About the Republic of South Ossetia.

In the very heart of the Caucasus, on the joint of Asia and Europe,is situated the Republic of South Ossetia, occupying the southern slopes of the Great Caucasus and the foothills' part of the Kartalin Valley.

Administratively it is divided into four regions: the Tskhinval, Dzhava, Leningori and Znaur. The industrial, cultural, and administrative centre of the Republic of South Ossetia is it's capital, the city of Tskhinval.

The nature endowed our country lavishly with it's richness, beauty and diversity. The grey mountain peaks, reaching beyond the clouds, and the massive chains of mountain ranges, chiselled through by deep gorges and mountain passes, the motley carpets of the alpine and sub-alpine meadows, the mountain lakes and turbulent rivers, dashing out of rocky glens, the roaring waterfalls, the fountains of curative mineral springs, the thick pre-mountain forests and blossoming plane orchards, the abundance of material culture and architectural monuments - all this gives South Ossetia an original colour and unparalleled beauty.

At an altitude of 1000 metres and more above the sea level is to be found 89,3 % of the territory of South Ossetia. The mountain landscape also determined largely South Ossetia's climate. It is shielded against the cold northern winds by the Main Caucasus Range, which results in the fact that even at great heights it is warmer here than in the Northern Caucasus. The average temperature of January is + 4,5, and July + 20,3.In accordance with the vertical zone divide the precipitation amount changes too, the average indicator for the Republic equals to 598 mm. per annum.

The bulk part of the population is made up of the indiginous inhabitants - Ossetians. Along with them in South Ossetia reside Russians, Georgians, Armenians, Greeks, - a total of 40 nationalities.

The Ossetians are one of the most ancient nations populating the territory of the C.I.S. They live in South and North Ossetia, Kabardin-Balkaria, the Stavropol Territory, a number of the regions of Georgia, there are Ossetians also in Turkey.

The Ossetians' descent is connected with the Scythians (the 6-7-th centuries B.C.), the Sarmatians (the 4-1-st centuries B.C.) and the Alans (from the 1-st century A.D.). The genetic continuityof the Scythians and Alans' language has also preserved. As a result of the Iranian tribes' having settled down in the Central Caucasus's pre-mountain areas, the indiginous population adopted their language and many cultural peculiarities. The powerful union of the Alan tribes, formed here and laid the foundation for the Ossetian people's formation, and was destroyed in the 13-th century as a result of the Mongol-Tatar invasion.

After this invasion the process of the Ossetian people's formation resumes. The Ossetians settle the southern slopes of the Caucasian mountain range. In the Western European and Oriental sources the ancestors of the Ossetians were called "the Alans", in the Georgian ones - "the Osses"("Ovses") and in the Russian - "the Yassy".

During many centuries the Ossetians had been closely communicating with the Georgian and other peoples, enriching their culture, language and mode of life. The main pursuit of the Ossetians on the plane was tilling, in the mountains - stock-breeding).

The language of the Ossetians belongs to the Indo-European Language Family. The first written memorial (in Greek letters) of the Ossetians - the Zelenchuk inscription, - is dated by 341 A.D. The Ossetian written language was created on the basis of Cyrillcs by A.Shegren in 1844. Since 1954 the Ossetian written language has been based on the Russian alphabet.


© 1999 Soslan Tabuev

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