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The Republic of North Ossetia-Alania

The main attraction of North Ossetia is, without doubt, the Greater Caucasus. Mountaineers and rock climbers from all over the world come to see these silver-headed mountains and climb the highest peak in the republic—Mount Kazbek (5,033 meters). Vladikavkaz, the region's capital, was built at the beginning of the last century and you can still see the modern style of architecture popular at that time. Medieval towers, the City of the Dead holy place and endemic mountain flora can be found in the rocky spaces of Alania. The local people are very hospitable, always ready to help visitors with anything and will feed them Ossetian pies made to the recipes of their revered ancestors.

Republic Of North Ossetia - Alania
Republic Of North Ossetia - Alania
Republic Of North Ossetia - Alania
Republic Of North Ossetia - Alania
Republic Of North Ossetia - Alania
Republic Of North Ossetia - Alania
Фотобанк Лори
Republic Of North Ossetia - Alania
Republic Of North Ossetia - Alania
Фотобанк Лори
The Republic Of North Ossetia – Alania
Фотобанк Лори
The Republic Of North Ossetia – Alania
Фотобанк Лори
The Republic Of North Ossetia – Alania
Фотобанк Лори

Many people believe that North Ossetia, even in the 21st century, is still a country of severe highlanders, ancient customs, and majestic mountains. But once you have arrived here, tried Ossetian pies and freezing spring water, breathed in the wonderful mountain air and seen a mountain gorge, you will want to come back here one day, or even live here.

Most visitors come here because of the mountains. Some people just want to have a picnic with a view of a glacier, while others, beginners and experienced climbers, want to conquer it. As well as climbing mountains, you can go rafting, mountain biking, horse trekking, and hang gliding. In summer you can see the roaring icy rivers, powerful waterfalls, and luscious grass; autumn is for mushrooms and berries and the multicolored slopes; in winter you can go skiing in Tsey and Digoria ,while spring brings freshness and the first delicate forest plants.

You should definitely start your visit to the Republic in its capital—Vladikavkaz. The city has grown in just two centuries from a fort, founded under Catherine II, to a major trade, economic and cultural center. Visitors will be mostly interested in the historical part, which has many buildings from the late 19th to early 20th centuries. You can still see the ruins of the fort's walls on one of the streets. Prospect Mira and the Embankment of the Terek River are the most popular places for taking a stroll. There are many old buildings on the street and you can see statues of Mikhail Bulgakov, Kosta Khetagurov, and even a statue to a 19th century policeman.

Kurtatinskoe gorge is the most popular place for outdoor activities. Dzivgisskaya fortress is is one of the largest rock fortresses in the Caucasus. The complex  consists of seven independent defensive facilities, which are located at the entrances to natural cave formations. Slightly higher up the gorge you can find the Holy Assumption Alania Monastery. In 2003, the Russian Orthodox Church was returned the half-ruined Myrrh-bearer church that contained the miracle-working icon Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, painted by monks on stones in the Kiev Pechersk Lavra Assumption Cathedral in the 19th century.

The village of Dargavs is in an area settled during the Bronze Age. The village is famous for its military towers and the City of the Dead, consisting of 97 different types of tombs and crypts.

Mindagrabin is a 7 km long valley leading into a majestic natural amphitheater, with surging vertical rock walls from the top of which fall 12 snow-white streams. The Bolshoy Zaygelan waterfall (750 meters) is the highest waterfall in Europe, and the fifth in the world.

Tsey is a Russian ski resort which has visitors all year round. The best time to come here is, probably, in autumn. Climbing the Tsey Glacier has been the most popular route for many years. A cableway can take you up another glacier—the Skazsky. This slope is a favorite of skiers and snowboarders from all over Russia.

Digorskoe Gorge is the furthest from the republic's capital. It is still worth coming here for its coniferous forests, waterfalls, and alpine meadows. In Western Digoria you can climb up to the Karaugomsky Glacier and the Rayskaya Polyana, the Taymazinsky waterfall, and the Chefandzar mountain swamps. In Eastern Digoria you can visit ancient mountain villages, Donisarskoe Lake, Kaysarsky Waterfall, and the Songuti Glacier. Hikers should visit the famous Three Sisters and Pearl waterfalls.

Visitors to the Republic should also see Khanaz village, with its legendary castle-frigate in the center. The architecture and size of this castle, which once belonged to the Tsallaev family, is very impressive and is quite similar to a medieval European castle. Not far from here is another castle—the seven Sedanov brothers. This is a fortress that, somehow, had been built on cliffs and is surrounded on three sides by a steep drop, while the fourth side has a very narrow passage which can only be passed using climbing equipment.

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