World Cup city profile: Johannesburg

Known as the "City Of Gold," Johannesburg will act as the hub of the World Cup, hosting the opening match and the final at its 95,000-seat centrepiece stadium, Soccer City.

Known as the "City Of Gold," Johannesburg is the capital of Gauteng, South Africa's richest province, and is located in the north-eastern part of the country.

Thanks to its lucrative mining operations, Johannesburg is the financial and cultural capital of South Africa, and will act as the hub of the World Cup, hosting the opening match and the World Cup final at its 95,000-seat centrepiece stadium, Soccer City.

Population: 3.2 million

Altitude: 1,753 meters

Sightseeing: No journey to Johannesburg would be complete without at trip through the historic Soweto township. It acted as the heart of the anti-apartheid movement, housing former president Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu among others, and is the home of Soccer City. Visitors would also do well to check out Apartheid Museum, which holds most of the country's historical artefacts.

Here's an interesting fact: Soccer City has a design inspired by the iconic African pot known as the calabash.

Local soccer clubs: Bidvest Wits, Kaizer Chiefs, Moroka Swallows Orlando Pirates (Premier) FC AK, Jomo Cosmos (1st Division).

World Cup climate: Dry, with temperatures around 24 C during the day, which could drop down to 2 C for night games.

World Cup stadiums: Johannesburg has two stadiums: Soccer City and Ellis Park.

  • Soccer City: The newly-reconstructed Soccer City is far and away South Africa's crown jewel for the World Cup, and will host both the opening match and the final during the tournament. Originally called FNB Stadium, Soccer City was built in 1987 with a capacity of 80,000, before a 500 million rand ($66 million US) upgrade increased it to 95,000 in 2009. Located in the iconic Soweto township of the city, the stadium has hosted many crucial African matches, including the 1996 African Cup of Nations final.
  • 2010 World Cup matches: South Africa vs. Mexico on June 11; Netherlands vs. Denmark on June 14; Argentina vs. South Korea on June 17; Brazil vs. Ivory Coast on June 20; Ghana vs. Germany on June 23; one second-round match; one quarter-final match; and the final.
  • Ellis Park: This stadium will always be fondly remembered by South Africans because of the Springboks' shocking triumph in the 1995 Rugby World Cup final over New Zealand. First built in 1928, Ellis Park was demolished and rebuilt in 1982, and its seating capacity was upgraded to 62,000 in order to host the 2009 Confederations Cup final. Ellis Park is located in the centre of the city and is home to one of the nation's most popular teams, Orlando Pirates FC.
  • 2010 World Cup matches: Argentina vs. Nigeria on June 12; Brazil vs. North Korea on June 15; Slovenia vs. United States on June 18; Spain vs. Honduras on June 21; Slovakia vs. Italy on June 24; one second-round match; and one quarter-final match.