Darial - Encyclopedia




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DARIAL, a gorge in the Caucasus, at the east foot of Mt. Kasbek, pierced by the river Terek for a distance of 8 m. between vertical walls of rock (5900 ft.). It is mentioned in the Georgian annals under the names of Ralani, Dargani, Darialani; the Persians and Arabs knew it as the Gate of the Alans; Strabo calls it Porta Caucasica and Porta Cumana; Ptolemy, Porta Sarmatica; it was sometimes known as Portae Caspiae (a name bestowed also on the "gate" or pass beside the Caspian at Derbent); and the Tatars call it Darioly. Being the only available passage across the Caucasus, it has been fortified since a remote period - at least since 150 B.C. In Russian poetry it has been immortalized by Lermontov. The present Russian fort, Darial, which guards this section of the Georgian military road, is at the northern issue of the gorge, at an altitude of 4746 ft.

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