Tskhinvali (Georgian: ცხინვალი [t͡sxinvali] (listen); Ossetian: Цхинвал, translit. Tskhinval, Ossetian pronunciation: [t͡sχinˈväl]; Russian: Цхинва́л(и), tr. Tskhinvál(i), [tsxʲɪnˈval(ʲɪ)]) is a city in the cultural region of South Ossetia,Georgia Transcaucasia and the capital of the de facto independent Republic of South Ossetia (which has been recognised by the Russian Federation and four other UN member states) and the former Soviet Georgian South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast. The city had been administratively divided into the region (mkhare) of Shida Kartli by Georgia after the revocation of the autonomous oblast. It’s located on the Great Liakhvi River approximately 100 kilometres (62 mi) northwest of the Georgian capital Tbilisi.
Location of Tskhinvali
Tskhinvali (Shida Kartli)
|Country||South Ossetia (de facto)|
Georgia (de jure)
|• Total||7.4 km2 (2.9 sq mi)|
|Elevation||860 m (2,820 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC+3 (Moscow time)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+4 (Moscow summer time)|
The name of Tskhinvali is derived from the Old Georgian Krtskhinvali (Georgian: ქრცხინვალი), from earlier Krtskhilvani (Georgian: ქრცხილვანი), literally meaning "the land of hornbeams", which is the historical name of the city. See ცხინვალი for more.
From 1934 to 1961, the city was named Staliniri (Georgian: სტალინირი, Ossetian: Сталинир), which was compilation of Joseph Stalin's surname with Ossetian word "Ir" which means Ossetia. Modern Ossetians call the city Tskhinval (leaving off the final "i", which is a nominative case ending in Georgian); the other Ossetian name of the city is Chreba (Ossetian: Чъреба) which is only spread as a colloquial word.
The area around the present-day Tskhinvali was first populated back in the Bronze Age. The unearthed settlements and archaeological artifacts from that time are unique in that they reflect influences from both Iberian (east Georgia) and Colchian (west Georgia) cultures with possible Sarmatian elements.
Tskhinvali was first chronicled by Georgian sources in 1398 as a village in Kartli (central Georgia) though a later account credits the 3rd century AD Georgian king Aspacures II of Iberia with its foundation as a fortress. By the early 18th century, Tskhinvali was a small "royal town" populated chiefly by monastic serfs. Tskhinvali was annexed to the Russian Empire along with the rest of eastern Georgia in 1801. Located on a trade route which linked North Caucasus to Tbilisi and Gori, Tskhinvali gradually developed into a commercial town with a mixed Jewish, Georgian, Armenian and Ossetian population. In 1917, it had 600 houses with 38.4% Jews, 34.4% Georgians, 17.7% Armenians and 8.8% Ossetians.
The town saw clashes between Georgian People's Guard and pro-Bolshevik Ossetian peasants during the 1918-20 period, when Georgia gained brief independence from Russia. Soviet rule was established by the invading Red Army in March 1921, and a year later, in 1922, Tskhinvali was made a capital of the South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast within the Georgian SSR. Subsequently, the town became largely Ossetian due to intense urbanisation and Soviet Korenizatsiya ("nativization") policy which induced an inflow of the Ossetians from the nearby rural areas into Tskhinvali. It was essentially an industrial centre, with lumber mills and manufacturing plants, and had also several cultural and educational institutions such as a venerated Pedagogical Institute (currently Tskhinvali State University) and a drama theatre. According to the last Soviet census (in 1989), Tskhinvali had a population of 42,934, and according to the census of Republic of South Ossetia in 2015, the population was 30,432 people.
During the acute phase of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict, Tskhinvali was a scene of ethnic tensions and ensuing armed confrontation between Georgian and Ossetian forces. The 1992 Sochi ceasefire accord left Tskhinvali in the hands of Ossetians.
In late June, 2008 Russian military expert Pavel Felgenhauer predicted that Vladimir Putin would start a war against Georgia in Abkhazia and South Ossetia supposedly in August. The Kavkaz Center reported in early July that Chechen separatists had intelligence data that Russia was preparing a military operation against Georgia in August–September 2008 which mainly aimed to expel Georgian forces from the Kodori Gorge; this would be followed by the expulsion of Georgian military and population from South Ossetia.
