The former autonomous district of South Ossetia is located on the southern side of the Central Caucasus. It borders to the north on the Russian Federation, to the east on the Kazhbegi and Dusheti, to the south on Kaspi, Gori, Kareli and Khashuri, and to the west-Sachkhere and Oni districts.
South Ossetia covers an area of about 3,800 km2 ( 5,4% of the territory of Georgia). There are four administrative districts there: Znauri, Akhalgori, , Tskhinvali and Java. And with one city ( Tskhinvali) under the district.
The number of Ossetians residing in Georgia was 164, 000 till 1990. According to the census in 2002, there were only 38,000 Ossetians ( except the estimates of the former autonomous district of South Ossetia).
The Ossetian language is part of the northern Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages family and has two dialects- Iron and Digor. With the Anthropological point of view, Ossetians are typical Caucasians.
Ossetians are mainly settled on the territory of the former autonomous district of South Ossetia in Georgia (as well, in the different districts of Georgia), in Russian Federation (North Ossetia), as well in different countries and cities.
Religion: According to some source, the part of Ossetians converted to Christianity in the epoch of apostles, I-II centuries. The apostle Andrea was the first, who preached the gospel in the country of "SkviTebi".
Ossetians became Christian, under the Byzantine and Georgian influences. In the 10th century, Christianity became the official religion of Ossetia. The part of Digor Ossetians under the influence of the neighboring Kabard people, converted to Islam in XVII-XVIII centuries. Nowadays The vast majority of the Ossetians are Orthodox Christians, there is also a significant Sunni Muslim minority. Old folk-beliefs still remain in evidence among the Ossetians.
According to some scientists, Ossetians were settled in Georgia in the ancient time, approximately .III-IV or VI-Vll centuries. And Some consider that their arrival in Georgia was connected to the epoch of Mongol invasions (XII-XIV cc.). As for the Russian and Georgian scientists, some of them think that Ossetians settled in Georgia in XVI-XVII centuries, though it's worth noting that there are historical materials about the earlier settlement of Ossetians in Georgia.
Script: Ossetians are renowned for their folklore. Nartebi's fabulous world, legends of "Tsartsiatebi", stories of Darejani's sons and other specimens of folklore take the important place in Ossetians' lives.
The ancient written source was found later. In 1888 near the river Zhelenchuki (Karachay-Cherkessia) D. Strukov found the inscription of the Zhelenchuki gravestone (in Greek) made in 941.
First translations were made by Father Gregory (Father Superior) on the basis of Georgian alphabet during 1747-1753. These were the first manuscripts, the books (ecclesiastical) in Ossetian language.
Missioner and Enlightener, the bishop of Mozhdok, Gai Takaevi ( Gaioz the Rector -1746-1819), together with Pavle Gentsaurov (kesaev) created the Ossetian alphabet on the basis of ecclesiastical Cyrillic alphabet. "The primary teaching of Theology" translated by Gaiozh from Georgian to Ossetian language was published in 1798 and was the first printed book. Though, there is source, that Ossetian book was first published in 1753.
The further development of the Ossetian Script is as follows: Ioane Ialghuzhidze (Gabaraevi-1770-1830), created the Ossetian alphabet on the basis of Georgian graph, which was used in South, as well in North Ossetia. A.Shegren created the grammer of Ossetian language on the basis of Russian version. From 1923 a version of the Latin alphabet was used to write the language, from 1938 till 1954 a version of the Georgian alphabet was used to write Ossetian, ,which was changed by the alphabet under the Russian language in 1954 and is still in use.
In Georgian Constitution, the region is defined as "The former autonomous district of South Ossetia" (in some formal documents as-"Tskhinvali Region, or " Tskhinvali Region ( The "former autonomous district of South Ossetia).
The Separatist Authorities declared its independence from Georgia in 1990 under the name-Soviet Democratic Republic of South Ossetia". The Georgian Supreme Court abolished South Ossetia's autonomous status ( on 10th December, 1990), and the territory was separated to the districts of Akhalgori, Gori, Java, Kareli, Oni and Sachkhere.
In 1991-1992, war hostilities began in the region. From 1992, (Sochi agreement) joint forces of peacekeepers were set up.
After the War in 2008 between Russia-Georgia, the whole territory of the region is under the control of Russian Occupation Army.
On 23 October, 2008, The Parliament of Georgia adopted the law "on the Occupied Territory", signed by the president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili on 31th October.