Sports, especially football, is a passionate topic wherever you are. I dare to say that in many Central and East European countries it goes beyond the usual sports competition and represents a strong statement about identity and power. By visiting a soccer museum you may discover not only a slice of the national sports history, but also a lot of interesting information about history, mentalities and culture. Especially for young boys, such a visit may be very tempting, mainly if some special training is included in the visitors’ package.
Donetsk or Donbass area is predominated by mines and miners, but here you can also find one of the newest museums of sports in Ukraine and Europe in general: FC Shakhtar Museum. Inaugurated in 2010 to celebrate the 75 years of the team, it tells the story of the favourite soccer team of the region. It presents the squad’s major trophies as well as player kits, personal awards of renowned players and coaches and metal-cast footprints and palmprints of the club’s iconic footballers.
The museum presents many interactive areas. For instance, the visitor can touch the present-day outfits, walk through a fog screen, enjoy PlayStation games or play some virtual football yourself. In the museum cutting-edge cinema hall, you can take a virtual trip in the history of the matches of the FC Shakhtar. At the end of the trip, you can leave a message in the Guestbook or have a photo taken in the front of the last UEFA Cup in history, won by the Pitmen in 2009.
The next stage is a visit at the Donbass Arena. For one hour, the visitor will visit the behind-the-scenes areas where only the players and other sport officials are allowed to enter: conference room, the dressing room etc. You will get some updated about the latest news in the world of soccer as well as information related to the construction history and stories about legendary players and coaches. If you want more than the basic stadium tour, there are additional possibilities to make your stay pleasant: legend tour, individual tour, birthday tour and, on match days, a special mini-tour behind the curtains.
Besides the museum and the arena, there it is also possible to have a look at the Kirsha training center, where the players of Shakhtar dwell and train. Considered one of Europe’s most advanced training facilities, it is located 20 km. away from Donetsk. Through the tour, the visitor will discover the history of the construction, as well as to participate to training pitches and call in at the first-team squad’s residential building: player’s dressing room, relaxation and rehabilitation areas, theoretical training room and the Italian style-atrium.