Salda

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12, 44.1448, 135.9792
Salda
Qolna
Mariner's Fountain outside Eqlicia Sansu Nikolu
Motto:
"Esi-marre, ali-coleriu"
From the sea, unto heaven
Foundedca. 171 BC
Grant of Rights566
Patron SaintSansa Evangelista
CountryMauretiaFlag.svg Mauretia
 • ProvinceKabyeaFlag.png Kabyea
Government
 • MairePalu Nertorse
Area
 • Total Area102.3 km2
Elevation29 m
Population
 • Estimate (2015)257,000
 • Census (2013)255,972
DemonymSaldi
Postal CodeK-QS
Telephone Code53
HighwaysAutodromam Mauretim.svg P , N1, N8, N47
Mass TransitMetraSalda
Websitesalda.gu.mm

Salda is a historic walled qolna in northern Mauretia, along on the coast of the Sea of Uthyra not far from the Sathrian border. With a population of 257,000, Salda is the most populous city in the province of Kabyea and sixth most populous in the country. It is the only qolna in the province and serves as the provincial capital. Salda is a major shipping hub at the mouth of the Fluva Asmina and hosts the third largest Maureti port. With mineral wealth in the surrounding hills and nearby border crossings into, the Salda area is one of the largest transportation hubs by volume in the country.

Salda was founded by early Romantish traders and Amzigri tribesmen between 175 and 150BC, with a traditional date of 171BC. During the first two centuries AD, Salda was an important trading hub in the central part of the peninsula. It featured two natural harbors and a connection to the Fluva Sarde, which flows to Salda from mineral-rich and timber-rich hills. Its importance is seen in the number of overland roads that connected it inland over inhospitable terrain to the mining outposts of Ambradora and Ziftela. Although it never achieved the political status of Iola or Tangia, it was the seat of the final kingdom to be unified under Queen Daya. As part of Mauretia, its far northern location and relative isolation allowed it to retain some measure of regional significance. The natural resources and strategic harbor made Salda both wealthy and vulnerable to attack. Mauretia frequently invested heavily in Salda's fortifications. In the sixteenth century, a group of intellectuals in Salda fostered a culture that began to change the city. Impressed with the group, King Arvu II established the University of Salda to perpetuate the cultural renaissance. Salda since then remained one of the most important hubs of Mauroi culture.

Etymology

The origins of the name Salda is unknown but thought to have some relationship to the the Asmina river, known in ancient Azigri as Sarde. One speculation has been that the city is a Romantizied corruption of the likely Azigri-originated name. At the same time, there has been increasing indication that the city was named Salda and the river named thereafter. If so, the name Sarde might be a Azigri corruption of a Romantish name and was used to indicate the water route to the sea at Salda.

History

Early years

Salda is said to have been founded in 171BC, although historians only agree that it was established sometime between 175 and 150BC. The early settlement was set up on the west side of the Fluva Sarde at its mouth by Romantish traders and Azigri tribesmen. Azigri families spurred the initial growth of the city. It is believed the population reached as high as 15,000 people in the first century AD. In spite of its geographic isolation and rough terrain, the Azigri and Romantish traders worked to created a series of roadways connecting Salda to other communities. Many roads stayed near the coastline or in valleys, but two overland trails connected Salda to Ambradora and Ziftela. These roads remain to this day as routes N47 and N8, respectively.

An exterior view of the ancient city wall from Li Parqe Sarfa

The Christic movement arrived in Salda in the first decades of the second century. It quickly became a seat of a bishop and was the third bishopric in modern Mauretia after Iola and Tangia. It is believed that the entire city was Christic by 150AD, as all pagan locations were reported to have been dismantled in the city. Since then, the city has been the seat of the archbishop of Salda, whose ecclesiastical province is now coterminous with the civil province of Kabyea.

By the beginning of the fourth century, Salda, as much of modern Mauretia, was only on the periphery of Romantish holdings. The city and environs were seized by the Azigri tribal lord Oge without resistance. He fortified the city and established patrols along the main thoroughfares to protect trade. Growing isolation and cultural influences had begun to cause the Mauro patriarchy in Tangia to break from the Ekelan patriarchy in Sirsi. To mend the schism, a pair of Christic twins set out for each patriarchal city. Sansa Evangelista (Saint Evangeline) arrived in Salda, while her sister landed in Krisoaral. Although she originally sought to reach the Patriarch in Tangia, she found audience for her cause with the bishop of Salda. Sansa Evangelista became an important part of civic, educational, and religious life in Salda until her death.

