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Vladikavkaz

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Vladikavkaz is the capital city of North Ossetia and is a major transit hub for the Caucasus, lying on the Georgian Military Highway.

Get in[edit]

Train service from Moscow and other southern regional cities such as Rostov daily. Two flights from Moscow daily - S7 Airlines out of Domodedovo Airport, and Aerflot Don out of Vnukovo.

Get around[edit]

Public transit is cheap and reliable - tram, bus, route taxis (marshrutki). Taxi service generally costs 50 rubles (US$1.65 as of July 2009) for almost anywhere in town, per stop. Official taxis are recommended, they are easily available in the center of the city, avoid private taxis (chastniki).

Basically no English is spoken, do not expect to be able to comfortably move around the city without brushed-up knowledge of Russian or assistance from a translator.

City phone code is 8672.

See[edit][add listing]

Vladikavkaz is the ideal base for a short break in the mountains. A charming city, with easy access to spectacular mountains. Vladikavkaz could be the Chamonix of Russia, with a great climate, and friendly people it has the potential.

The Monument to Glory memorial complex is towards the Southern end of Prospekt Kosta. This includes a fine mosaic history of WWII, a statue of Catherine II granting a charter, a small Soviet version of Trajan's column showing another history of WWII, a bust of Stalin, and a small but poignant Beslan memorial.

The Mukhtarov Mosque on the West bank of the Terek is from 1908 and has an unusual and elegant design, with a tall blue dome and ornate pink and white minarets.

The most striking feature of North Ossetia is, of course, the mountains. Tsey and Fiagdon in particular. Historically, all non-Russian citizens were forbidden to travel outside of Vladikavkaz, Beslan, Alagir and Ardon by government regulations, but today (2013) travel to Tsey and Fiagdon is allowed. So whilst many of the beautiful mountains are for Russians only this is no longer the case, although a special border permit is required to climb peaks actually on the border with Georgia.

If arriving by plane, take time to pause at the cemetery for those killed in the Beslan school siege. A poignant entry to a still troubled North Caucasus.

Travel Restrictions[edit]

I have attempted to sell up the area in this article, but beware there still are travel restrictions. You will not find an embassy website that recommends travel to the North Caucasus (2013). There is a conflict between North Ossetia and neighbouring Ingushetia. This conflict is now frozen, neither resolved nor in open conflict. The entire area surrounding Vladikavkaz, Prigorodny is out of bounds. You may only transit by the Federal highways. Aside from the areas mentioned to visit, presume all other areas in North Ossetia to be out of bounds until checked. Do not take take Russian restrictions lightly. There are some real security dangers, and if caught you will be fined and deported.

With that dire caveat said, Ossetia has much to offer the intrepid tourist and should peace break out with Ingushetia and Georgia, this is an exciting location to watch.

Do[edit][add listing]

Vladikavkaz

Enjoy a stroll along the river or the central Prospekt Mira with it's abundance of cafes and restaurants. The city hosts a few small museums and galleries in the area of the prospekt, and a magnificent statue of Lenin.

The city makes a great base for day trips to the mountains, see Get Out for Tsey Valley, Fiagdon Valley, and the Georgian Military Road

Buy[edit][add listing]

Pirog (пиро́г)[edit]

North Ossetia is famous in Russia for it's pie, the Pirog (пиро́г). Available in meat, cheese, potatoe, or beetroot leaf (my favourite). You should try it. You may wonder what all the pizza boxes people are packing on the plane to Moscow are about, it's pirogi for the huddled masses in Moscow.

Wines[edit]

As the Georgian Border relaxes there is the hope that Georgian wine will make an entry onto shop shelves soon. Keep an eye out. Otherwise there are local wines and beers, but the quality varies wildly.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Wander down Prospekt Mira for a myriad of good cafes and restaurants

  • Vogue Restaurant - Salads, Pasta, Pizza, Deserts, full bar and shisha. Lots of pretty people who like to stare at foreigners. One of the few places in town with outside seating.

53-95-64 U. Mayakovskogo, 21 10.00-24.00

  • Grusha - Excellent Georgia food and shashlik. Loud music.

54-88-55 Ul. Shumlevicha, 41 12.00-24.00

  • Magiya Cafe - Good deserts, light meals, drinks, great coffee.

54-06-48 Ul. M. Gorkogo, 9 9.00-23.00 kofemagia@mail.ru

  • Leonardo Cafe/Gallery - Interesting local art. Good meals, good cocktails, basement bar filled with smoke.

53-88-88 Ul. Revolutsii, 62 12.00-23.00

  • Vincenzo Cafe - A string of cafes now scattered across the old part of town offering great coffee and cake.

A full list of cafes, restaurants is available here: http://www.e-osetia.ru/rubr.php?id=90&s=0 Some advertisements here as well: www.vladcafe.ru

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Hotel Imperial - directly on Prospekt Mira, the central street of the city. Comfortable, recommended over other options, little bit pricier. Restaurant Bavaria behind the hotel with outside seating and extremely loud karaoke during the summer months. Sauna onsite. 54-74-74 Prospket Mira, 19


Hotel Vladikavkaz - Soviet style intourist hotel. Cheap, on the river, five minute walk from the center and across the street from a very unique mosque. Not very comfortable but generally has rooms at affordable rates. As with many soviet style hotels in other parts of Russia, expect your phone to ring if you are a male traveller. 64-94-94, 55-03-83 ul. Kotzoeva, 75

Aleksandrovskiy Grand Hotel - a small, but extremely grand and luxurious five star hotel, with a gourmet restaurant and prices to match. The staff have only limited English, but will try to make things work. Prospekt Mira 29.

Get out[edit]

Tsey Valley[edit]

Ossetia's only ski centre. Small but worth a weekend in winter. During the summer the Tsey valley offers a great base for treks in the local hills and glaciers. There are several huts and cabins in the area, but only one hotel at the resort Skazka (Сказки) [1]

Fiagdon Valley[edit]

A must is to visit the Ancient cemetery of Dargavs, and after to eat at the "Valley of the Sun" Restaurant in Harisdjin. The valley is very popular for picnics in the summer and has spectacular limestone scenery and old Ossetian settlements and towers, all of which are open to exploration by the intrepid.

Great views of the Caucasus mountains in the distance, the road runs alongside the river Fiagdon. There are several decent restaurants along the road all serving Ossetian cuisine. Fiagdon itself is a small ex mining town and not worth visiting so continue through it to Harisdjin[2]. Here there are nice spots for shashlik and several paths/roads further into the mountains. Visit the new Alani Assumption Monastery[3]. Past Harsidjin up a steep slope is a picturesque shrine to the Virgin Mary and some ruins of gardens. Take the mountain road by bike from here to cross over into the Tsey valley.

Georgian Military Road[edit]

The border with Georgia opened for international travellers in 2013. The border is not quick to cross, being a combination of a narrow gorge and impatient drivers, but the scenery more than compensates.

Beslan school hostage crisis cemetery[edit]

If arriving by plane you will pass the cemetery of the 186 children killed in this infamous siege. Take time to pause and reflect upon this event and all the senseless killing in the region.

The Beslan school hostage crisis of September 2004 lasted three days and involved the capture of over 1,100 people as hostages (including 777 children), ending with the death of over 380 people. [4]


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