The Uzunag Festival in Digoria

Every summer on the third Saturday in July Digorians—most of whom have migrated out of their native region to Vladikavkaz or other cities—return to their ancestral villages. On this occasion those with family connections to the village of Vakats (pop. 87) congregate in a clearing high in the mountains about 200 metres below a shrineContinue reading “The Uzunag Festival in Digoria”

Towers and Tombs: Remnants of Medieval Ossetian architecture

For centuries and possibly millennia the peoples of the high Caucasus have built stone towers to serve as refuges when under attack from invaders. Called ganakh in Ossetian, these towers are typically four stories tall, and have window openings which were used as lookouts and to fire upon encroaching enemies. Each family would have a tower ofContinue reading “Towers and Tombs: Remnants of Medieval Ossetian architecture”

Visiting South Ossetia

The best means by which South Ossetia can hope to establish its viability as a country is, in my view, to make itself more open to foreign visitors. Visas are not currently required, but one must obtain permission to visit from the South Ossetian office in Vladikavkaz and this requires an invitation from someone inContinue reading “Visiting South Ossetia”

Ossetian Popular Religion: Scythian Connections

When one has spent years studying a topic and earned the status of a specialist through much time and effort, it can be deeply annoying when others who have not done so presume to voice opinions in the absence of familiarity with the facts. One can only imagine the frustration of climate scientists when politicalContinue reading “Ossetian Popular Religion: Scythian Connections”