At 8:00 am on 1 August, a Georgian police vehicle was blown up by an improvised explosive device on the road near Tskhinvali, injuring five Georgian policemen. In response, Georgian snipers assaulted some of the South Ossetian border checkpoints, killing four Ossetians and injuring seven.
Ossetian separatists began intensively shelling Georgian villages on 1 August, with a sporadic response from Georgian peacekeepers and other troops in the region. During the night of 1/2 August, grenades and mortar fire were exchanged. The number of Ossetian casualties rose to six and the number of injured to fifteen, including several civilians; the Georgian casualties were six injured civilians and one injured policeman.
The Russian deputy defence minister, Nikolay Pankov, had a secret meeting with the separatist authorities in Tskhinvali on 3 August. An evacuation of Ossetian women and children to Russia began on the same day. According to researcher Andrey Illarionov, the South Ossetian separatists evacuated more than 20,000 civilians, which represented more than 90 percent of the civilian population of the future combat zone.
On 4 August, South Ossetian president Eduard Kokoity said that about 300 volunteers had arrived from North Ossetia to help fight the Georgians and thousands more were expected from the North Caucasus. On 5 August, Georgian authorities organised a tour for journalists and diplomats to demonstrate the damage supposedly caused by separatists. That day, Russian Ambassador-at-Large Yuri Popov declared that his country would intervene on the side of South Ossetia. The destruction of the village of Nuli was ordered by South Ossetian interior minister Mindzaev. About 50 Russian journalists had arrived in Tskhnivali. They were waiting for "something to happen". A pro-government Russian newspaper reported on 6 August: "Don Cossacks prepare to fight in South Ossetia".
Mortar and artillery exchange between the South Ossetian and Georgian forces erupted in the afternoon of 6 August along almost the entire line of contact, which lasted until the dawn of 7 August. Exchanges resumed following a brief gap in the morning. At 14:00 on 7 August, two Georgian peacekeepers were killed in Avnevi as a result of Ossetian shelling. At about 14:30, Georgian tanks, 122 mm howitzers and 203 mm self-propelled artillery began heading towards South Ossetia to dissuade separatists from additional attacks. During the afternoon, OSCE monitors recorded Georgian military traffic, including artillery, on roads near Gori. In the afternoon, Georgian personnel left the Joint Peacekeeping Force headquarters in Tskhinvali.
Tskhinvali was shelled by the Georgian government on 8 August 2008 with BM-21 "Grad" mobile artillery rocket systems in an attempt to regain control over the breakaway republic of South Ossetia. After the bombings, the Georgian army invaded the city in an attempt to gain control on it. The Russian army responded on the following day by moving its own forces into the city and counterattacking the Georgian army. On 10 August Georgian forces pulled out of Tskhinvali, which was captured by the Russian army after intense fighting.
A considerable part of the population of South Ossetia (at least, 30,000 out of 70,000) fled into North Ossetia–Alania prior or immediately after the start of the war. However, many civilians were killed during the shelling and the following Battle of Tskhinvali (162 civilian deaths were documented by the Russian team of investigators and 365 - by the South Ossetian authorities). The town was heavily damaged during the battle. The Jewish Quarter — one of the town's unique neighbourhoods was also reported to be destroyed. Andrey Illarionov visited the town in October 2008, and reported that Jewish Quarter indeed was in ruins, though he observed that the ruins were overgrown with shrubs and trees, which indicates that the destruction took place during 1991–1992 South Ossetia War. However, Mark Ames, who was covering the last war for The Nation, stated that Tskhinvali's main residential district, nicknamed Shanghai because of its population density (it’s where most of the city’s high-rise apartment blocks are located), and the old Jewish Quarter, were completely destroyed.
Located in the Caucasus, at 860 metres (2,820 ft) above sea level, Tskhinvali has a humid continental climate (Köppen: Dfb), with an average annual precipitation of 805 millimetres (31.7 in). Summers are mild and winters are cold, with snowfalls.
