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North Ossetia

Tourism in Russia > North Ossetia-Alania

North Ossetia-Alania

The Republic of North Ossetia-Alania is located in the south of Russia, where Europe joins Asia, in the very heart of the Caucasus. Most picturesque mountains are crowned with sparkling eternal snow and glaciers where crystal-clear streams and majestic waterfalls spring from, and mountain lakes reflect the sky. There are mountain slopes and valleys covered with coniferous, deciduous and mixed forests, alpine meadows with diverse plants, in the midst of which mineral springs, different in composition and temperature, spurt. The fauna is rich and varied. Having unique natural resources and a convenient geographical position on the way from Russia to Trans-Caucasia, between the Caspian and Black seas, being distinguished for historical, archeological and ethnographic monuments, Alania-Ossetia has been attracting both scholars and travellers' attention for a long time. The ancient authors Plinius and Strabon, the Dominican missionary Julian, the famous Russian travellers L. Sta'der, N.Y. Dinnik, A.N. Krasnov wrote about Alania. A.S. Griboedov, A.S. Pushkin, M.Y. Lermontov, A.M. Gorky and many other famous men of culture and art passed Ossetia on their way to Trans-Caucasia.

A flow of tourists, excursionists, lovers of Caucasian nature greatly increased at the end of the 19th — the beginning of the 20th century. In 1889 a war topographer and mountaineer A.V. Pastukhov, accompanied by the local guide! Tsarakhov and two Cossacks made the ascent of the famous Mount Kazbek along the northern route. Bike tourists drove to Trans-Caucasia along the Military Georgian and the Military Ossetian roads. Travellers made walking tours about the mountains of Ossetia.

During the Soviet era North Ossetia was visited by a vast amount of tourists who travelled along the All-Union and republican routes that were of importance from health-improving and informative points of view. Groups of mountaineers and sports tourists made ascents and tours to the beautiful mountains of our republic. It is no mere chance that North Ossetia was chosen as a place where the First All-Union rally of tourists was held in August, 1981.

New technologies in tourism and recreation industry can currently offer new facilities, and the natural and climatic conditions give you a chance to fully enjoy your active recreation in the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania.

Trekking

Thanks to its beautiful nature and interesting historical and architectural monuments this republic provides trekking lovers with excellent facilities for excursions and walking tours.

One can ascend to one of 35 glaciers, of which Karaugom (13,3 km in length, with the area of 26,6 km2), Tsey (8,6 km in length, with the area of 9,7 km2), Midagrabyn (7,9 km in length, with the area of 9,8 km2) are among the largest in the Caucasus. One can approach the thundering waterfalls, including Bolshoi Zeigalan (750 m) — the largest in Europe and the third largest in the world, or go up to the marsh Chefandzar in the locality Khares, the most highly located one in the Caucasus mountains (at the height of 2 200 m). One can visit the ancient shrines of Rekom, Mady Mayram (the pagan prototype of Our Lady in Orthodox Christianity), Mykalgabyrta (the pagan prototype of St. Michael and St. Gabriel in Orthodox Christianity); see the traces of the ancient Khilak obstruction wall — a part of the Great Caucasus Wall, ancient temples, among them is Nuzal chapel, a place where the last Ossetian tsar, Os-Bagatar, was buried, medieval towers and burial vaults, includig the famous "Town of the Dead" — the largest necropolis in the Caucasus. One can walk along health path in the Kadargavan canyon, where a fallen rock is squeezed in the crevice above the river Fiagdon, or fling a stone from "Chiortov" bridge to calculate the height at which the bridge is thrown over the canyon Akhsinta above the river Urukh. You have a chance to feel as if you were ancient defenders of Dzivgis and Ursdon rock fortresses, walk in the carstic caves "Universitetskaya" (the total of the passages is 4 500 m) or "The Cave of the Revenger" that refers to a very interesting legend. Mineral water springs — thermal in Karmadon, hydrogen sulfide in Tamisk and Ursdon, and others in Tib, Zaramag, Khilak — are of interest as not excursion sights only; they will also greatly fortify your health and improve your general condition.

Mountaineering

For a long time the highest mountains of the Bokovoi, and Glavnii ranges of the Caucasus have been attracting to Ossetia mountaineers and mountain tourists from many parts of Russia and foreign countries. Routes of different complexity, from the easiest up to the 6-th Complexity category according to the Russian classification, run to their tops. They are first of all the Caucasus patriarch — the white-peaked Kazbek (5 033,8 m), then its retinue Jimaraikhokh (4 780 m), Teply (4 431,2 m), Uilpata (4 649 m), Adaikhokh (4 404,9 m), Chanchakhi (4 461,5 m), Laboda (4 313,7 m), Sugan (4 486,5 m). Ascents of these highest Caucasus peaks leave an unforgettable impression. Routes of the ascents of different North Ossetian summits took place in the USSR and Russia mountaineering championships more than once. The Russian mountaineering championship in the category of rock ascents was held on the tops of'Tsey horseshoe" in 2007. The Federation of Mountaineering of Russia holds annual All-Russian trainings of mountaineers-rescuers for awarding the title "Rescuing in mountains". An international mass alpiniad-ascent of Kazbek took place in Ossetia in 2009.

Royk-climbing and ice-climbing

There is an opinion that the first contests in rock-climbing were held on the rocks of Mount Monakh in Tsey when mountaineers of the mountain camp'Tsey" while waiting for weather suitable for ascending, decided to find out who had the best skills in rock climbing. In its time North Ossetia hosted the USSR Championships in rock climbing on natural rock-fields of the Daryal gorge. Rock climbing has acquired great popularity all over the world since then and claims the participation in the Olympic Games. North Ossetia has innumerable places where one can enjoy this excellent active recreation and sport on natural relief.

Numerous waterfalls of the Tsey canyon, Midagrabyn valley, Mountain Digor, that freeze in winter, provide unique facilities for exercising such a new and at the same time rather popular active recreation as ice climbing. Suffice it to say that Moscow Open Championship in ice climbing has been taking place on ice ledges of the Tsey falls for several years.


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