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City of the Dead

Photo credit: Alex Svirkin
City of the Dead
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A seemingly innocent settlement is in reality, a burial place for thousands

Located on the outskirts of Dargavs (Дæргъæвс), a tiny settlement in the North Ossetia-Alania Region of Russia is a necropolis that is often dubbed “The City of the Dead”. There is little to no tourism here due to the tough road to get there and locals abstain from visiting due to a tale that any man who walks in does not come out alive. If you decide to come, chances are you will have the place all to yourself – but do you really want to be alone in a place like this?


The City of the Dead’s crypts have ridged curved roofs with a pointed peak at the top. Smaller crypts have flat sides on the front and back walls but their sides are curved inwards and some don’t have roofs. In total, there are ninety nine tombs and crypts.


Heartbreaking tales tell the stories of people with no family left would go into the crypts to await their deaths during plagues as there would be no one left to bury them.


When you visit, you will find many coins on the ground as Ossietians believed that if you threw a coin from a hill and it hit a rock, then it mean that the soul of your deseased loved one had reached heaven.


Another tradition was to bury bodies in tiny wooden boats as it was believed that souls had to cross a river after death.