Currently, Tskhinvali functions as the capital of South Ossetia. Before the 2008 war it had a population of approximately 30,000. The town remained significantly impoverished in the absence of a permanent political settlement between the two sides in the past two decades.
The city contains several monuments of medieval Georgian architecture, with the Kavti Church of St. George being the oldest one dating back to the 8th-10th centuries.
On August 21, 2008, a world-known Russian conductor and director of the Mariinsky Theatre, of Ossetian origin, Valery Gergiev conducted a concert near the ruined building of South Ossetian parliament in memory of the victims of the war in South Ossetia.
Tskhinvali is twinned with the following cities:
The 2011–12 Umaglesi Liga was the 23rd season of top-tier football in Georgia. It began on 6 August 2011 and ended on 21 May 2012. The league added two teams for this season, increasing its size from ten to twelve teams.
The league was won by Zestafoni, who successfully defended their title. Metalurgi Rustavi, Torpedo Kutaisi and Dila Gori qualified for the 2012–13 UEFA Europa League, while Spartaki Tskhinvali and Gagra were relegated.Bagata (village)
Bagata is a settlement in the Tskhinvali district/Gori Municipality of South Ossetia, Georgia.Battle of Tskhinvali
The Battle of Tskhinvali (Georgian: ცხინვალის ბრძოლა; Russian: Бои за Цхинвали) was a fight for the city of Tskhinvali, capital of South Ossetia. It was the only major battle in the Russo-Georgian War. Georgian ground troops entered the city on early 8 August 2008, after an artillery assault. Their advance was stopped by South Ossetian militia and members of the Russian peacekeeping force stationed in the city. Russian combat troops began entering South Ossetia through the Roki tunnel. After being initially forced to withdraw, the Georgian troops made several attempts to retake the city. Due to the difficult logistics of the terrain, the arrival of Russian reinforcements was slow. After fierce fighting, Georgian troops were finally forced to withdraw from the city on the evening of 10 August. On 11 August, all Georgian troops left South Ossetia. Parts of Tskhinvali were devastated in the three-day fighting.Dzuarikau–Tskhinvali pipeline
The Dzuarikau–Tskhinvali pipeline is a natural gas pipeline running from the village of Dzuarikau in North Ossetia to Tskhinvali, South Ossetia. Construction started in 2006, and gas supplies started in September 2009.FC Tskhinvali
FC Tskhinvali is a Georgian football club based in Gori. They play in the Erovnuli Liga 2, the second tier in Georgian football.
The name of the team was changed several times. As usual the name was FC Spartak. Tskhinvali is the new name for FC Tskhinvali, who withdrew in winter 2015.The original Spartaki Tskhinvali were founded in 1936, and during the time of the Soviet Union were a mainstay in the regional Georgian League, which was the fourth division in the Soviet league table. The club’s biggest success came in 1987 when they won the regional Georgian Cup.In 2005–06 FC Spartak Tskhinvali was based in Tengiz Burjanadze Stadium, Gori. Since January 2015 the team withdrew their name from FC Spartak to FC Tskhinvali.In the 2014/15 season, finishing 4th in the Georgian Premier League, FC Tskhinvali qualified to 2015–16 Europa League first qualifying round.Grubela
Grubela is a settlement in the Tskhinvali district of South Ossetia.Gudzhabauri
Gudzhabauri (Georgian: გუჯაბაური, Ossetian: Гудзабар) is a settlement in the Tskhinvali district of South Ossetia.History of the Jews in South Ossetia
Much of the early Jewish history in South Ossetia is similar to that of other Jewish communities in the Georgian region. At the same time, the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali was known for its sizable Georgian Jewish population, where the community had its own quarter.
In 1891, an Ashkenazi rabbi Avraham Khvolis moved to Tskhinvali from Lithuania. In Tskhinvali, Khvolis founded a school and synagogue, and he taught European rabbinical thought to Georgian Jews. Today, the synagogue Khvolis founded sits abandoned on a desolate street with what appears to be a hole from an artillery shell in its facade. On Sundays, Baptist services are held there.
