Difference between revisions of "Gfiewistan"

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==Etymology==
 
==Etymology==
  
Gfiewgjknsiorjgiostan is etymologically a word compound, which are common in the Gfiewish language. It translates to "Land of the People near (the) Rocks in (the) Sea".  
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Gfiewgjknsiorjgiostan is etymologically a word compound, which are common in the Gfiewish language. It translates to "Land of the People near icy rocks in (the) sea".
  
 
==History==
 
==History==

Latest revision as of 20:00, 12 October 2021

Republic of Gfiewistan
Jgerstan Gfiewgjknsiorjgiostan
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: "Gfiewgjknsiorjgiostan sklatawo hattilbe"
(Gfiewgjknsiorjgiostan Forever, and After)
Anthem: Trunakoda tan
Forefather's land
Gfiewistan
CapitalHatariew
Largest Hatariew
Official languages Gfiewish
Recognised regional languages Siortan, Tlulmerdi
Unrecognized minority
languages
South Jutean, Osterian, Atruozan and Maponic languages
Demonym Gfiewian
Government Federal non-partisan parliamentary republic
 -  President Gladto Wengios
Legislature Parliament
Independent
 -  First major chiefdoms ~400 
 -  United as a monarchy 1572 
 -  Abolition of monarchy 1852 
Area
 -  Total 611,639 km2
236,155 sq mi
Population
 -  2018 census 2,456,275
 -  Density 4.02/km2
10.4/sq mi
GDP (nominal) 2018 estimate
 -  Total 62,848,710,000
 -  Per capita 25,587
Gini (2016)49
high
HDI (2016)0.67
medium
Currency Gfiewgjknsior (GFW)
Time zone Northeast Ystelian Mean Time (SCT+6:30)
 -  Summer (DST) Not observed (SCT)
Drives on the right
Calling code +783
Internet TLD .gf

Gfiewistan (Gfiewish: Gfiewgjknsiorjgiostan ['gʷɪəʍ.ʒəʝə.knʂɪʊɹ.jə.ʒɪʊʂ.ˌtɐn]), officially the Republic of Gfiewistan, is a country located on the continent of Ystel. It borders Mermelia and South Jute in the west and northwest, and the Ersaj river forms the border with Lufasa in the northeast and most of the border with Saant in the east. Osteria is located to the south of Gfiewistan. In the southwest, the country has access to the Dark Sea.

Having been inhabited by humans for about five thousand years, it remained a land divided into agricultural chiefdoms of varying sizes and independence until the Sigfried the Pious arrived in Gfiewgjknsiorjgiostan in the 16th century and united the nation under the religion of Iovism, and installing himself as the God-sanctioned king of all Gfiewgjknsiorjgiostanians. Reformation attempts did not happen and the country remains orthodox to these days. In the 19th century, romantic nationalism and the revolutionary Republican movement originating in Hatariew led to the monarchy, centered in Slakkariew, being abolished in 1852, and feudalism gave way to a mostly free market economy. Gfiewistan has since then remained a federal republic and is today a middle-income country with strong agrarian, production and emerging service sectors. It is a member of the Ystelian Community and as such also of the AEIOU.

Etymology

Gfiewgjknsiorjgiostan is etymologically a word compound, which are common in the Gfiewish language. It translates to "Land of the People near icy rocks in (the) sea".

History

Prehistory

The first people on Ystel were originally Baredinan mesolithic hunter-gatherers, who around the year 3000 BC reached the continent via the island of Zexari, crossing two narrow straits south of the Lhisfa Sea in the process, and then migrated further east and north. Three hundred years later, around 2700-2600 BC, the first mesolithic settlements existed in the Ersaj plain. The first neolithic culture appeared around 1000 BC, but it would take until 400 AD for the first dominant chiefdoms to emerge that manage to dominate neighboring ones.

By 450 AD a first fortress had been established in the location of modern-day Hatariew, with permanent agricultural settlements around it. Trade with and conquest of surrounding chiefdoms and tribes leads to a sizable amount of power and wealth being held by the prehistoric town at the beginning of the seventh century, and by 700 AD its influence already reached across the river to what would become Lufasa. In 780 AD the predecessor of the city of Hatariew had already grown significantly and city walls as well as a new stone fortress were erected.

