Dargavs Village, City of the Dead

It may be unsafe to disturb the souls of the dead, visitors say. After all, this is not just an archaeological site. This is Dargavs - the ancient
It may be unsafe to disturb the souls of the dead, visitors say. After all, this is not just an archaeological site. This is Dargavs - the ancient "city of the dead."
Dargavs is a village in the Russian Republic of North Ossetia-Alania. Dargaws is located about 30 kilometers southwest of the capital of Vladikavkaz in the valley of the Gizeldon River, not far from the Georgian border in the North Caucasus , in the southwest of the country, 1,500 km south of Moscow . Dargavsis known for the necropolis of Dargavs, a centuries-old city of the dead, located right next to the village.

The  necropolis  of Dargav consists of almost 100 death houses. The tombs are made of stone and mostly contain wooden shelves to store the dead. Under each building there is a partially multi-storey crypt, into which the bodies were placed when there was no more space in the crypt above. The houses each have a small window , the incident light served to place the dead. Due to the location of the city of the dead on the mountain slope, the window also caused wind to blow into the tombs, thereby mummifying some corpses. The houses of the dead have different roof shapes, such as pyramid, cone and saddle roofs. Smaller tombs have simple flat roofs.

The area where Dargavs is located has been inhabited since the Bronze Age. A large number of archaeological sites have been discovered here, including the Alanian burial ground of the late 1st millennium BC. e. According to legend, Tsarevich Taga lived here, the ancestor of the clans and surnames of the upper class of East Ossetia.

According to legend, Tagaur lived here, “Tsarevich Taga”, the founder of noble Ossetian clans. Many surnames come from here: the Kudakovs, Tkhostovs, Tulatovs, Alikovs, Kanukovs, Mamsurovs.

Today, the mountain cemetery has the status of a protected historical and cultural object, and tourists can not only walk along its green slopes, but also visit the tombs themselves.

Access : Coordinates: 42.833333, 44.416667 / Via Beslan Airport near Vladikavkaz (mainly domestic flights)
Train connections etc. from Moscow, Rostov-on-Don and Krasnodar to Vladikavkaz
Via the Georgian Army Road from Georgia
Via the TransKAM through the Roki tunnel in South Ossetia
/ You can get to the Dargavsky gorge either by a long route 14 km long through the Fiagdonskoe (Kurtatinskoe) gorge, or by a short one, 30 minutes – via Kobanskoye.

Highlights :

  •  The architectural ensemble of the most grandiose “city of the dead” in the North Caucasus consists of 95 structures. All tombs are divided into three types : Some crypts are located above the ground, and their roof is a stepped pyramid, assembled from rectangular slate tiles. This tile was chipped off the rocky surface, and after simple processing, it turned into a kind of durable waterproof tile. Another type of tombs is the same crypts, but crowned with a gable slope. The third, most unpretentious constructions, are half located underground and are rectangular chambers made of large, roughly processed stone slabs.
  •  Alikov’s tower rises above the “city of the dead”, a kilometer from the village, on the slope of Mount Raminyrag. Masig has four balconies (mashikulya). This tower controlled the approaches to Dargavs from the Genaldon gorge. Also known as the Badtiev Tower, which captured the tower later. The tower was hit hard by an earthquake in 1923.

Activities : Ancient Culture Study / Mountain climbing-biking / Adventuring / Excursion Travel to Dargavs – Kurtatin gorge / sightseeing / photo opportunities – Photography, Architecture Photography / trekking / Scenic Driving- Auto Touring

Go next : Midagrabinsky waterfalls / On the other side of the valley, you can see another “dead town” belonging to the abandoned village of Hussar-Khintsag / the city of Vladikavkaz.( Vladikavkaz is the capital city of North Ossetia and a major transit hub for the North Caucasus region ) / Georgia , Gergeti Trinity Church


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