One of the world’s newest partially recognized countries, South Ossetia, otherwise known state of ”Alania”, remains relatively cut off from the outside world. So what’s the route one must take to reach this mountainous enclave?
Firstly the only way in and out as a foreigner is via Russia. The toughest part about this? – the dreaded double-entry Russian visa.
To receive the double entry Russian visa one must prove why they require it. Proof of your tour and visa to South Ossetia is thus required.
Just like all of YPT’s favourite holiday destinations – visiting South Ossetia requires you to be on a government licensed tour where freedom of movement is restricted.
YPT will provide you a visa as long as you apply 3 months in advance! The visa isn’t a physical one in your passport. It’s more of a group permit.
Enough visa talk, how do I actually get there?
You need to get your way to Vladikavkaz in Russian North Ossetia, the gateway to South Ossetia. It’s easily accessible by flight or train from Moscow. From here it’s a one and a half hour road trip to the only artery into mountainous South Ossetia – the Roki tunnel. It was through here that the Russian army advanced under the cover of darkness to push back the Georgians during the 2008 conflict. The Tunnel was damaged then but fully restored in 2015, all costs covered by the Russians.
Formalities on the Russian side of the border can take several hours. Interviews are common. On the Ossetian side however, all is done within minutes especially if you have a local guide smoothing the way for you. From the border post, it’s another 2 hours to the capital and largest city of Tskhinvali, your base for your stay in this beautiful and most genuine of unrecognized states.