On 1 September, 2004 more than 1,100 parents and children arrived at school No 1 in Beslan, many carrying flowers for their teachers, a tradition on the first day of the term. They were greeted by heavily armed Islamic separatist gunmen, mostly Chechen, who held them for three days, killing many of the male hostages.
In a bloody climax on 3 September, more than 330 people died in a series of explosions and firefights, but it is still not clear what sparked the carnage. Many surviving hostages blame local officials for failing to stop the gunmen reaching Beslan, and for allowing the tense stand-off to end in a bloodbath.
Once a sleepy town of around 35,000 in North Ossetia on the border with mainly Muslim Chechnya, where Russia has fought two wars against separatists, Beslan has become synonymous with the masscare, and its residents say they still live in fear.
IBTimesUK looks back at the horrific events that unfolded ten years ago.