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The Republic of South Ossetia is a Caucasian country whose capital is Tskhinvali. With the disintegration of the Soviet Union, it declared its independence in 1990. Only a few countries recognized the independence of the Ossetians, who, until the Russian intervention in 2008, remained under Georgian rule, and the country is still internationally considered to be a part of Georgia. The distance between the capitals of South Ossetia, which, like Abkhazia, has a controversial position, and Georgia, is only 100 kilometers. The Ossetian people, who live in steep green valleys, have a language similar to the Yaghnobi language in Tajikistan. Native epics are among the most important parts of their culture. The Simd dance of the epic Nart heroes, is a tradition that is kept alive to this day.