South Ossetia Tour
What's It All About?
This is a tour to one of the world’s newest unrecognised countries! South Ossetia only gained partial independence from Georgia after the war in 2008. This was accepted by Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Nauru. Heavily protected by the Russians, it has its own language, identity and parliament.
After numerous research trips and negotiations, Rocky Road Travel are proud to be able to announce this South Ossetia tour. Only around 500 non Russian tourists have visited South Ossetia since 1993. All that is required from your side is a double entry Russian visa, Rocky Road will take care of all South Ossetian formalities.
Starting out in Moscow, we’ll see all the main Soviet sights in the city before beginning our epic train journey through the heart of Southern Russia to Vladikavkaz, the gateway to the Caucasus! Here we’ll see local sights, from Soviet monuments to the sobering site of the 2004 Beslan school massacre. From here we’ll cross through the Caucasus mountains to South Ossetia and check out the capital city of Tskhinval. We’ll join in their independence day celebrations which will feature one of the last Soviet style military parades left in the world!
Please note that you will need a double-entry Russian visa to take part in this tour as onward travel from South Ossetia into Georgia is practically impossible.
Thursday 15th September – Moscow
- Arrival in Moscow at your own time and check into our central hotel (to be confirmed later)
- We’ll meet up in the evening to go out for a hearty Russian dinner & a few drinks.
- Overnight in Moscow.
Friday 16th September – Moscow
- Breakfast in the hotel before checking out and leaving our bags in luggage storage.
- Classic Moscow city tour taking in VDNKh park. The park features a Vostok rocket, Tupolev aircraft plus tons of incredible Soviet art as well as an imposing Lenin statue.
- Afterwards we'll head to the Cosmonaut museum with the incredible monument to the Cosmos outside.
- We’ll then check out Red Square and its surroundings
- We’ll leave in the evening for our lengthy rail journey to Vladikavkaz - the gateway to the Caucasus.
- Overnight on the train.
Saturday 17th September – Train
- We’ll enjoy breakfast in the restaurant car of the train and spend the the day on board, stopping off at various points to pick up supplies & stretch your legs.
- On our trip we’ll be journeying through the Cossack heartland of Russia, seeing what was once some of the worst battlefields in WW2.
- Dinner and overnight on the sleeper train.
Sunday 18th September – Vladikavkaz
- Morning arrival into Vladikavkaz.
- Hotel check in and breakfast before our city tour.
- We’ll see the Mukhtarov Mosque set against the backdrop of the Caucasus Mountains. It served the Ingush people of Vladikavkaz before they were expelled from North Ossetia in the 90s.
- See the enormous Soviet monument to Issa Pliyev on horseback, he was a Soviet general from the area who commanded forces during the battle of Moscow and Stalingrad.
- Visit the Victory Park which is full of old Soviet monuments. The park also features one of the last surviving statues of Josef Stalin left in the former USSR!
- We’ll then walk down the picturesque main drag of Vladikavkaz. We’ll have a traditional Ossetian lunch with Caucasian tea.
- If scheduled, we’ll try and catch a concert at the national university of North Ossetia.
- Overnight in Vladikavkaz.
Monday 19th September – Tskhinvali
- After breakfast we’ll visit the site of the Beslan school massacre and pay our respects. In 2004, during the 2nd Chechen war, terrorists captured the school and took over 1,100 people hostage. After three days over 330 people (including 186 children) lay dead.
- Lunch on the go as we hit the road for the 4-5 hour drive to Tishkinvali. On the way we’ll stop to see the Soviet monument to the Red Army soldier and hero of the Soviet Union Peter Barbashov who gave his life fighting for the city of Vladikavkaz in 1942.
- Photo stops at some incredible beauty spots and vantage points in the mountains.
- We’ll use the famous Roki Tunnel to drive through the Caucasus mountains before reaching the South Ossetia border.
- On the side of the road to South Ossetia you’ll see various artillery guns on standby.
- After arriving in the capital of South Ossetia, we’ll check into our hotel and freshen up before meeting our local guide who will be overseeing our visit to the country.
- We’ll walk through the main city park and pose by the ‘I love Tshkinval’ sign before dinner at one of the best eating spots in the city which is often frequented by the South Ossetian president! We can have traditional South Ossetian Chacha to toast our arrival.
- Overnight in Tskhinvali.
Tuesday 20th September – Tskhinvali – Independence Day!
- City tour where we’ll start at the former Intourist hotel of the Soviet era, now stained with bullet holes and rocket blasts.
- We’ll then check out the former train station and the plinth that once held a statue of Josef Stalin. Afterwards we’ll head down the main street to the university. Here lies a turret of a Georgian army tank which was blown up outside the train station before embedding itself into the concrete.
- We’ll take our central spot to see the Military Parade. Representatives of all other breakaway states including the Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics will be in attendance. If we are lucky, the Ossetians will also roll out tanks and artillery for the parade.
- We’ll then enjoy lunch from the dozens of food trucks from all over South Ossetia at the “South Ossetia Cultural Festival”. There'll also be live traditional music & dance. The South Ossetian president will be present.
- Free time to go and enjoy the days celebrations with firework display.
- We’ll meet up in the evening for dinner.
- Overnight in Tskhinval.
Wednesday 21st September -Tskhinval
- Early start for breakfast
- Explore the old town of Tskhinval. Many buildings are still in ruins from the 2008 war.
- Visit the highway of death monument - a ring of burnt out cars which were part of a refugee group fleeing the capital. Many were killed in a rocket strike on the convoy. The memorial stands as testament to this war crime.
- We’ll drive along the mountain road to Leningor, the second biggest city in the republic and inhabited mainly by Georgians. On the way we’ll be passing through stunning scenery and war scarred ghost towns.
- We’ll stop at an 8th century fortified church on the way with incredible views of the Caucasus mountains.
- In Leningor, we’ll visit the local museum, medieval monuments, WW2 memorial and monument to Pushkin. Here it’s possible to buy Georgian wine and brandy.
- We’ll enjoy a traditional Georgian feast in Leningor before returning to the capital.
- Dinner and overnight in Tskhinval.
Thursday 22nd September - Vladikavkaz.
- Free morning in Tskhinval to explore the city
- Around 11am, we’ll return to Vladikavkaz.
- Late afternoon arrival in Vladikavkaz
- End of the South Ossetia tour. Rocky Road Travel is able to arrange further accommodation & transportation in Russia after your tour!