The city of Achrida is nestled among the cliffs and steep slopes that line the western shore of Lake Achrida in the Empire of Makhaira. It is the capital of the Imperial province of Dassaretum Province. Its current governor is Andreas Taronites.
It was originally founded by Zupan Vedrana Tomic of the Dassaretae in 138 MG, one of two tribes to live in the region in ancient times. The Enchelei, the other tribe, has competed with the Dassaretae for supremacy for as long as anyone can remember.
Vedrana chose the location because it is essentially at the junction of the North Road and the Kopayalitsa, two large caravan routes. Also, it lies at one of the few convenient places on Lake Achrida where a port could be built.
Initially, this port allowed Achrida to take advantage of the lake's rich fishing opportunities. However, Lake Achrida is the westernmost of a series of lakes stretching many leagues to the east, culminating in Lake Kopayev. Over the centuries, Makhaira's emperors built a series of canals to connect those lakes. Boats on these lakes replaced the caravans on the Kopayalitsa, so while the land route fell out of use, its demise actually strengthened Achrida's position. Now it is one of the most important trading centers in the Empire, with routes stretching across the lakes to Anzhedonev in the east, through the western edge of Periaslavl all the way up to Kvivik, the capital of Svellheim, to Lezh in the west, and Basilopolis to the south. Since those cities are also major trading centers in their own right, much of Shijuren's trade goes through Achrida at some point or another.
Because of its strategic position, it Vedrana first built a hillfort overlooking what would become harbor. Over the centuries, zupans and governors expanded that fort and now it is the imposing fortress named Samiel's Castle.
Geographically, it slopes down from a series of ridges to the west, each getting progressively smaller as they slope down to the lake. Ridges to the north and south project into the city along the shoreline. Several small streams feed down into the lake through the city.
Trade Road is the most important road in Achrida. It bisects the city north to south, and many of Achrida's most important locations lie along that route. For example, the Imperial building, home to both the governor of Dassaretum province and the Imperial bureaucracy in the city, lies along the Trade Road at Heartsquare.
The walls to the west, generally superfluous given the difficult terrain of the mountain ridges on that side, are perforated with small gates here and there as the city burrowed into the small spaces in those ridges and under the western hills. Also, beneath Samiel's Castle is a series of salt mines that now serve as the Archives of Achrida, one of several repositories of the Empire.
The city is filled with shrines and chapels. It is reputed to have a different place to pray for each day of the year and more. While no one has an actual count of the gods and godlings worshiped in Achrida, the prevalence of religious buildings suggests the reputation might be true. Two of the most important deities worshiped here are Naum Gropa and Panteleimon Mrnjavcevic.
The original two tribes still form the bulk of the population. Theoretically, the city is governed by the Imperial governor of Dassaretae, but in practice, the rulers of the Enchelei and Dassaretae are the actual rulers.
The Grain District is a neighborhood in the southeastern part of the city. It was once the home of many warehouses focused on distributing wheat, barley, oats, and other such crops. The Golden Sea inn is here.
The Leskajca is a neighborhood in the southern part of the city. It runs along one of the central ridges and is known for having a high proportion of shrines and temples. It is also the home of the Gods' Truce inn and tavern.
It was named after the Leskanovic family, whose mansions once dominated the neighborhood.
The Litica is a neighborhood in the eastern part of the city. It is a bluff that runs along Lake Achrida. It is a wealthy neighborhood and many mansions take advantage of its view over the lake. This also includes the Milos's Mare, an upscale tavern overlooking the lake.
The Periferiea is a neighborhood in the central part of the city. It is fairly poor, but not a slum.
The Senka is a neighborhood in the northwest part of the city. It lies outside the city walls, in their shadow so to speak, hence the name Senka. It is a dangerous, poor, and corrupt part of town, dominated by Tresinova's Treasure brothel, which is run by Katarina Kopanja, the kraljevic. One reaches this district via a series of passages in the western wall and buildings next to it.
See Stracara for a larger description.
See the Five Serpents for a larger description.