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South Ingushetia: Erzi and Olgeti
April 23, 2017 16:49


The translated word “Erzi” means “Eagle”. “In bad weather, when the whole lower part of the Armkhi Valley is closed with clouds, the towers of Erzi remind only of an Eagle’s nest” - the historian and regional ethnographer Batyr Malsagov writes in his book “In the Land of Towers and Legends”.

The medieval tower complex of Erzi is located in South Ingushetia, in Dzheirakhsky district, opposite to the village of Olgeti. Nine martial towers that are surprisingly well-preserved and reach the sky above the Armkhi River, stand on a mountain slope. Eight of them form a defensive ring around the village, the ninth stands at the entrance to the mountain village.

There are 2 semi-martial and 20 residential towers with various annexes between them. Ancient structures are surrounded by stone walls. The towers and walls are composed mainly of river boulders. Tower constructions do not have any foundations: they stand directly on the rocks - the mainland.

A distinctive feature of Erzi is the presence of a well-preserved five-storey martial tower rising up to the castle rock crowning the roof. The height of a martial tower reaches 25-30 meters; the width of a wall at its foot is 6 meters. The location of Erzi is also impressive: it is located on a rocky terrace covered with grass with only severe bare rocks standing behind the settlement.


The settlement of Olgeti located opposite to Erzi is noteworthy in its own way. It seems to be the first Russian locality with the street named after the President Vladimir Putin.

The second street of the settlement consisting of forty houses remains nameless (they wanted to name it in honor of the former President of Ingushetia Zyazikov, but the proposal was rejected). Putina Street is not just flattery, but gratitude of the local people to the Federal Government.

In June 2002 the River of Armhi flooded and erased the old settlement of Olgeti from the face of the Earth. Thanks to the help from the government, the new settlement of Olgeti have been built in two months, farther away from the river. The neat brick cottages for each family, the paved street, almost total absence of sheds and annexes to cottages that would hardly fit in between the houses standing close to each other… It is strange to see a village cooperative characteristic of Moscow Oblast in the mountainous Ingushetia.


Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Ingushetia     

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