. ŠANWAN .
Clockwise from top: City landscape of Shanvan, Karan beach and surroundings, Traditional Shavani balconies, historical street during Ascension Day, Naşaghbah market at night.
|Etymology: "White fort"|
|State||Ashar Princely State|
|Earliest settlement||c. 300 BCE|
|• Mayor||Khahli Şəğən|
|• Total||744.22 km2 (287.34 sq mi)|
|Elevation||10−300 m (−970 ft)|
|• Density||1,850.55/km2 (4,792.9/sq mi)|
Shanwan (Koman: /ʃɒ:βɒn/ or /ʃɒ:wɒn/ in several dialects) and historically Yunêsh (Koman: /june:ʃ/) is the capital city of Komania. It is located in the Asharam Province in the western half of Komania as part of the Ashar Princely State, at the mouth of the ? Delta and Lake Melkanchuta. With a booming population of 1,377,219 as of 2016, the city's population is the second largest in Komania, only behind Samadar. The city's economy is the largest in Komania and is one of the largest in the Vaniuan region. The city has jurisdiction as a provincial capital and national capital of the Imperial State.
The city began as a minor coastal settlement built around ? BCE which eventually developed into a major city-state part of the pre-Mamikian Maramara League. The settlement was known at the time as Unišig, meaning 'place at the delta' and is considered to have boasted a population of 5000 to 10,000 inhabitants. Major excavations in the 1920s corroborated the estimations, revealing three major sections, including canals, a city centre, and what is assumed to have been a marketplace. Furthermore, archaeological excavations have brought light to the city's original layout, the majority of which has been retained in Shanvan's historical district, including three major sets of artificial islands erected at the time to give defence against inland invasions. The famous Mamikian-era Harimshay gharam is noted to have been built on one of those islands.
In the 300s CE, the city passed from being a major settlement of the Mamikian empire into decadence, giving way to Mishar incursions into the area, the settlement remained part of the post-Mamikian city-states until the 500s CE, when the Mishar-led Uhimid Hojanate took possession of the city to build a defensive fortress against inland tribes.
Present-day Shanvan is named after its pre-Asharid fortress, made of white stone and rebuilt during the Great Horde. Today, Shanvan is considered to be the political and financial centre of the Imperial State. The city is renowned for its peculiar architecture and traditional balconies, along with the many historical sights it offers.
Pre-Asharid accounts mention the name of the area as Yunêsh, thought to be a direct derivation of Unišig meaning 'place at the delta' in Neo-Ohanian as the original settlement belonged to the Maramara league of city-states back in ? BCE. Chronicles such as the Asharshadan mention the city as Yunishig which corroborates the hypothesis.
The modern name of the city, Shanwan, literally translates in Koman to "white-walled city" shan- from shana meaning 'white' and wan with a meaning akin to 'fort' or 'walled city'. It refers to Shanwan's former city walls, built using white-coloured stones. Through time, the name evolved along the stages of the Koman language to finally adopt its modern form.
The first settlements have been dated to around 1000 CE, its first inhabitants are thought to have been ethnic Khezid people who may have moved westwards after the incoming Qomandi invasions. The city is regarded to have been officially founded in 1297 CE during Kalkali migrations southwards. A guiding commander in the rows of the khanate who was, in fact, an ethnic Mishar, ordered the construction of a fortress using the local white stone, after seeing its strategic position along with the Ojsah Delta. In one of his accounts he described the place as follows:
Here standing by the Great Lake of Mazel (Melkanchuta) old stone houses left to the wind root in the hands of time, little of what remains can be seen above the tree trunks.
During the Golden ages of the Qomandi Khanate, the city rose to become a prominent trade centre, known for having hosted a multi-ethnic population mainly comprised of Kalkali, Kothlenic and Dasic peoples while maintaining a strict policy of religious tolerance. The city has been widely described as having large stone towers, better known as Haḍarṣagh which simply translates as "sky tower" along with religious temples and palaces while being decorated with colourful ceramics and rock-carved poetic inscriptions. By the end of the 12th century, following the collapse and successive fragmentation of the Qomandi Khanate, the city's population declined persistently, degrading in power and authority, it maintained a stable population of 3,000 people, being mainly comprised of local merchants and fishermen.
Despite its decadence, Shanvan remained well-known and was often mentioned in the accounts of Sayanic travellers, is often described in great detail as a village of around 3000 houses, mostly of wood and white stone. By the 13th century, however, its cosmopolitan element had vanished completely, remaining as a small village composed of late Qomandi merchants of all classes.
Migrating Kalkali peoples invaded the village in 1270 and again in 1289, prompting its third decline and forcing the migration of most of its inhabitants. During this short period, the area became part of the warring Avicisid dynasty, which sought to gain control of the village. Shanvan was finally captured in 1297 CE when Koman forces of the Great Horde launched a campaign to establish control of all Qomandi lands.
During the Great Horde, the village reached a new age of prosperity, assuming a role as a border town and a highly fortified city, Shanvan became a key point of control for Koman forces and a commercial city between the east and west. By the late 1400s, the city was selected as part of the "Iron Barrier" (Koman: Tamğahat), a network of fortified cities and fortresses located in strategic points rendering the entirety of the empire highly defensible and difficult to penetrate.
Early modern period
Shanvan remained a major city in the region even after the Great Horde, however, it did not achieve any status as part of the Ashar estates during this period. It wasn't until the late 1600s when the newly formed Ashar Mizarate selected Shanvan as its capital city, remodelling the Teshah palace into imperial quarters and erecting a new section of walls surpassing the Ojsah delta. Large construction projects and projected growth in the population remained until the conquest of Samadar where the capital city was moved to in the early 1700s. Shanvan was once again left as a border town, nevertheless, maintaining considerable authority in the Mizarate until 1880, when it was once again made the capital city of the now established Imperial State.
Shortly after the Tughan declaration, plans for a complete overhaul of the city were made, with intentions to remodel the city into a "role model" for other cities in the region, portraying the very essence of the ruling dynasty, the Ashars. These changes included the widening of avenues, the creation of special "districts", the construction of monuments and the revitalisation of the city's citadel. The overhaul of the city occurred in a time span of 60 years and was led by a team of 20 architects appointed by the Shanvani governor. These changes made explicit reference to religious symbolism, especially Shawaddi symbolism, as new buildings and avenues were forced to derive directly from traditional architecture, totally disregarding any notions of modernism. By 1880 plans were made to move the capital, then Samadar to Shanvan as the former city had become notoriously filthy, overcrowded and did not portray the desired image sought by the Ashars. Shanvan became a model for many other cities outside of Komania, these include Vanosha's capital, Istore, which was heavily based on Shanvan's urban layout and aesthetics.