Samara   Rostov-on-Don Photo Credit -   Rostov-on-Don is a major transport and industrial hub as well as cultural centre in southern Russia. Rostov-on-Don is also the unofficial “southern capital” of Russia and one of the gateways to Caucasus. The city has a football club, FC Rostov, which was founded in 1930. The team was placed second in the Premier League competition in the 2015/2016 tournament, they made it into the 1/8 finals of the European League in 2016/2017, and they were placed third in the group stage match of the UEFA Champions League. The Rostov stadium will host four group stage matches as well as a 1/8 final for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The Rostov arena has a seating capacity of 45,000. The stadium was built in 2012 in the Kirov district. After the World Cup, the stadium will become the official arena for the FC Rostov. The stadium can be reached by bus number 591 if travelling from the northern areas of the city. When arriving from the southern areas of the city, travelling by train is the best option. The closest railway station is the Zarechnaya station which is two bus stops away from the stadium. Rostov-on-Don has only one functioning Mosque, the Rostov-on-Don Cathedral Mosque. Halal food is not readily available in this city however you will be able to find a few groceries and markets that sell Halal products.   Nizhny Novgorod Picture Credit -   During the 18th and 19th centuries Nizhny Novgorod came forward as a regional economic, industrial, scientific and educational hub. The railway connecting Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod, built during the 1850s and 1860s, was one of the first railways to be built in Russia. Nizhny Novgorod is 3.5 hours away from Moscow by train, making it the closest host city to Moscow. Nizhny Novgorod has a population which exceeds 1.3 million; it is the largest city within European Russia after Moscow and St. Petersburg. Located in Upper Town is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, the Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin. It was built in the 1500s and houses the City Hall and the regional government. A football club was only recently founded, the FC Olympiets, the official squad was put together in 2015. The team will compete in the 2017/2018 National Football Championship, this will be their first match. The Nizhny Novgorod stadium construction commenced in 2015, the stadium will be able to accommodate 45,000 spectators. The stadium will host four group stage games, including one match of the 1/8 and ¼ finals during the 2018 World Cup. The arena is built on Strelka, offering a picturesque view of the Oka River meeting the Volga River. After the World Championship the stadium will be utilized as a multifunctional sports complex as well the home field of the local football club. The nearest metro station is said to be situated in Strelka, it will be opened in time for the World Cup. The stadium is a five-minute walk away from the station. There are two recommended Halal restaurants in the area, Uzbekcha Halal Restaurant and Гарцующий пони (Gartsuyushchiy poni). However, ask around for other Halal restaurants that may be in the area. There are three Mosques in Nizhny Novgorod, the Nizhny Novgorod Mosque, the Taub Mosque and the Nizhegorodskaya Sobornaya Mosque. Find Halal Restaurants near you in Nizhny Novgorod   Volgograd Photo Credit -   Volgograd’s original name was Tsaritsyn, it was renamed to Stalingrad in the 1920s and was given its current name in 1961. The city has been a regional industrial capital since the 18th century, Volgograd is full of industrial enterprises, which played a defining role in the city’s history. The population of Volgograd is said to be more than one million. Volgograd was one of the cities that pioneered Russian football. The city’s first ever football team was formed in 1909 and comprised of steel works and oil industry workers. The present day team, FC Rotor, is the winner of the 2016/2017 Pro Football League Championship (South Zone). FC Rotor was founded in 1929, their greatest achievements were a Soviet Cup semi-final, a Russia Cup final, one National Championship bronze and two silvers. The Volgograd Arena replaced the Central Stadium, which was the home field of the Rotor-Volgograd football club. The Central Stadium was opened in 1962 and in 1963 Fidel Castro delivered a speech to a crowd of 60,000 people. The stadium was dismantled in 2014 to be replaced with the new Volgograd Arena. The stadium is shaped like an overturned truncated cone and is able to accommodate 45,000 spectators. The stadium will host four group stage matches for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and will become the home field of the FC Rotor football club after the World Cup ends. It is set to be opened in 2018. The Volgograd Arena can be accessed by bus, trolleybus, high-speed tram or commuter train, the closest station is the Mamaev Kurgan station. There aren’t many Halal friendly restaurants in the Volgograd city, however there a few restaurants scattered around the surrounding districts, a quick search on the internet should help you locate them. Two recommended restaurants are Khalyal and Халяльa which serve Halal fare. Volgograd has one functioning Mosque, the Volgograd Cathedral Mosque. Find Halal Restaurants near you in Volgograd   So book those match tickets and flight tickets! And don’t forget to check hotel availability; this is an opportunity that’s not to be missed, also take as many photos as you can! The World up may be the main highlight of your Russia trip, but Russia is a great country with lots to offer so don’t forget to do some sightseeing. 5 Interesting Facts About the FIFA World Cup  ...

