Like most battle royale maps, Verdansk in Call of Duty: Warzone is designed to serve gameplay above realism, with far too many facilities stuffed into what amounts to a village (based on the amount of housing present) and yet, it still is based on a real-world location due to the COD franchise's grounded nature.
Fans who played Modern Warfare will be familiar with the fictional post-soviet country of Kastovia, nestled in between Russia and Georgia. A portion of the game's story mode takes place here, and the city of Verdansk is found in the country as well. Kastovia is the amalgam of several eastern European and Caucasus countries intended to serve as a realistic, but not real, backdrop to the conflicts seen in the game.
Verdansk, the city, is similarly an extensively modified fictional city based heavily on a real one - Donetsk in Ukraine. Several major landmarks from the city have been copied to populate the Verdansk map. What's more, the map's code reference in the game files is "mp_donetsk" implying that during development Infinity Ward considered going for the real deal instead of a fictional stand-in. We're guessing they decided against it due to the relatively recent conflict in the area.
Several landmarks have been identified throughout the map. The Airport is an almost exact copy and the Donbass Arena was used as inspiration for Verdank's arena. The developers chose to put the walls of the enclosure at a more drastic angle, but the building is still instantly recognizable.
The bank, with which Plunder players are bound to be familiar with, is also based on an actual bank building in Donetsk with the branding being the only difference. The large Atlas Supermarket is also both visually and geographically based on an actual supermarket that formerly was in Donetsk, but got torn down following the 2014 conflicts.
While Donetsk seems to be the largest inspiration, the developers drew upon various other locations - interestingly all from Ukraine - when designing the map. The Gora Dam is a slightly modified version of the real Dnieper Hydroelectric Station, and even Ukraine's parliament building was tapped for one of the larger edifices in central Verdansk.
The name of the city is also a bit of historical wordplay. A combination of Verdun and Donetsk, Verdansk not only references the name of the city it is visually based on but the location of one of the bloodiest battles in World War I. This is likely meant as a reference to the implied body count of a battle royale game.
Ever since the armed conflicts caused upheaval in Ukraine in 2014, several internationally unrecognized proto-states with Russian backing have cropped up in the region, with modern Donetsk serving as the capital of one of these. These events were undoubtedly an inspiration for some story elements in Modern Warfare's campaign. Not much of this is touched upon if you only play Warzone, but players interested in some background should try the single-player content as well.
For more gameplay-related info about Verdansk, check out our map guide.