Ossetia North

north ossetia-alania - северная осетия-алания

The first state in the Caucasus was created by the Alans, ancestors of modern Ossetians. The state flourished in the 10th century AD and ruled most of the Northern Caucasus. The Alan state ceased to exist after the Mongol invasion in the early 13th century. Unlike other Caucasian republics, Ossetia has always been predominantly Christian. It is a pleasant region where you can hike and drive amid dramatic mountain scenery, visit and photograph old fortresses, monasteries, clan towers, etc.

VLADIkavkaz - ВЛАДИкавказ

The capital of North Ossetia was founded in 1784. It is a nice, leafy, well-kept city.

Only horse drawn carriages are allowed into the beautiful pedestrian Mir Avenue.

The republican administration.

Colors of Ossetia-Alania both North and South.

The town hall.

Vladikavkaz’ coat of arms.

The statue of general Pliyev, a hero of World War II.

The impressive baroque mosque.

Vladikavkaz has a sizeable Armenian population. Hence an Armenian church.

The 1824 Nativity Church.

A whole gallery of characters of the Ossetian mythology is located south of the city.

dargavz - the town of the dead

The mountain village of Dargavs is famous for its town of the dead. Ossetians had a peculiar tradition to place their dead in doghouse-like structures leaving them to decay or to get mummified by themselves. The same tradition is observed in neighboring Ingushetia but on a smaller scale.

The area is dotted with clan towers and ruins of abandoned villages.

The ethnic beliefs are also widespread among Ossetians. Similar shrines are quite common.

Wastardgy – the hero of the pre-Christian mythology. Under the influence of Christian missionaries he became associated with Saint George.

Statues and busts of Josef Stalin are also common in Ossetia-Alania. According to widely spread opinion among the Ossetians, Stalin’s father was Ossetian and had a common Ossetian family name – Dzagoev. Only after he moved to neighboring Georgia his surname was georgianized and took the form of Dzhugashvili.

This stone in Kurtatinsky gorge is supposed to be the first monument commemorating Lenin. According to the inscription the stone was erected on the day of Lenin’s death January 21, 1924.

beslan - беслан

The town of Beslan is located 16 km from Vladikavkaz. It is known as a venue of the bloodiest terror act in modern day Russia. On September 1, 2004 a group of 34 Chechen militants took hostage 1,128 people mostly school students and their parents taking part in the opening ceremony of the 2004-05 school year. The terror act resulted in 333 deaths, 186 of them children. Thirty three militants were killed, one was captured. Below are photos of the school taken on August 2, 2005 eleven months after the tragic events.

The hostages were kept in the gym for more than 48 hours. They were denied food, water, use of toilet.

On September 3 a bomb went off under the basketball ring, presumably because of improper handling, killing two militants, several hostages, provoking panic and indiscriminative shooting by militants. In response special forces and armed locals stormed the building.

The new school was built across the street.