  • Unique Shopping Options in Semboku City, Japan

    In addition to its breathtaking landscapes and attractions, Semboku City offers several shopping options for Muslim travellers. Travellers to Semboku City will be able to find numerous department stores, electronics stores as well as a number of gift and specialty shops selling a range of souvenirs and unique take-home gift items. This article explores a few of the unique shopping options in the city. Kakunodate-machi Denshokan Kakunodate-machi Denshokan located at Omotemachi Shimocho is one such option. Both a museum and shop, Kakunodate-machi Denshokan has many unique items such as traditional crafts and cultural artifacts for sale – which all make excellent souvenirs. The museum itself houses a vast collection of exhibits on display, providing a fascinating glimpse into the history of Semboku City. Cherry blossom trees surround the museum area for a truly spectacular sight and a visit is highly recommended. Satoku Garden Visitors to Semboku City could also visit Satoku Garden located on the main street of Kakunodate - the historic Samurai district. It offers an excellent gift shop with variety of high-quality items at reasonable prices. Popular items that travellers can look out for include traditional Japanese tea caddies, lace handkerchiefs, scented candles, book covers and other accessories. Murakko Product Center The Murakko Product Center in the Tazawako area is a great place to visit to buy the freshest seasonal vegetables and wild fruits – usually collected from the mountains. A snack corner is available for visitors to sample homemade food of the local farmers. The special ice cream flavours are a must-try and are available in soba, spinach and chestnut flavours! Tazawako Art Village Last but not least, visitors could also head to the Tazawako Art Village which is an excellent cultural area to enjoy art as well as food. A visit to the Forests Crafts Gallery is worth the time and may prove to be a memorable experience. More shopping options are available throughout the city and Muslim travellers will not find it difficult to buy other items, in addition to gifts and souvenirs. With friendly and welcoming staff, high levels of service can be expected! Click here for more travel information on Semboku City . ...

  • 5 Must-Do Experiences for Muslim Travellers to Semboku City, Japan

    Located in Japan’s Akita Prefecture, is the beautiful Semboku. Consisting of three main areas; Tazawako Town, Kakunodate Town and Nishiki Village, Semboku is home to wonderful attractions and sites that are sure to interest visitors of all ages, especially those seeking cultural immersion, as well as nature lovers. While Semboku offers so much to do and see, we’ve listed out some must-dos and must-sees that are sure to complete your visit to the city. .  1. Unwind at the Nyuto Hot Spring Village Semboku is known for its numerous outstanding hot springs that draw in visitors from around the county, so if you’re in the city, we think your visit is incomplete without a dip in a hot spring! The Nyuto Onsen-kyo Hot Spring Village located at the foot of Mount Nyuto, and surrounded by spectacular scenery, is home to 7 independent and different hot spring inns - Tsurunoyu, Taenoyu, Ogama, Magoroku, Ganiba, Kuroyu, and Kyukamura Nyuto-Onsenkyo - that have their own spring sources, and are unique in their own way. Tsurunoyu Onsen is the oldest of the hot springs, and is said to have been discovered during the Edo era. It is the most famous in the village, and is renowned throughout Japan, and is ideal if you’re in search of a more authentic hot spring. Meanwhile, Kuroyo Onsen is visited for its ancient atmosphere and Kyukamura Nyuto-Onsenkyo is frequented for its more modern facilities. If you can’t decide, why force yourself to choose? Buy a ‘spring ticket’ and visit all 7 of the hot springs, admire their unique characteristics, enjoy the distinct properties of the water, breath in the crisp mountain air, and savor the seclusion! .  2. Hike the majestic Akita Komagatake The highest mountain in Akita Prefecture, Mount Akita-Komagatake, standing at 1637 metres, is an active stratovolcano that is a must-visit for its incredible views. Featuring numerous peaks connected by accessible trails that range from easy, to those for more experienced hikers, and offering breathtaking views and picturesque scenery, exploring Akita-Komagatake is an experience like no other. Akita-Komagatake is also home to a fascinating collection of alpine flowers and countless high altitude plants and trees, along with the Amida Pond; which is located in the center. No matter which of the trails you choose to explore, the attractive views and the lovely surroundings will keep you going for hours. .  3. Enjoy a relaxing afternoon at Lake Tazawa The mysterious crater lake, Lake Tawaza is the deepest lake in Japan and is a popular spot amongst locals and tourists alike. The scenic lake not only offers plenty of picture-taking opportunities, but also has a variety of attractions. Visitors can take a bus ride around the lake, explore it on foot or bicycle, or even take a boat ride on the lake. They will come across the famous golden statue of Tatsuko; a legendary princess and now a local symbol, as well as the Goza-no-Ishi Shrine, a variety of restaurants and shops, bike rental stalls, and areas offering water-related activities such pleasure boat rides. The lake’s sapphire water and picturesque surroundings make it a great destination to unwind and relax and spend a fun day out with the family. .  4. Get some skiing in at Tazawako Ski Resort Overlooking the beautiful Lake Tawaza, the Tazawako Ski Resort is spread across 100 hectares. While the ski area is the largest in the Akita Prefecture, it is more of a local ski spot and is not incredibly popular. It is however great for those looking to get some skiing in, without being bothered by the crowds. Featuring 13 courses, with the piste terrain divided into different levels of ability, the Tazawako Ski Resort offers runs even for amateur skiers. If however skiing is not your thing, the spectacular scenery is sure to captivate your attention. .  5. Feel the spirit of the samurai in the Samurai District of Kakunodate There are many cities in Japan that have been developed into castle towns, but the samurai district in Kakunodate is among the better preserved ones, thus making it one of the best examples of a castle town in Japan. While visitors will not get a chance to see Kakunodate Castle, they will get to experience its samurai traditions and its past, and to tour some incredible historical buildings; the samurai architecture of which is said to be some of the best examples of its kind, in the country. Although a number of the houses found in the district are owned by the descendants of the samurai, tourists can visit the few that are open to the public. Two noteworthy houses out of the seven that can be visited, include Aoyagi and Ishiguro. The Aoyagi House features a museum with displays relating to Kakunodate's samurai history, along with restaurants and gift shops. The Ishiguro House on the other hand is quite a bit smaller than Aoyagi, but its extensive museum offers visitors a glimpse into the clothing and armour worn by the samurai, the books and tools used by them, and so much more. Be sure to stroll down the wide avenues, browse the numerous craft shops, get your picture taken in front of the stunning weeping cherry trees, visit the quarter’s fascinating museums, and catch one of the many traditional festivals held throughout the year. Click here for more travel information on Semboku City    . ...

