Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Forgotten Lands: Gurye

Kingdom of Gurye

Capital: Baracet
Population: 15,650,000 (2001 estimate)
Area: 109,060 km2
Independence: 9th Century

Economy: A relatively underdeveloped industrial sector produces mostly for the domestic market; major exports include bicycles, agricultural equipment, and solid wood furniture. Agricultural exports include pears, almonds, oats, and hay.
Per Capita Income: US$18,660
Languages: Ratash
Literacy Rate: 97%

At its peak in the Seventh Century, the ancient Guryean Empire stretched nearly 1000 miles from the An Pûr River on the western border to the Arkravian Mountains on the east. Unusually, modern Gurye shares no land in common with its classical ancestor state. Weakened by infighting among aristocratic clans with rival ambitions to the imperial throne, the Empire contracted and finally dissolved during the Eighth and Ninth Centuries. Beset by the nomadic horsemen of the expansionist Empire of Kyr, the Guryeans migrated westward across the An Pûr to their modern homeland on the Ailandian Plan.

Ratash, the language of Gurye, has changed so little over the centuries that modern Guryens are able to read the epic poems describing these events in their original form. Most citizens are deeply invested in their national past; Ghandi, who studied law in Gurye as a young man, held that “in a Guryean you find a man who knows more about the events of the Ninth Century than of his own.” This deep investment in national history and identity may explain the lack of any significant sentiment within Gurye for joining modern transnational bodies like the European Union.

Its lack of significant strategic importance allowed Gurye to escape the upheavals of the 20th Century with only minor changes to its borders. The capital and largest city, Baracet, boasts a quietly thriving tourist district in the beautifully preserved mediaeval town center. Halberd-wielding soldiers in full regalia still walk a vigil on the walls of the massive castle, now the national museum, around which Baracet was originally built. Potential visitors are warned, however, that the city offers little resembling nightlife, and after sundown the streets have a distinctively abandoned feel to them.

Flag: Two lions, rampant, menace each other on a yellow field framed top and bottom with horizontal stripes of maroon red. The banner dates to the Twelfth Century; the lions represent two competing families that, after decades of contending for the throne, unified themselves in a political marriage in 1184. It was originally the private banner of Otto II, the emperor whose accession was made possible by this event, but gradually came to represent the nation as a whole over the course of his long and successful reign.

National Anthem: “Stir to Glory, Men of Gurye.”


Eavan said...

Ooh, I want to visit here! They sound very sedate -- and must have an unusually modest monarchy, as I have not seen mention of Guryean exploits in Hola!

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Their military consists of two lions, but they can't get them to stop fighting each other.

Oh, and I want to learn the language of Ratash.

Dug said...

Seems like a flag you might refer to as "fussy" - unless maybe you had designed it yourself.