Tourism in Russia >
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.
Lofty mountains covered with coniferous and leafy forests, picturesque gorges, Alpine meadows, ice cellars in saddle backs, plenty of fruits, lots of mineral waters make the holiday in North Ossetia memorable. North Ossetia national area is one of the best areas of this type where are: rocky ridges, coves, sinks, ice cellars, Alpine meadows and barrens. In the national area toy can find more than 1500 species of plant predominatly endemics. Rare species of birds such as black stork. Caucasian grouse and bearded vulture, listed in Red Book nest here. Of all architectural monuments an Ossetian Church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God is the most worth seeing. The church is the oldest building remained totally intact which had been constructed in 1860 in Vladikavkaz fortress before it became a city. Among local museums North Ossetian State United Museum of History, Architecture and Literature and House-museum of Khetagurov K.L. should be mentioned. He was a poet, an enlightener, a painter, a sculptor and an Ossetian literary language's founder.
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.
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.