Fontjäna

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Fontjäna is a coastal city in south-western Karolia. It is the capital of the state of Fontjänamaa and has a population of 354,280. The city is noted for its harbour, university and historic centre. The river Fonta reaches the sea here.

History

A permanent settlement around the mouth of the river Fonta has been found dating from the late Bronze Age. The earliest record of a name for the city is from the second century AD where it is given as Vediicz. The name Fontjäna derives from the medieval Karolian 'Fonta Jänas' meaning 'the capital of St John' and was spelt Fontasjäna until the eighteenth century. The city had been built as a fortified town by the river, both for seafaring purposes and as an adjunct to a small castle a few miles inland (still extant but much altered).

With the expansion of overseas trade in medieval times the town quickly developed into a major port. Wool could be farmed on the inland slopes, transported by river to mills and exported from the town in a short timeframe. Fontjäna grew very rich on the taxes and profits from the trade and built many elaborate buildings as a sign of its prestige. Lumber was also exported from here, albeit on a smaller scale.

Fontjäna is unusual amongst the medieval Karolian states in being a republic almost for the entirety of its history. The early line of kings was deposed during the Wars of the Baronacies (which otherwise had relatively little impact on the city other than a slight reduction in trade) after the young king Taam III died fighting for Jorva without leaving an heir in 1457. A regent could not be found from any other state due to the difficultly in communication and travel during the war and so a 'temporary' Council of Elders was established to rule whilst a new monarch was found. The Council, largely made up of wealthy merchants and nobles involved in the wool trade, quickly realised that a republic was more favourable to their needs than a monarchy (taxes could be charged by the town and re-invested rather than pay for a king) and so made only show efforts to re-establish one. Eventually the Council was reformed to be led by an Elector, but without hereditary succession. This essentially established the model for all states in the Republic of Karolia 350 years later.

Attractions and institutions

Old Town

Fontjäna has one of the best preserved medieval city centres in Karolia. The main buildings of interest are the Guildhall, Church of St Cecilia, Market and Library as well as the later Town Hall (Varashus).

Guildhall

The Guildhall in its current form was built in 1454 as a symbol of the power of the power of the city guilds and as a meeting place. It was subject to several modifications over the centuries: a tower was added in 1602, and the southern entrance remodelled in the late eighteenth century. The vaulted wooden beams of the main hall are original as is much of the interior with medieval guild heraldry and stained glass windows depicting the various trades represented. It is still used for some trade meetings but more often for classical concerts and civic functions.

Church of St Cecilia

The church is the largest religious building in the city and was constructed between 1324 and 1403, with little alteration since. The tower and spire is the highest construction in the city: a medieval law still stands prohibiting any building higher than the base of the spire. A collection of religious works of art is located around the main church, and the present administration have commissioned twentieth-century artists and sculptors to provide new works. The church's choir and consort are noted for their quality and often tour the country. The university often provide organ scholars and lay clerks for the church's music.

Market Square

Market Square

Old Library

The Old Library

Town Hall

University

Fontjäna University (Karolian: Fontjänas Ünivërsitaat) was founded in 1504 largely through the influence of a group of wool merchants running the city's guilds. The university became one of the most important centres of secular study in the country, in contrast to Känton's which stuck more closely to its religious foundations.

By the twentieth century the university had shifted its main area of speciality towards the humanities and science faculties. Today FU is most noted for its music, history, and arts graduates as well as its scientific research. Almost all faculties offer postgraduate and doctoral degrees. The university is the biggest employer in the state and is a major source of income and prestige for the city.

Transport

Road

Fontjäna is served by the A2 and the short A26 spur motorways. Säntjana is around 1,5 hours drive to the east, Samacja around an hour to the west. National highway 44 (dual carriageway) runs north to Vasantan.

Railways

The city has two stations; Kaastjaam, which has high-speed services to Säntjana, Samacja and Gorjee, and Ida, which is a local station served by regional trains. The high-speed and normal lines meet either side of the city in order to cross the Fonta on the same tracks. Säntjana is just over an hour away by the fastest high-speed service, and 1,5 - 2 hours on stopping services.

Trams

Fontjäna has a tramway network currently operating five routes, running in the city centre, Fontjäna Castle in the north and out to Kass in the west. This is in operation 6am-midnight Mon-Thurs, later on Fridays and Saturdays and reduced hours on Sundays. The network is operated by the city council and uses a ticketing system integrated with bus network. Travel is free for students and under 18s.

Buses

In addition to the tram network, Fontjäna also has fifteen bus lines (although not all operate at weekends) serving other routes. There are also long-distance buses to Säntjana and other destinations.

Air

Fontjäna has a small regional airport to the north of the city with a few daily scheduled flights to destinations in Arataran, Mecyna and Tunin as well as general aviation. The SAI aerospace manufacturer has a development facility and factory adjacent to the terminal, and the runway is extra-long to allow testing of aircraft.

Port

A moderate-size cargo and passenger port is located to the south-east of the city. A vehicle ferry links Karolia with Tunin