According to the Soviet censuses of 1926 and 1939 there were about 2000 Jews in South Ossetia, all but a few in Tskhinvali. As late as 1926 almost a third of the town's inhabitants were Jews. Their number declined later as they moved to bigger cities of Soviet Union or emigrated to Israel or other countries. Most of the Jewish population fled South Ossetia for Israel and Georgia proper during the First Ossetian War in 1991. The remainder fled in advance of the 2008 war. Today, only one Jew remains in South Ossetia, a single elderly woman living in Tskhinvali.Java (town)
Java (Georgian: ჯავა [dʒɑvɑ] (listen); Ossetian: Дзау, Dzaw; Russian: Джава Dzhava) is a town of approximately 1,500 people in Georgia (in South Ossetia). According to Georgia's current official administrative division, Java is a main town of Java district in the north of Shida Kartli region. According to the South Ossetian side Dzau is an administrative center of Dzau district. The town is situated on the southern slopes of the Greater Caucasus, within the Greater Liakhvi Gorge, 1,040 m (3,412 ft) above sea level.
Java is the second largest urban settlement in South Ossetia, after Tskhinvali. It is located outside the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe-defined boundaries of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone – an area within a 15-km radius of Tskhinvali.The town played a major role in the 2008 South Ossetia war, with most of the South Ossetian military forces being located there at the time of the Georgian offensive. During the Battle of Tskhinvali, the government of South Ossetia relocated to Java.
Georgia had accused the Russian military of building a large military base in Java before the war. These concerns were brought by the President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, to the attention of the UN General Assembly on September 26, 2007. After the war, Russia announced it was constructing military bases in Java and Tskhinvali, which would be ready in 2010.Khodi
Khodi (Georgian: ხოდი, Ossetian: Ход) is a settlement in the Tskhinvali district of South Ossetia.Kroza
Kroza (Georgian: კროზა; Ossetian: Къроз, Qroz) is a settlement in the Tskhinvali district of South Ossetia.Kusireti
Kusireti is a settlement in the Tskhinvali district of South Ossetia.Kvasatali
Kvasatali is a settlement in the Tskhinvali district of South Ossetia.Kvemo-Achabeti
Kvemo-Achabeti is a settlement in the Tskhinvali district of South Ossetia.Russo-Georgian War
The Russo-Georgian War was a war between Georgia, Russia and the Russian-backed self-proclaimed republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The war took place in August 2008 following a period of worsening relations between Russia and Georgia, both formerly constituent republics of the Soviet Union. The fighting took place in the strategically important Transcaucasia region. It was regarded as the first European war of the 21st century.The Republic of Georgia declared its independence in early 1991 as the Soviet Union began to fall apart. Amidst this backdrop, a war between Georgia and separatists left parts of the former South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast under the de facto control of Russian-backed but internationally unrecognised separatists. Following the war, a joint peacekeeping force of Georgian, Russian, and Ossetian troops was stationed in the territory. A similar stalemate developed in the region of Abkhazia, where Abkhaz separatists had waged war in 1992–1993. Following the election of Vladimir Putin in Russia in 2000 and a pro-Western change of power in Georgia in 2003, relations between Russia and Georgia began to deteriorate, reaching a full diplomatic crisis by April 2008.
By 1 August 2008, South Ossetian separatists had begun shelling Georgian villages, with a sporadic response from Georgian peacekeepers in the area. Artillery attacks by pro-Russian separatists broke a 1992 ceasefire agreement. To put an end to these attacks and restore order, the Georgian Army was sent to the South Ossetian conflict zone on 7 August. Georgians took control of most of Tskhinvali, a separatist stronghold, in hours. Russian troops had illicitly crossed the Russo-Georgian state border and advanced into the South Ossetian conflict zone by 7 August before the Georgian military response.Russia accused Georgia of "aggression against South Ossetia", and launched a big land, air and sea invasion of Georgia on 8 August with the pretext of "peace enforcement" operation. Russian and South Ossetian forces fought Georgian forces in and around South Ossetia for several days, until Georgian forces retreated. Russian and Abkhaz forces opened a second front by attacking the Kodori Gorge held by Georgia. Russian naval forces blockaded part of the Georgian coast. The Russian air force attacked targets beyond the conflict zone, in undisputed parts of Georgia. This was the first war in history in which cyber warfare coincided with military action. An information war was also waged during and after the conflict. Nicolas Sarkozy, the President of France, which had the presidency of the European Union, negotiated a ceasefire agreement on 12 August.
