The village of Dargavs, also known as the ‘City of the Dead’ is considered one of the creepiest places in Russia — sitting on the graves of 10,000 bodies. The ancient cemetery, where people who lived in the valley buried their loved ones along with their clothes and belongings, contains almost 100 ancient stone crypts. Some sources say the oldest of the crypts dates back to the 12th century. The cemetery is located on the slope of a hill overlooking the verdant Fiagdon River valley with several cliffs and 4,000 m peaks looming above.
‘City of the Dead’ is considered one of the creepiest places in Russia — sitting on the graves of 10,000 bodies
It was discovered that the bodies inside the crypts were buried in wooden structures resembling boats with few of their belongings. One explanation is that it was believed that the departed soul had to cross a river in order to get to heaven. Another interesting fact is that there are wells in front of each crypt. Many coins have been found in the ground near the complex and it is said that when the Ossetians buried their dead, they dropped a coin in the well. If it happened to hit a stone at the bottom, that meant that the soul of the dead had reached heaven.
The necropolis, located on a hillside outside the village, looks like a small village itself. The crypts have ridged curved roofs which rise in a 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. The walls are made of stone blocks and mortared with most likely lime or clay-lime. In the walls are square holes to place the dead bodies in the crypt. On the inside of the crypts, there is a pointed groin vault complex supporting the roof, though, on the smaller ones, these are pointed barrel vaults. The bigger crypts can be 2–4 stories high.