In 1080 AD the chiefdom of Hatariew engaged in its first major war with its roughly equally powerful rival in the west, Xelsamt. After a year of fighting the war ended with no larger gains for either side. Nonetheless, it continued to expand and had by the beginning of the thirteenth century consolidated its grip on the northern plains on both sides of the Ersaj.

In the south, the chief of Slakkariew, at the time still only a large, slowly growing village at the bay, was building up influence and and extracting increasing amounts of taxes and other fees from villages and trading posts in the region to be able to maintain a sizable army and construct what would later be known as the Bay Castle, among many other buildings in Slakkariew now part of the old town. The main economic rival and wealthy trading hub Wiftalne located at the Dark Sea long resisted the authority of the chief and resorted to clandestine trading to evade taxes. Upon the discovery of this, the chief of Slakkariew laid siege to the town and after a successful conquest imprisoned most of the population and confiscated the wealth of the town.

Medieval history

With the arrival of advanced civilization on Ystel in the 1300s, writing was also introduced and so from the fourteenth century on increasingly more historical records exist, one of the first known being the first documented mention of the city of and chiefdom of Hatariew in a letter guaranteeing privileges to the local nobility in 1322. Further ones mention a second war between Hatariew and Xelsamt in 1379 that resulted in the chiefdom losing most of its territory west of its capital.

The fifteenth century saw many reforms, administrative and political ones. Among the major chiefdoms of the time, both Hatariew and Slakkariew in the south became more centralized, both establishing rudimentary bureaucracies in their territories, the former in the 1450s-60s and the latter in the 1420s and 1430s. Kauslat and Tanla, located geographically between the two local powers, retain a more decentralized model.

In 1521 they jointly wage war against Hatariew, which in response founds an alliance with their previous enemy Xelsamt (now Tlulmerd) and Kebbzol, a minor tributary chiefdom between Kauslat and Hatariew and thereby manages to repel the invasion in 1523. As a result, a year later during the peace negotiations, Tlulmerd gains some territory from Tanla, and in return for making the alliance permanent gives some land back to Hatariew. With that, the modern borders between the three have been largely set and change little in the following centuries.

Early modern history

The beginning of the Great Unification War of Gfiewgjknsiorjgiostan in 1567 marks the beginning of the modern era of the land. Starting from the south Slakkariew conquers with the help of allies over the course of the following years all independent Gfiewish chiefdoms and their client chiefdoms in the name of Iovism. The last holdouts in Kebbzol and Lufasa are defeated in in 1572, and the chief of Slakkariew declares himself God-sanctioned king of all Gfiewgjknsiorjgiostanians, his castle in Slakkariew becoming the royal palace and the city of Slakkariew the capital of the kingdom.

In the years after unification, missionaries attempt to convert every corner of the newly formed state towards Iovism, and many monasteries and libraries are established. Although some pagan beliefs remain popular in some regions and other ones retain a minority who hold on to their old religion, this process of missionizing is largely finished by 1577, with the exception of Lufasa, where traditional beliefs remain in the majority until the 18th century and even after that continue to exist in syncretic faiths combining aspects of Iovism and pre-Iovist religions. The religion with its customs and values are otherwise enforced in all of Gfiewistan by a monopoly on education and printing that Iovist temples are granted by the royal court. In Lufasa the local Jutic culture is increasingly suppressed with the goal of breaking the resistance to orthodox Iovism.

Major rebuilding efforts and expansion of the city of Hatariew started at the beginning of the 17th century and secure the status of the city as commercial center in the north, at times even overshadowing the capital. Most important goods remain Lufasan agricultural products and reed-based products from Kebbzol. The rise as a trade hub culminated in the first bank and foreign trading station being opened in 1628 after being granted a royal license and was a major factor in trade expanding to now cover all of Gfiewistan and the neighboring countries, including southern ones like Osteria. A permission to use the Ersaj up until the mouth of the river negotiated with Mermelia in 1701 leads to a further boost of commerce and leads to the capital Slakkariew being completely eclipsed in that regard. With the amassed wealth, the wealthiest merchants finance the construction of a new main temple, located on a hill near the city center. It becomes an important symbol of the city and even Gfiewistan in general.