As part of the regional economic collapse in the fifth century, the Kingdom of Salda was attacked by various invading tribes. Sansa Evangelista predicted a series of three tragedies before a final miracle of deliverance if the citizens of the city followed her written instructions. Although Sansa Evangelista died in the siege, the legend states that city heeded her words. The Gaermanics were routed and the invaders were repelled. The miracle was attributed to Sansa Evangelista, who remains the patron saint of the city. Her miracle is said to have started a new religious fervor in the city that led to the establishment of numerous churches, monasteries, and the Salda Theological School.

Icon in the Qatedrala Sansu Istefano of Patriarch Zaqqario of Tangia meeting with Sansa Evangelista in Salda.

The Mauro kingdom at Salda remained in a constant state of war with the Gaermanics and allied with the powerful southern Kingdom of Pomalia. Their partnership proved profitable for subduing the Gaermanics and extracting peace. The Kingdom of Pomalia in turn sought to conquer all the Mauro states and unify them into a single realm. The Kingdom of Salda initially remained independent during this time simply because of its forged alliance, which the Pomalian King Akasil refused to break. Upon his death and the ascension of Queen Daya to the throne, unification was all but complete. Queen Daya approached the people of Salda and asked that they be annexed peacefully as some other cities had been. The city was initially resistant, but she promised a permanent garrison in the city to protect it from attacks, the construction of a wall around the city, and an enlargement of its eastern port. The citizens agreed and Salda was peacefully absorbed into the new Mauroi state.

Queen Daya's expensive promises were fulfilled over the next couple of decades, nearly bankrupting the country. To finance the fortifications, mining and timber harvesting increased. This in turn increased the size and importance of the city. The hallmark of the changes was the ancient walls around Salda. The city quickly grew to fill the walled space, and Salda was granted rights over much of the nearby countryside in the 11th century. The city growth meant that the walls had to be updated, strengthened, and expanded at various points through the 10th, 12th, and 15th centuries. The 15th-century expansion saw the southern part of the wall completely rebuilt a full kilometer south of its original location to encompass the growing city. The western wall was also pushed out about 500 meters. This increased the city's wall perimeter from an already large 7 kilometers to 13 kilometers. To this day, the defensive walls of Salda are the longest man-made structure in Mauretia. The ancient lighthouse was constructed in the 8th century as part of the port expansion but had to be completely rebuilt following a storm in 1737.

Cultural Growth and Modernization

Salda grew to prominence again with the intellectual movement of a group known as the Florenciam ("the florists"). Headed by notable astronomer Kefa Sqosben, the Florenciam produced numerous writings on philosophy, medicine, music, astronomy, and economic theory. King Arvu II was so impressed by this movement that he established the University of Salda in 1503 as a means for the Florenciam to continue and promulgate their work. The university became Salda's intellectual and cultural epicenter. As it was established near the old city, it influenced all aspects of city life. Intellectuals and artists from around the country flocked to Salda. Such people as sculptor Adma Asperolu, composer Ioannus Qelva, economic theorist Kefa Lurbenias, astronomer Ugar Ervalia, and painter Ebru Sahat had the peak of their careers in Salda.

Mosaics in the Qatedrala da Donna Anosta dal Marre during the second restoration, 1999.

In the early twentieth century, Salda undertook a huge capital effort to revitalize the city and restore many of its landmarks. The core city had become overcrowded and living conditions started to deteriorate. The surrounding region as far as Girgensa and Vendeya lacked efficient connections to allow the city's population to spread out. The growing industrialization of the port area also meant that fresh water had to be pumped from further inland. The Maureti government feared another outbreak like the "Great Death" a couple decades before and listed Salda as one of its three most vulnerable cities to disease. As part of a modernization and decentralization program, overland roads in the surrounding countryside were widened, paved, and straightened. The water lines were extended to southeast of Girgensa. The most striking component, however, was the construction of two underground, bidirectional rail tubes in the city. Where possible, the street and neighborhood above was demolished and the tube was excavated. When near historical sites, such as the cathedrals or the university, boring was used. With this project underway, the ancient walls and lighthouse of the city were rehabilitated. The Southern Gate, Western Gate, and Gresia Gate were all widened to accommodate increased traffic flow.

In 1984, the archdiocese of Salda began work to clean and restore the grounds of the three most ancient churches. Specifically, the Qatedrala da Donna Anosta dal Marre (Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sea) had its glass mosaics uncovered and refurbished; the Eqlicia Sansu Níkolu had its monuments and fountain honoring Saldi mariners restored; and the gardens of the Eqlicia Sansa Ludia were completely replanted to appear according to seventeenth century sources. Private groups joined in to modernize the museums and concert halls, and the university rehabilitated its original structures. The university, having restored its buildings, relocated its classrooms and administrative offices back into the original edifices. Instruction once again takes place in the original rooms that Kefa Sqosben once taught. A new arts district was designated on the northeast edge of the university, encompassing the three museums, two concert halls, the music building, and the visual arts building. An additional mixed-purpose venue was also constructed to anchor the district immediately adjacent to the subway station. In conjunction with this, King Fedre granted a sum of 20 million numam to the university as a down-payment to launch a state-of-the-art medical center. The University of Salda Medical Center remains one of the five most prestigious in the country. Most recently, a new sports complex was built along the Via Moxare at the Autodrama Principia that contained a new football stadium, a restored baseball and softball stadium, and multi-floor arena for hockey, curling, volleyball, and basketball.

