Vladikavkaz (Russian: Владикавказ; IPA: [vlədʲɪkɐfˈkas], lit. ruler of the Caucasus; Ossetic: Дзæуджыхъæу, Dzæwdžyqæw, lit. Dzaug’s settlement) is the capital city of the Republic of North Ossetia–Alania, Russia. It is located in the southeast of the republic at the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains, situated on the Terek River. Population: 311,693 (2010 Census); 315,068 (2002 Census); 300,198 (1989 Census). Vladikavkaz is one of the most populous cities in the North Caucasus.
The city is an industrial and transportation center. Manufactures include processed zinc and lead, machinery, chemicals, clothing, and food products.
The city was founded in 1784 as a fortress during the Russian conquest of the Caucasus and was for many years the main Russian military base in the region. The Georgian Military Highway, crossing the mountains, was constructed in 1799 to link the city with Georgia to the south, and in 1875 a railway was built to connect it to Rostov-on-Don and Baku in Azerbaijan. Vladikavkaz has become an important industrial center for the region, with smelting, refining, chemicals and manufacturing industries.
From 1931 to 1944 and from 1954 to 1990, its name in both Russian and Ossetic languages was Ordzhonikidze (Орджоники́дзе) (after Sergo Ordzhonikidze, a Georgian Bolshevik), and from 1944 to 1954 it was officially called Dzaudzhikau (Дзауджика́у) in Russian and Dzæwdžyqæw (Дзæуджыхъæу) in Ossetic. Vladikavkaz resumed its old Russian name, in 1990, shortly before the dissolution of the Soviet Union; the official Ossetic name was reverted to Dzæwdžyqæw.
Vladikavkaz was fought over in both the Russian Civil War and World War II. In February 1919, the anti-Communist Volunteer Army under General Anton Denikin seized the city, before being expelled by the Red Army in March 1920. In November 1942, the forces of Nazi Germany tried unsuccessfully to seize the city but were repelled.
In 1999, 2008, and 2010, Vladikavkaz was a target of bombings.
On November 26, 2008, Vitaly Karayev, the mayor of Vladikavkaz was killed by an unknown gunman. On December 31, 2008, his successor, Kazbek Pagiyev, was also killed by unknown gunmen