Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Quick and Dirty: Vladikavkaz, Republic of North Ossetia-Alania, Russia

Quick & Dirty:  Vladikavkaz, Republic of North Ossetia-Alania, Russia

Description:  Vladikavkaz is the capital city of the Republish of North Ossetia-Alania. It resides in the southeast of the republic, situations in the foothills of the Caucasus on the Terek River. It has one of the highest populations among the North Caucasus. The city is known for its factories and as a transportation center. The Georgian Military Highway (European route 117) connects it to George in the south, through the mountains. A rail line connects the city to Baku, Azerbaijan. Buses, trams, and trolleys cross the city, providing plenty of public transportation. The city structure is actually made up of six different rural localities.

Population:  311,693
Conflict:  The city has been the target of several bombings in the past 15 years. Targets have included mayors and military sites. The 58th Army is based in the Southern Military District as one of the four operational commands of Russian. Vladikavkaz and the surrounding localities are host to a motorized brigade and command brigade. The main base of the 58th Army is in Dzhava-Tskhinval, Tbilisi.

There is also the on again, off again, fighting with the Ingush people. Most of the fighting involving the Ingush people is due to fighting spilling over from the Chechen Republic. Due to this conflict, the area has become destabilized by corruption, high profile crimes, and government security forces murdering civilians.

1.       The North Caucasus:  Whether traveling to the Tsey Valley and the Skazka resort, the Tsminda Sameba Church (Gergeti Trinity Church) under the watchful eye of Mount Kabegi, or looking for the forgotten castle of a vampire lord, the North Caucasus provide many varied locations. The mountains also provide many local shop owners the opportunity to sell various gear needed to living or touring the mountains. Travel guides can be found in all of the towns and most are willing to take money from non-chartered sources in return for guiding foreigners through the mountains. These guides can also provide knowledge related to the comings and goings of the military and which roads have been closed via restrictions by the military.
2.       Prospekt Mira:  Cafes, restaurants, hotels, museums, galleries, and a statue of Lenin line Prospekt Mira. This is the central heart of the city of Vladikavkaz along the river. Agents looking to find other spies a likely to visit this area of town.
3.       Aleksandrovdkiy Grand Hotel:  The Aleksandrovdkiy is the most elegant, and thus most expensive, hotel in Vladikavkaz. Both the exterior and interior are done in antique styles. The hotel is within a 45 minute drive of the airport and a ten minute walk from the train station. Guests can relax in the bar or dine on traditional Russian fair in the restaurant. For those looking to enjoy a more cosmopolitan palette, other restaurants and a Starbucks are nearby. The hotel only has 30 rooms to rent.

Three Hooks:
1.       Fiagdon Valley:  Interesting locations within this area include an ancient cemetery in Dargavs, a restaurant named “Valley of the Sun,” and the small ex-mining town of Fiagdon. Nearly every place in the valley is worth visiting, outside of Fiagdon. The vampires control the town and have residences built inside the old mines. They have Renfields placed throughout the area, watching the roads and many restaurants nestled along the way. The Valley of the Sun is an obvious place for a trap and it is one! The entire staff are Renfields and eagerly await the arrival of anyone threatening their masters.
2.       Georgian Military Highway:  This highway connects Tbilisi, Georgia with Vladikavkaz, Russia. The highways is known for impatient drivers and the occasional random closing of the border post. The road is 130 miles long, crosses ridges and gorges, passes Mount Kazbek, a Georgian church, bottoms out in a canyon, and climbs up a pass to an altitude of 7815 feet. The road snakes along several rivers and past two medieval fortresses and a hydroelectric dam. This highway is an ideal location to place the home of the conspiracy. If not the home, then a definite outpost could be made of the Ananuri castle along the Aragvi River. Failing that, the highway is also a good means of traveling from Georgia to Russia. Vampires will who need to get from one to the other can travel by car or by boat. Agents on the run from the conspiracy could use the highway as a means of escape, but must beware the obviously controlled border crossing. Directors in need of a thriller chase sequence are encouraged to utilize this locale.
3.       Beslan School hostage crisis cemetery:  In September 2004, a three day hostage crisis occurred in the Beslan School. Over 1000 people were taken as hostages and more than two-thirds were children. Before the crisis was resolved, more than 380 people were dead, over half were children. The terrorists involved include Chechens and Ingushes. If local terrorists are related to the conspiracy, they may be using this cemetery as a meeting place or drop point. All flights into the Vladikavkaz International Airport fly over this location.

Author's Note:  This place has legs, lots of legs. If you are looking for an interesting place to set a game, I highly recommend looking into this area of the world. 

Beautiful scenery of the Georgian Military Highway


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