If you happen to be driving along the Ossetian Military Road, you will most certainly notice this monument. Dressed in a white cloak, this cavalryman is known to Ossetians as Nykhas Uastyrdzhi (Ossetian name of St. George). Nykhas Uastyrdzhi is the patron Saint of men, travelers, and warriors. Saint George is looking down as if waiting for the right moment to come down from the Heaven and help those who are in need and sorrow.
According to legend, St. Hetag (also Khetag), the son of a Kabardian Muslim prince, converted to Christianity and had to flee from those who wanted to force him to turn back to Islam. As his pursuers were about to catch up with him, he prayed for help in an open field, and the forest descended from the mountain slopes to conceal him. Upon seeing this miracle, Hetag’s enemies fled, and Hetag consecrated the grove to Uastyrdzhi. The grove is made up of ash and beech trees and covers just under 13 hectares. The Nykhas Uastyrdzhi monument is located a few kilometers from the Hetag’s Grove.
Back in 2013, the monument was nominated to be the visual symbol of Russia.
Location: Alagir, Republic of North Ossetia–Alania, Russia.