Geography

View of Salda from a tower on the ancient lighthouse.

Salda sits along the western bank of the Fluva Asmina near its mouth with the Sea of Uthyra. The city covers the expanse of a little under 100 square kilometers. Included in this is a small island. The ancient lighthouse of Salda sits on this island and remains fully functional to this day. The terrain is largely comprised of rolling hills with some of the highest inside the walled portion of the old city that were formed from continuous, dense human settlement. Even so, the old city sits on a ridge about 10–20 meters above the sea level. The walls along the coast cover what was once a steep slope 10 meters high. Over time, the area within the walls was infilled to create a flatter surface. The old city remains almost entirely surrounded by the ancient walls. The total perimeter of the wall is about 13 kilometers, making it the largest man-made structure in Mauretia. The port itself lays on the southern shore of the city. Its position protects it from dangerous swells in the sea level and inbound winds from the north and west. The eastern and southern portion of the city lay only 5—20 meters above sea level and are considered part of the coastal plain. Much of the western areas of Salda were swamps that had been drained over the years. Across the river, the city Irida Viarni sits on lower terrain as well. Along the northwestern border of the city, however, are higher peaks of over 150 meters.

Governance

Salda is a qolna in north-central Kabyea. It is the only independent city in the province of Kabyea and serves as the provincial capital. The qolna was separated from the larger diocese of Salda in 1843. The remaining territory from the diocese was consolidated with the diocese of Girgensa. The city government is headed by a mayor and nine-person council. Two of the council are elected at-large, while seven are elected from municipal districts. The mayor is elected at large and only has executive power. The court system in Salda, as most cities, is appointed by the governor of Kabyea and approved by the monarch.

Demographics

The population of Salda is estimated at 257,000 people, slightly higher than the previous census of 255,000. Salda has experienced steady growth over the last hundred years. Much of the recent population increase, however, has been those relocating from more isolated rural communities across Kabyea as de-industrialization has occurred.

The majority of Salda's citizens are ethnically Mauro (98%), with a few Mergans, Raed, and others. The university attracts about 40,000 students—most of whom are not counted in the census as they are non-residents. Among the students, there is a notable percentage of Eganians, Pohenicians, religious Kazari, and even a few Mergan families. As with all of Mauretia, the primary language is Maurit, and local Christicism is the most common religion.

Infrastructure

Salda has a small, but highly used light rail line called the "Metra." The  M  line extends from the airport, southwest of the city, to Irida Viarni, east of the city. The line is an underground subway through old city. It connects directly the the interregional rail at two locations. The Metra is above ground from the Stacio Floria southwestward, as it was built along an existing railway right-of-way.

Major highways connect Salda to other major cities in Mauretia, often using or paralleling the ancient overland trails. These highways include:

  • Autodromam Mauretim.svg P  – Autodroma Principia; part of the primary coastal motorway
  • N1 – Via Luvia and Via Moxare; ancient overland route from Salda to Urbi-Veridi
  • N8 – Via Kabyea, Anella Salda, and Ponda Sarde; ancient coastal highway along the Kabyea coast
  • N47 – Via Girgensa; ancient overland route from Salda to Girgensa and points south in the province of Aziga
  • K100 – Via Gresia and Sedaros Hannah-Maryam Sansu Paulo; ancient overland trail
  • K102 – Via Hayafa; intercommunity connector between Hayafa and Vendeya
  • K108 – Via Spilaža; road built during the modernization period to facilitate travel in the countryside
  • K250 – Port-to-core connection of the Anella Salda
  • K257 – Via Aṭhanasiu; road straightened during the modernization period to connect the Terraura hamlet to the Via Kabyea

In addition, Salda acts as a hub for rail and vehicular transportation into Ahalaclas with its the nearby border crossings. The city has a 37-gate regional airport just outside its boundaries with connecting services to Tangia, Iola, and Pomalia. Linreqiyan Peyan also uses the Portudivu Salda–Kabyea (SKY) for a couple international flights to Mergany and nearby EUOIA members. Maritime transportation is dominated by the port, but there is a ferry that allows tourist access to the ancient lighthouse and international ferry connections to four Mergan cities across the gulf.