  • Getting To and Getting Around Semboku City, Japan

    Planning a trip to Semboku City in Japan? Here’s a guide with everything you need to know in regards to getting to the city and getting around it! Shinkansen Bullet Train The most popular mode of transportation to the city is the Shinkansen bullet train. Tourists in Tokyo, Sendai, Akita and Morioka can all use the Shinkansen bullet train to get to the gateway of Semboku, Tazawako Station or the JR Kakunodate Station. The train from Tokyo leaves hourly and takes approximately 3 hours and 15 minutes to JR Kakunodate Station while the journey from Akita to Kakunodate Station will take around 45 minutes. Tourists traveling from Sendai will have to spend around one and a half hours aboard the train, while Morioka to JR Kakunodate Station takes roughly 45 minutes. Those planning on using the bullet train to get to Semboku, should book their seats in advance, as seats on the bullet train need to be reserved. The Japan Rail Pass can also be used to travel on the bullet train. Visitors planning on getting to the Tazawako Station instead of JR Kakunodate, will take around 15 minutes less from each of the destinations mentioned above, if they travel by Shinkansen bullet train. The station has a bus terminal as well, which is quite convenient for tourists as they can travel by bus to all the top sightseeing spots in the city. The station also houses a tourist information center, which tourists may want to visit for more information regarding sites and travel routes. Traveling By Car Another option for tourists would be to travel by car. It is however sure to take much longer to get to Semboku City by road. Especially for those traveling from Tokyo; as they will have to use the expressway and then switch over to the highway from Morioka onwards. Since the travel time from Tokyo to Semboku City is roughly 8 to 9 hours by road, tourists may want to choose to travel by bullet train to get to the city in much less time. While tourists traveling from Akita or Morioka, choosing to travel by road could be considered, as the time taken is not much different from the train. Once you have reached Semboku City, one of the most beautiful parts of Akita prefecture, tourists will want to explore as much of the city as possible. The city consists of three main towns or areas, which are Tazawako Town, Kakunodate Town and Nishiki Village. Home to hot springs, majestic mountains and wonderful lakes, Semboku has something for everyone, especially those interested in what nature has to offer. Getting about in the city and visiting the major sites in the city will not be a problem since they are all accessible by road. Tourists could either hop onto one of the buses or travel by car to some of the must-see sites. Certain sites are accessible by foot as well. Since one of the best ways to explore a city is by foot, do take the time to walk around each town and get a closer look at what each has to offer. Click here for more travel information on Semboku City . ...

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    Car auction center. They have prayer room with udhu space.