Aside from trade and the economy, science and education also flourished. Religious schools were founded across the land in every county and there was a lot of scientific exchange with Mermelia and Nevira, and even books from far away countries like Achiyitqan started reaching the country and were translated and read. Two universities were founded, the Royal University in Slakkariew in 1619, and the Northern University of Trade and Agriculture (later Northern Business University, today simply Northern University) in Hatariew in 1762. However, in Hatariew, being located far away from the royal capital Slakkariew, the royal court had trouble enforcing its tight control of media and education. The monopoly of Iovist temples in both fields became cracks for the first time as students and researchers began to research independently, ignoring old academic and religious dogmas and after some time even beginning to publish not just academic tracts, but newspapers openly challenging government policy and exposing corruption and dysfunctionality. Due to support by the local nobility who saw this as a check on the growing authority of the central government the royal court had to back off and agreed to relax control on media and education for the first time. However, outside of Hatariew and the surrounding regions (The state of Hatariew and Lufasa), this barely led to changes yet, with censorship simply being replaced by self-censorship. Iovist temples still dominated in media and education and this continued to be propped up by the government.

Modern history

The modern era in Gfiewish history is said to begin in the year of 1811, when sweeping administrative reforms in all of Gfiewistan establish the modern state borders and the bureaucracy significantly expanded to respond to the growing needs of the government of a large, modernizing country. Despite this, and to some degree because of this, a period of imperial decline, corruption and mismanagement set in, and foreign expansionist ambitions that were pursued at the expense of solving these internal problems repeatedly failed. This led to growing wave of anti-clerical and anti-government sentiments, starting out again in Hatariew, but thanks to an increasingly bolder and more critical media spread quickly throughout the entire country. A republican movement was born that thanks to widespread popular support managed to dethroned the royalty in the republican revolution of 1852. Its center, the university city of Hatariew, became the new capital of the country. In Lufasa the republican movement had also been characterized by nationalistic tendencies in response to increasing efforts to suppres the local culture, and so the country separated in the same year. However, while freedom of the press and academic freedom were now enshrined in the constitution, support for radical anti-clericalism quickly ebbed as the tacit agreement of Iovist temples, or in some cases their active help, had been key to the success of the revolution, and so Iovism remained a state religion and in charge of education and welfare programs. In the following years, trade and research nonetheless expanded significantly and manufacturing became a key economic sector.

Industrialization arrived fairly late to Gfiewistan, traditionally dated to 1901 when the first steel plant opened. The first passenger train starts running a year later, between the factories and residential quarters of Astlem and the harbor of Weishriew. In 1903 the line is opened to the general public. A railway building boom ensues, with several competing steel mills, shipyards and inventors constructing railways, connecting at first major cities with surrounding towns and later the cities with each other as well, using either self-constructed engines or imported ones.

Alongside industrialization comes a modernization of the still largely medieval system of education starting in 1930. Visiting school for six years is now mandatory, and many new schools are built, however they remain controlled by temples and monasteries. In 1932, labor laws are enacted that outlaw children working in mines or factories, enforce basic work safety and the right to strike and also limit the hours allowed in a week to 60 (later 48). Finally, in 1975, secular and publicly funded education is after a lot of controversy and debate established, with public schools built in the capital and regions deemed in need of better education infrastructure.

Geography

View of the Saru Sea in Slakkariew state.

Situated in a cold climate, the nation is covered mostly by boreal forests with some mixed forests in the north. The southeast wetlands are home to the Gfiewjknsior beast, a frog species native to the country. The nation is rather mountainous in the southeast but the remainder of the land is rather flat, with the areas near the coast in the southwest as well as along the three major rivers, Ersaj, Takenfa and its bigger tributaries and Mewe only being few meters above sea level.

