An aul (Turkic: awıl) is a type of fortified village found throughout the Caucasus mountains, especially in Dagestan. The auls of Svanetia (in the Republic of Georgia), with their distinctive medieval towers, have been recognized as a World Heritage Site. Comparable towers may be found elsewhere in the Caucasus, specifically in Ingushetia.
The auls are generally built out of stone, on faces of ridges or against cliffs in order to guard themselves against surprise attacks. Houses are usually two stories high, and they were staggered to make it virtually impossible for enemies to get anywhere on the roads. The houses usually have a southern aspect to take advantage of the sun in the winter and to be sheltered from the northern winds. Often, they are not located near good farmland or water sources, so it is necessary to bring water into the settlement.