Alice Smith

Angusht and Saniba Gorge: The Birthplace of the Ingush and the Nart-Ortskhoi Saga


Angusht is a little settlement from which the Ingush received their name, but in 1845 the Russian Empire sent Cossacks to settle there, changing the name to Tarskoe Selo. Since then the Ingush only long for the return of their land. In 1944 the Ingush and Chechens were deported to Kazakhstan and their land was occupied by Georgians and Ossetians. On their return in 1957, the Georgians returned to Georgia but the Ossetians refused to give up the fruitful land they occupied for thirteen years and after the collapse of the Soviet Union Tarskoe Selo formally became part of the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania. This land dispute led to a bitter conflict in 1992. Saniba gorge is also presently in North Ossetia and is believed to be the birthplace of the heroes from the Nart Saga, a mythology shared by nearly all the Caucasian nationalities: Kabardinians, Balkars, Adyghes, Ossetians, Chechens and Ingush. The latter two go under the common name of Vainakhs or Nakhs. The Nakh version is also known as the Nart-Ortskhoi Saga. Mythology is the deeply buried subconscious of a nation; therefore, it is debatable whether that subconscious can ever be wiped out by merely changing the names of places. By investigating some fragments related to Angusht and the Saniba gorge we will embark on a journey into the distant past and memory of the Nakh.


Born in South Africa and graduated from North West University in Potchefstroom in 1992, specialising in English literature. In 2019 acquired a Masters Degree in Russian Literature at North Ossea State University. Presently, studying for PhD at the Chechen State Pedagogical University in Grozny. Research topic is the “Studying the Geographical Locaon of the Nart-Ortskhoi and some Ancient Nart Monuments”.

Research Material

Presentation Paper