Geology

Climate

Gfiewistan is home to four climate zones in accordance with the Köppen Climate Classification System. By far, the largest climate zone by both population and area is Warm-summer Humid Continental (Dfb), which covers a significant majority of the country, from a rough line around the 52nd parallel south to the northern border of the nation bar a small line straddling the northeastern border. Along said border, a sliver of Hot-summer Humid Continental (Dfa) can be found, where the country's warmest (and muggiest) summers can be found, with the hottest month average highs around 26-27 degrees Celsius. It is also here where the mildest winters can be found, with coldest month average highs sitting around -1°C to -2°C at their mildest. In the south, notably in areas relatively near and adjacent the coast, as well as in the Galsnio panhandle, Subarctic climate types can be found (Dfc and Dsc). This largely consists of Dfc, with Dry-summer Subarctic (Dsc) being contained largely to the higher elevations in the mountains within the panhandle. It is in the panhandle that the coldest winters can be found, with the coldest settlements seeing average coldest month highs resting around a bitter -16°C.

Snow cover persists in the south for around 5-7 months of the year, with most of the country experiencing 3-5 months of snow cover on average, that value decreasing to only around 2-3 months in the far northeast (albeit with the possibility of snowfall and as such, intermittent snow cover, for 5-6 months).

Biodiversity

Politics

The Security Ministry in Hatariew.

Government

A president, elected by parliament, forms the head of state, while a chancellor is governing the country with the help of half a dozen ministers (Security, Freedom, Land, Water, People, Obligations), all with approval of the parliament.

The Security ministry forms the oldest ministry, having existed since the 16th century, and is responsible for defense and national security, intelligence gathering, internal security, law enforcement, prison management, consumer and workplace safety, aviation and general traffic safety and immigration control.

The Freedom ministry was founded after the revolution in 1852 and deals with issues regarding the court system, civil rights, political freedoms, asylum requests, diplomatic relations to other countries and intergovernmental organizations and all embassies.

The Land ministry, also a post-revolutionary ministry, is responsible for questions of land ownership, forestry, agriculture, welfare and husbandry of land animals, environmental questions, natural resources on land including land-generated electricity as well as land-based shipping and other traffic on land.

The Water ministry was similarly created after the end of the monarchy and its responsibilities include issues regarding fishing, marine and river environments, marine and river resources, the water supply, water-generated electricity, the weather service, lighthouses, ports and water-based shipping and other traffic on water.

The People ministry was founded in the 18th century and deals with questions regarding among other things citizenship, public administration, public education and education policy, healthcare policy, labor questions, economic regulations not covered by other ministries.

The Obligations ministry was also founded in the 18th century and is responsible for public finances, taxation, customs and other fees as well as state banks.

Parliament

The Tujasweltsal is the legislative branch of the Gfiewish government. The first parliaments in Gfiewistan were a meeting of the nobility, which is still reflected in the Gfiewish word for "parliament", Tujasweltsal, translating to "meeting of nobility" or more literally "meeting of the generous people".

The acceptance of such a meeting and its decisions by all states was historically based on every state getting equal say with an equally-sized delegation. Attempts to change that always were seen as risking upset the political stability and order on which the country was founded. As a result, every state has five representatives, despite many having a relatively small population. Even after the republican revolution in 1852 reform movements never saw any success, however elections for all 75 members of parliament every four years were introduced. The speaker remains the sole position not decided on popular vote.

For similar reasons of continuity and legitimacy, many traditions from medieval times, or from later centuries, are maintained in modern times. Despite the abolition of all royal privileges after 1852 parliaments are still treated like a meeting of the most important parts of nobility from all over the country, and therefore every member of parliament is treated like nobility and expected to behave like one, including adapting the extravagant mannerisms, rites, and what is widely seen as exaggerated and pompous rhetoric.

Gfiewish states

Courts

The judiciary branch is made up by the supreme court and fifteen state courts, with the state judges elected by local politicians concerned with justice and the state's parliamentary members in conjunction. Furthermore, most counties have their own court, with the exception of those forming a county union, where a county union court exists instead.

