Vladikavkaz (vlədyēˈkävkäz) [key], city (1989 pop. 300,000), capital of North Ossetia-Alania, SE European Russia, on the Terek River and at the northern foot of the Caucasus. It is the starting point of the Georgian Military Road as well as an industrial center with an electric zinc smelter, lead and silver refineries, chemical plants, food-processing factories, and industries producing chemicals, motors, tractor equipment, clothing, and textiles. The population is Russian, Ossetian, Armenian, and Georgian. Founded in 1784 as a fortress during the Russian conquest of the Caucasian region, it was long the military and political center of Russia in the Caucasus. It was made the capital of the Gorskaya (Mountain People's) ASSR in 1921, which in 1936 became the North Ossetian ASSR. It was renamed Ordzhonikidze in 1932, Dzaudzhikau in 1944, again Ordzhonikidze in 1954, and once again Vladikavkaz in 1990. The famous Kazbek Peak rises just above the city. The city has a university, a mining institute, and other institutions of higher learning.