- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
73

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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IV
OVER THE CAUCASUS
73
At Passanaur the White Aragva, coming from the
north and north-west, joins the Black Aragva,
coming from the mountains in the north-east.
The names for the colours of these streams are due
to the mud carried down by them, which again
varies with the nature of the ground. If the rocks
are hard, the water is clear, and the stream gets a
dark look from its bed and its depth, and is called
black or dark; if the rocks are softer the water
carries mud along with it of the colour of the rocks.
Wc drove north and north-west along the left
bank of the White Aragva, which came foaming
down towards us at the bottom of the green forest
clad valley. The villages are still mainly Georgian,
but also partly Ossete on the west side of the valley,
which latter strikes one at once as being poorer.
Wc drove on steadily at a good speed up along
the valley, the road steadily rising. High up on
the steep slopes on the west side of the valley hung
Ossete villages with old defence towers. It is so
steep up there that hay and crops must be carried
on the back or in sleds. When villages were built
on such inaccessible spots it was mainly for defence ;
fortified as they were with towers, they were not
easy to take. The conditions were hard: there was
always fighting, always defence against attacks and
robbery, always heavy toil besides—such was the
life of these mountain tribes.

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