Administrative divisions

Main article: States of Gfiewistan

Gfiewistan is divided into 15 states, which in turn are divided into counties, and below that municipalities. State capitals always form their own county, and might or might not have further subdivisions. In some states, several counties can form a union below state level (e. g. Tlulmerd) which takes over some functions carried out by county councils in other states. In cities, several functions of municipal governments in less urban regions are taken over by the city government.

The administrative hierarchy at a glance is hence as follows: Nation - State - (County union) - County/City - Municipality/town/city borough.

Foreign relations

Non-interventionism and advocating for free trade (including labor) have been the pillars of the foreign policy for the longest time of the existence of the republic, which can therefore be summed up with "as little as possible, as much as necessary", or free-trade isolationist. However, in recent decades the necessity of collaboration with neighbors have become more obvious, leading to the general opposition to multilateral agreements and international organizations being dropped and Gfiewistan becoming a founding member of the Ystelian Community in the interest of freer trade and exchange.

International Congress membership is however still rejected, although a number of political movements do not categorically rule out support of military interventions any longer, with only the libertarians and conservationists still upholding the earlier principle of strict non-interventionism.

Military

Conscription is mandatory, and everyone aged 18-20 has to serve either in the military or in accredited charity services for a year after completing education. Whereas the relatively large military was originally founded purely to defend the country in the case of war, it is now used for limited reconnaissance and local peacekeeping as well as expanded deterrence missions as well and participation in military interventions has become a future possibility.

Cows remains important for local economies of the south and west of Gfiewistan.

Economy

With the cold, clear water bordering the nation on one side, and lush forests in much of the rest of it, fishing and hunting have traditionally been the strongest sector of the economy, and the continue to be important to this day. Fishing in particular, combined with animal husbandry (especially lamb and beef) remain a backbone for much of the country, especially in the south and the central parts of Gfiewistan. Other parts, mostly alongside major waterways in the east and northeast, underwent industrialization about a century ago and became centers of steel and machine production.

However, since the early 2010s most of them have slowly been transitioning away to a more service-oriented economy, with the mostly Hatariew-based insurance, banking and import-export trade sectors contributing the most to the country's gross domestic product, followed by the transport and domestic commerce sector and manufacturing sector, all roughly of equal size. Manufacturing is dominated by light industries, with heavy industry such as steel being on the decline and production of machines no longer growing either. Household items, such as baskets or mats from reed, and food products make up the bulk of production nowadays. The soda industry in particular has been growing a lot in recent years and shown to be very successful both domestically as well as on international markets.

Trains in Hatariew, the capital

Transport

Roads are generally kept well in shape, as the car is the most common way of transport in the country. Trains used to be of major importance in the first half of the century, connecting the cities, state capitals and most other major towns, but after the construction of the national highway system in the 1960s and 1970s only three lines remained, going from Hatariew to Swofiewkust at the sea coast in the south, to Weishriew in the East and between Gordxersma and Dillariewis in the central south. Ferry connections exist on the lake Slakkariew, the river Ersaj and on the river Takenfa and is tributaries and connect there various towns.

Public transport only exists in the five biggest cities, the capital Hatariew, the old residential city Slakkariew as well as Weishriew (where the first train station in Gfiewistan was built), Tanlariewis and Dillariewis, where they have city bus networks or in the case of Hatariew commuter rail sharing the railway of heavy rail. Most other towns are, if they don't have a ferry line stop or railway station, only served by country buses, and some lack this as well.

Energy

Fossil fools are still largely used, though investments in alternate energy forms are being made all over the country and an effort to transition to them completely is being planned in several states.

Science and technology

Hatariew is the academic center of Gfiewistan, and the local university, while being one of two full-scale universities in the country, is mostly centered aroud agricultural and engineering research. The university of Slakkariew, the other comprehensive university of Gfiewistan is largely devoted to fishing and environmental studies, but is also known for its humanities faculty, particular its department of history. Both cities also have a medical research center.

