City of the Dead

Many cities claim to be the city of the dead, but in Dargavs, Russia, it truly is the City of the Dead. Let’s probe into this location to learn more. **If any errors are expressed in this article, it is due to my research itself and is not intentional.**

Dargavs contains over 99 tombs or crypts, some dating back as early as the 12 century. Each crypt belongs to one family or clan. The deceased were carefully buried with all their clothes and possessions with them.

To find the City of the Dead you will need to drive a minimum of three hours, over small hidden roads. One of the legends surrounding the city is that if one were to enter the City of the Dead, you would never emerge alive.

Local legends have it that in the 18th century a plague swept through Ossetia. The clans built quarantine houses for sick family members, who were provided with food but not the freedom to move about until death claimed their lives. People who did not have any remaining family members to bury them would just wait in the massive cemetery until their death. It was a very slow and painful way to go, and in the City of Death they stay.

When arriving into the area you will see numerous stone houses, these are actually the crypts. The crypts have ridged curved roofs which rise in step-like fashion to a pointed peak at their center. The smaller crypts have flat sides at the front and back and curve inwards on the sides while the very smallest have no roofs whatsoever.

As the crypts are on a hillside, you will also find many coins on the grounds.

The grounds near the are scattered with coins. Ossetians would throw a coin for a dead family member from the hill and if it hit a stone, it was believed that this indicated the soul of the deceased had reached heaven. This could also be done in the small wells that are in front of every crypt. **For respect of local custom, heritage, and history, and that of dead, please do not pick up, take, or keep the coins.”

Many locals refuse to visit the city, believing the legend that they would not leave the city alive. If you have visited, please share with me more details! I think it’s a beautiful area, and the history behind the crypts is worth knowing more about.

Stay weird my friends!

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