Europe has a long history of sporting activities dating back to the ancient Greek period. The oldest stadium built is the Olympia, which hosted the Olympic Games. The construction of modern stadiums began in the late Victorian era where stadiums were built for single purposes. Early stadiums were also constructed in the United Kingdom. The designs improved over time with increased development in architectural styles and knowledge. Later on, the constructions of ultra-modern multi-purpose stadiums developed. These modern stadiums have additional extensions such as roofing and elaborate structures like movable fields.
Camp Nou, Spain’s and Europe’s largest stadium, was built between 1954 and 1957 and was later expanded in 1982. The stadium, owned by FC Barcelona, has a capacity of 99,354 and is one of the four stadiums in Spain with a five-star designation. In 1995 and 2008, renovations to the stadium increased its size and capacity and the addition of new structures such as shops, small training pitches, a chapel, and a museum. The stadium hosts activities such as football matches, a mass service by Pope John Paul II in 1982, musical concerts, and rugby matches such as the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Wembley Stadium in London is the second largest European, with a capacity of 90,000 people. A dome-shaped roof covers the entire seating area from weather elements. The stadium, owned by the Football Association, hosts various activities including football and rugby games, music concerts, weddings, and boxing matches. Since its opening in 2007, the stadium has hosted numerous England home games, and several other games such as the 2012 Olympic Games football tournament, the 2013 UEFA Championship League and is set to host the 2020 UEFA Euro.
The Croke Park Stadium in Dublin, Ireland has a capacity of 82,300, making it the third largest stadium in Europe. The stadium, opened in 1884, hosts Gaelic games, especially football, hurling, rugby, and Olympics. Renovations to the stadium began in 1984 and ended in 1991, increasing the capacity of the stadium to 80,000. Later improvements were divided into four phases spanning 14 years. At the end of the development stages, the stadium had new features such as hospitality facilities, increased seating capacity to 82,300, and the development of the Ali terrace and the Nally Stand. Croke Park is the largest European stadium without an associated host football team.
Twickenham Stadium in London is the fourth largest European stadium and the world’s largest rugby stadium with a capacity of 80,000. The rugby union stadium opened in 1909 and hosts rugby union fixtures. Matches played in the stadium include the annual World Rugby Sevens Series, the Middlesex Sevens, the Aviva Premiership finals, the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series and the Rugby World Cup games in 1991, 1999, and 2015. Renovations and redevelopments have been made several times since it was built.
Design Of European Stadiums
As most European stadiums were built for football, they adopt a rectangular shape with tiers constructed around the fields. However, recent developments and an increase in multipurpose stadia have seen developments of newer designs. The Westfalenstadion in Germany, Stade de France, Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, the Luzhniki stadium, and the Ataturk Olympic Stadium are some of the larger stadiums in Europe.