Tourism

The rough countryside of the south, especially of the states of Twilm and Galsnio attracts a lot of visitors, both domestic and international every year, and the two largest cities are popular with city tourists. Slakkariew for its historical and cultural heritage as well as modern trendy districts, Hatariew for its food scene, museums and varied cityscapes.

Demographics

The rather cold climate and somewhat remote location lead to the population never growing as high as in some other nations. Only lately, with the onset of modernization in agriculture, has the population been increasing, from 595,000 in 1852 (first census) to 2,456,275 today.

Ethnic groups

Together with the isolationist policies, this has resulted in it remaining largely homogeneous (though there are two native ethnic minorities, the Siortan and Tlulmerdi), with many people being able to knowing their ancestors in Gfiewgjknsiorjgiostan up to several hundred years ago, but the recent success of the economy has caused a change a trend reversal, with now more and more people from abroad coming to Gfiewgjknsiorjgiostan in search for jobs. Most of them are from neighboring countries or lands, especially Mermelia, South Jute, Lufasa and Osteria.

Urbanization

About a third of the population lives in the five biggest cities, with the rest living in various smaller towns and rural settlements.

Largest cities:

City IPA Metro area population State
1 Hatariew /Xat:ɐrɪəʍ/ 528,023 Hatariew
2 Slakkariew /ʂlak:ɐrɪəʍ/ 184,230 Slakkariew
3 Tanlariewis /ʈɐnɭaɹɪəʍɪʂ/ 125,286 Tanla
4 Weishriew /ʍɘɪʂhəɹɪəʍ/ 67,237 Kauslat
5 Dillariewis /dɪɭ.ɭaɹɪəʍɪʂ/ 53,467 Hemmswill


Language

Gfiewish, the national language spoken by virtually all people in the land, is part of the Ystelic language family, the most widespread on the continent of Ystel. While a lot of businessmen and women have learned other languages for trade, for example Neviran, Osterian or a language spoken in Mermelia, much of the population remains monolingual. Immigrants tend to speak other languages, as well, mostly at home, but almost everyone of them knows Gfiewish as well.

Education

Healthcare

Religion

Iovism

The overwhelming majority remains Orthodox Iovist, though not as many are practicing Iovians as a hundred years ago. There a few Reformed Iovist communities, and very few people with other religions, mostly in the capital, which has the only Mysticism temple of the nation.

Native pre-Iovist religion

Though barely practiced these days aside from a few isolated communities and revivalists, the cultural legacy and significance of Gfiewish pre-Iovist religion is immense, in Gfiewistan, but also Lufasa and especially the Gfiewish-speaking communities of Saant.

Two central concepts in it are ancestor reverence and familiar piety, which unlike filial piety is something expected equally of parents and children. These are seen as necessary in order to grow the 'ancestor tree', either a metaphorical tree or a literal tree with religious importance, containing or representing the collective values, achievements, and the material wealth of a family. In line with that, traditions are seen as living and sometimes evolving things that need to be nurtured. Another central concept is a panentheistic worldview, where life as a single entity places humans on the level of animals and other living and non-living parts of the world, rather than superior to them. Aspiring to "be one with nature" is therefore fundamental.

Generally, rituals supporting and strengthening the values underlying those concepts are seen as more important than any stated or actual belief in the concepts themselves, as the outcome for the family and wider community is the same. Belief with no action is deemed worse than no belief and no action at all, as a kind of cakeism.

Rituals may include individual or collective "forest trips", meetings at sacred places (not necessarily forests) to honor memories, prayer (appeal for divine or supernatural help), and burial ceremonies taking place in the open involving a priest overseeing them. Generally, there is a lot of leeway as to what is considered a "proper" ritual, the important part is that it could be demonstrated to support the central concepts. During these, but particularly during midsummer, a traditional beverage made from a berry (similar to blackberries) common in Gfiewistan is drunk. It is frequently alcoholic, but is also available as non-alcoholic beverage. Furthermore, during some events, other meetings or prayers, certain mushrooms may be used to induce a trance to help connect oneself with one's surrounding better and gain a different point of view.

