Fodor's Tzalmir

published in the Year of the Empire 999

According to legend, the City of Kings was founded at the Center of the Land by the first True Man not long after the Gods created the six races of Men. It was intended to be a place where Men of all races could live together and learn from each other. Hence, the Imperial Library, the oldest building in the Land, dominates the center of the City, at the place of honor next to the Imperial Palace. Originally, Tzalmir properly referred only to the city of the True Men, with the five cities of the First Men surrounding it (the Undermen chose not to advertise their communities). Eventually the spaces between were built up, and the distinction between the districts became more one of custom.

During the Wars of Ambition most of the city was destroyed by fire, and when it was rebuilt the distinctive qualities of the districts of the First Men were exaggerated in a display of nationalism. After the founding of the Empire, the regions outside the city wall were developed, and the wall itself is pierced by many streets, although the original gates and towers remain. In the district of the Summer Men, the walls have mostly crumbled to rubble, while the Men of Valor steadfastly maintain the walls of the Citadel, the eastern district, which is also walled off from the other districts of the city and surrounded by a wide moat. (Further, the nine interior sections are walled, so each can be held against attack if its neighbors are captured)

The northern walls and the Hengmir Gate itself were dismantled by the Gray Men when at some point it was decided to enlarge the Grid, the northern district. Ironically, the same fate befell the southern wall and the Neffik Gate as they were haphazardly dismantled to further the perpetual reconstruction in the Maze. A word of caution must be issued concerning a visit to this district: be very careful not to get lost. The Maze cannot be accurately mapped on paper, as bridges, tunnels, ladders, ropes, and even more confusing structures are at least as common as streets, and are built and dismantled constantly. Travel at night or under the influence is most highly discouraged. The residents also delight in confusing visitors, so travel directions should be viewed with caution. When with no other option, travel over the rooftops while sighting on the Hill will probably get you out of the Maze.

The street plan of the Grid, on the other hand, is logical and concise. However, those who are not naturally of a logical and concise nature must pay close attention to all information. There are eight intersections of First Street and Fourth Street. If you don't know whether you want to go to East First Street and North Fourth Street, or South First Street and East Fourth Street, asking for directions will not help you. The Gray Men who live in the Grid look with derision upon visitors who do not pay attention to this simple fact.

The grand Cathedrals of Anz, Nirian, Krakall the High One, and Shagras lie at the respective centers of their districts, in some cases quite literally, as the street patterns in the Grid and the Citadel are centered on the Temples; and The Grand Street, as it winds its way around and up the Hill, terminates at the plaza of the Temple of the High One. The High Temple also displays one of the largest public collections of artwork in the Land (although the finest work of the Imperial period is typically found at government facilities, and sculpture depicting the Emperor is nigh ubiquitous in public spaces). Geskekelud has no Temple, or perhaps he has several. It depends on the whims of the priests today. The Unnamed Lord is represented at the Cathedral of the Last Doorway, which guards the main entrance to the Necropolis, located along the outside of the original wall near the Valley Gate. While the Cathedrals of Tzalmir may not be as important as the Home Temples in the Ring Province capitals, they are typically more interesting, as each Church proclaims here why their God is greatest. The Garden of the Mother of Mothers, surrounding the White Cathedral, displays the most beautiful plants from across the Land; while the Red Temple is host to ceremonial martial contests of all kinds, for the glory of Maiden of the Axe.

The Empire also maintains six Shrines to the Gods in the Imperial district, and six Chapels within the Palace itself. The former are available to all citizens (although note that the Shrine of Geskekelud is not often attended by a priest), but the latter are open only to distinguished visitors on Imperial business. The Imperial district is of course home to the Great Library, the Street of the Flags, the Imperial University, the College of Mages, the Bardic College, and the most prestigious taverns, clubs and theaters, as well as the public nonnig facility.

The finest products from around the Empire are brought to Tzalmir for the convenience of the prestigious residents. The goods sold at the Imperial Market are always of the finest quality, but are extremely costly due to the expense of transportation via nonnig. The finest produce, transported by more conventional means, is available at the Farmers' Market at the Gal Sidar Gate. The outer market is slightly less convenient, so for that reason the best values can be found there.

The best martial equipment outside Gri-Ennis and the Vath is sold at the Weaponsmiths' Market in the Citadel, although visitors are unlikely to be allowed purchase of the material of the most high quality. A severe warning is in order at this point not to haggle with the merchants in the Citadel. In addition, solicitation of martial contracts within the Citadel is considered extremely insulting, and can result in participation in an extemporaneous duel, of which challenge might not be given prior. Such business can be more safely conducted immediately outside the Dalos Gate.

Goods both practical and decorative can be found at the Artisans' Market, at the base of the Hill where The Grand Street meets the Pirtos Road and the Highland Street. Most of these goods are produced locally, so if you want something in particular, a trip to the craftsmen's shops on the Hill can often produce better results. The neigborhood of the Artisans' Market is also populated with many fine inns frequented by some of the most prestigious bard and musicians. Goods of all sorts are also sold in the many squares throughout the city, although typically of a more mundane quality.