Russian forces temporarily occupied the Georgian cities of Zugdidi, Senaki, Poti and Gori, holding on to these areas beyond the ceasefire. The South Ossetians destroyed most ethnic Georgian villages in South Ossetia and were responsible for an ethnic cleansing of Georgians. Russia recognised the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia from Georgia on 26 August and the Georgian government severed diplomatic relations with Russia. Russia mostly completed its withdrawal of troops from undisputed parts of Georgia on 8 October. Russian international relations were largely unharmed. The war displaced 192,000 people and while many returned to their homes after the war, 20,272 people, mostly ethnic Georgians, remained displaced as of 2014. Since the war, Russia has occupied Abkhazia and South Ossetia in violation of the ceasefire agreement of August 2008.South Ossetia
South Ossetia (, less commonly ), officially the Republic of South Ossetia – the State of Alania, or the Tskhinvali Region, is a disputed territory in the South Caucasus, in the northern part of the internationally recognised Georgian territory. It has a population of 53,000 people who live in an area of 3,900 km2, south of the Russian Caucasus, with 30,000 living in Tskhinvali. The separatist polity, Republic of South Ossetia (or the State of Alania), is recognised as a state by Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Nauru, and Syria. While Georgia lacks control over South Ossetia, the Georgian government and most members of the United Nations consider the territory part of Georgia, whose constitution designates the area as "the former autonomous district of South Ossetia", in reference to the former Soviet autonomous oblast disbanded in 1990.Georgia does not recognise the existence of South Ossetia as a political entity, and therefore its territory does not correspond to any Georgian administrative area (although Provisional Administrative Entity of South Ossetia was created by the Georgian authorities as a transitional measure leading to the settlement of South Ossetia's status), with most of the territory included into Shida Kartli region. The area is often informally referred to as the legally undefined Tskhinvali Region in Georgia and in international organisations when neutrality is deemed necessary.
South Ossetia declared independence from the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1991. The Georgian government responded by abolishing South Ossetia's autonomy and trying to re-establish its control over the region by force. The crisis escalation led to the 1991–92 South Ossetia War. Georgian fighting against those controlling South Ossetia occurred on two other occasions, in 2004 and 2008. The latter conflict led to the Russo–Georgian War, during which Ossetian and Russian forces gained full de facto control of the territory of the former South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast. In the wake of the 2008 war, Georgia and a significant part of the international community consider South Ossetia to be occupied by the Russian military.
South Ossetia relies heavily on military, political and financial aid from Russia.South Ossetia, Transnistria, Artsakh, and Abkhazia are sometimes referred to as post-Soviet "frozen conflict" zones.Tbeti
Tbeti (Georgian: ტბეთი Tbeti, Ossetian: Тъыбет, Russian: Тбет) is a settlement in the Tskhinvali district of South Ossetia, Georgia. It is located 2 kilometers west of Tskhinvali.Tskhinvali District
Tskhinvali District (Georgian: ცხინვალის რაიონი; Ossetian: Цхинвалы район) is a district of South Ossetia. The district consists of the lower part of Greater Liakhvi valley, where Tskhinvali itself is located, and of the less-populated valleys of Smaller Liakhvi and Mejuda rivers.Zemo-Monasteri
Zemo-Monasteri is a settlement in the Tskhinvali district of South Ossetia, a region of Georgia whose sovereignty is disputed.
|Climate data for Tskhinvali|
|Average high °C (°F)||1.9
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−2.6
|Average low °C (°F)||−7.1
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||46
|Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia|
|Autonomous Republic of Adjara|
|Cities with local government|
1 Capital. 2 Former village.
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