While individual beliefs are generally de-emphasized, there are common shared mythological beliefs that support or stem from the central concepts and the worldview based around those. These include purely mythological being, mythologized versions of natural beings, and natural forces as well as abstract concepts.

Among the first are a belief in trolls, spirits and above all a creator deity. The second group includes the Gfiewgjknsior Beast, which is mostly the name of a frog that is the national animal of Gfiewistan, but also said to have a secret, more threatening alternate form that explains its name. Apple trees also fall into this group, being frequently personified as generous people aiding those who work hard. Finally, the sun, light and clouds belong to the last group, all seen as being 'alive' in some way, as do forests. Furthermore, life as a single entity, and traditions as living, sometimes evolving things also form part of it.

Mythological stories are generally teaching good moral behavior, but can at times give traditional explanations for otherwise deemed unexplainable mysteries of everyday life. One example is how arrowheads from prehistoric times were traditionally seen as originating from thunderstorms.

Culture

Heritage

This section requires expansion: other parts of Gfiewish culture

The population is rather devout, but has a mentality that puts a large emphasis on self-help and self-reliance, and generally has a reputation of being stoic and not very talkative.

Despite a majority of Gfiewish people living in towns with more than 5,000 people, and only 15 % live in settlements with less than 1,000 people, the countryside still has a huge cultural influence on life in Gfiewistan. It is the most popular place for vacations, with many temples and sacred forests a place for spirituality, and both in media and the popular imagination frequently portrayed as the location where life is more authentic, more meaningful and therefore more desirable.

This has roots in prehistoric times, when forests were places of religious importance. With the introduction of Iovism as state religion in the 16th century many temples were built in the countryside to allow priests and visitors contemplate life and loneliness better. Hermits were seen as better equipped to deal with spiritual questions.

Soon after a royal court developed, and later the first merchant elites, the first vacationing in the countryside began. The air, open landscapes with vast greens, remarkable flowers and clean rivers drew their attention and became a common subject of poetry, usually alliterative acrostics, a style that would become the most well-known Gfiewish type of poems. Early sagas and later novels would never fail to contrast the perceived or real pristine countryside with the messy city, even if some would on occasion describe city life as equally livable in a different way.

However, it was during the development of romantic nationalism that works centering the countryside, aside from written works now increasingly paintings and songs as well, that would look not just to forest and meadows as places of beauty, but inherent virtue in comparison to the corruption at the royal court in the capital and the abuses of the garrisons in other towns. The countryside, that was where people made a honest living with no dirty tricks or schemes, it was where liberty rather than coercion reigned, a place where no one was entitled to social privileges by birth alone. These themes were key in developing a new national identity that was no longer tied to any king or queen and that would lead to the republican revolution in the mid-19th century.

As industrialization progressed, and with it cities would get wealthier, but often also dirtier, the desire for the countryside grew anew, and whoever could afford it would now take vacations far away from urban areas, just like the royal court and rich merchants had done it already centuries before. Cheap holiday cottages were built in large numbers, or farm houses converted into one, and a domestic tourism industry begun to emerge.

By the late 20th century, vacations, at least day trips to e.g. a nearby river village or retreat in the hills, became affordable to almost every household. Subcultures and movements that tried to bring the countryside into the city emerged, and became especially popular with academics and writers in Slakkariew, the old royal residence town. Magazines and self-help books for people interested in farm life became hugely popular. A growing amount of urban inhabitants has moved out to less densely populated states to take up a profession as a shepherd, farmer, or a similar. Most end up moving back into town after a few months or years due to economical difficulties or trouble adjusting to the reality of life in the countryside.

Cuisine

The cuisine of Gfiewistan can be broadly separated into three large regional ones. The first one extends from the coastal states to the Mewe and Takenfa rivers and relies heavily on fish, either saltwater or freshwater, and root vegetables. Chamomile tea and beer, and berry juices and wine are the most common beverages.

Buckwheat panbuns, a pastry made on the stove.

The second regional cuisine can be found in the southeasternmost parts of the country, especially in the panhandle. Hunted meat with gathered herbs, mushrooms etc. make up the bulk of the diet, also supplemented by root vegetables. Various kinds of herbal teas, made with for example woodruff, and berry juices and liquor and brandies are drunk.

Finally, the north and center of Gfiewistan use a lot of lamb in their cuisine, although it is also the region with the largest amount of vegetarian recipes, which often are based on or incorporate sheep milk. Sheep milk, sometimes spiced, and fruit juice and cider are the traditional beverages.

All of Gfiewistan also has a long baking tradition, with buckwheat being grown all over the country, its flour being the most widely used flour. However, during the industrial revolution baked breads were increasingly replaced in favor of Lufasan panbread for efficiency reasons, as panbread required much less preparation time than bread baking. Often, these were turned into bowls by letting the edges dry out overnight and so curve upwards to be filled with simple hot fillings immediately before serving. However, bakeries and street food vendors later also developed more elaborate sweet and savory pastries and patties fried in pans that have become throughout the country, using various local fillings.

Corn flour was introduced later and is used somewhat less often, mostly to make flatbreads or pastries or as thickener. Millet has always been another popular grain, being native to the region. Other traditional ingredients are all kinds of beets, dairy, berries like blackberries, sunflower seeds and oil.

Media

Main article: Media in Gfiewistan

Gfiewistan is home to a vibrant media landscape, with more than a hundred newspapers, dozens of AM and FM radio stations covering the entire country, seven TV stations and several webportals. Most of it is in Gfiewish, but there is also a Neviran webportal and newspaper as well as newspapers, websites and a radio station in the minority languages Siortan and Tlulmerdia. Mermelian and Lufasan newspapers also are commonly available near the border.

Arts

Literature

Allusive alliterative acrostics are the most well-known type of bhe boklds bomgo (structural pattern creative writing) or Gfiewish poetry. They are locally known as lub limwras laeto (beginning sound sequences) and in the early Gfiewish kingdom became an allowed aesthetic alternative to earlier religious styles often described as zazzy zestless zealotry or egregiously evocative ecclesiology. Often, they invoke romantic or patriotic themes involving a longing for nature and the countryside.

The most famous one is Ode to Ystel, which has been translated in several other languages. The beginning is as follows:

You So Tremendously, Enormously Lonely

Yet Strangely Tantalizing Enchanting Land

You Sweet Tranquil Emerald Light
Yielding Softly Thrilling Energetic Life

Music

Theater

Film

Animation is particularly popular, and often locally produced. Brekewlasi Herwikre ("Mysteries' Running-Pictures") forms the oldest and biggest animation studio in Gfiewistan, originally dedicated to animating "mystery stories" (educative stories on moral or philosophical questions) and also produces cartoons for companies and audiences abroad, with them enjoying a particular popularity in Notzel, Tzulhon and Ngeyvger.

Architecture

Sport

Ball sports are very popular in Gfiewistan. Almost all towns, even many villages have their own team and matches have been played for centuries, originally often with apples, and as such the sport is known as hoktujaswri or “apple running” in Gfiewish.

In 1974 the teams and clubs were organized into a national league, Brotan Hoktujas Bronehelw Skle ("Nation's With-Apples Game's Union" or TTNS for short, as bro- and hok- are prefixes) for the first time. It has 16 teams play in three classes. The last seasons saw Tujaskle Hatariew from the capital, Bgemskle Galsnio from the sparsely populated southeastern state of Galsnio, Adeskle Slakkariew from the old royal residence town of Slakkariew and Nehelwjgios Weishriew from an important industrial town of Weishriew in Kauslat dominate. Wealthy teams have their own stadions, other ones rent a stadion or play on a field.

The Gfiewish national team also regularly qualifies for international tournaments, however it has yet to win a single world cup or similar trophy. Nonetheless, players competing in those often become hugely popular and enjoy very high salaries, higher than any other sportspeople, as well as visibility in TV and print media. Some players go abroad to play with a team in another Ystelian country, but many prefer not to as in Gfiewistan football players like other people active in team sports are treated like workers and so allowed to organize themselves in a union to ensure appropriate working conditions.

Symbols

See also