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Aghrapur is a city in the Conan universe.

Aghrapur, Jewel of the Vilayet, King of the Near-East — one cannot find a more splendid city anywhere in the world. Minarets, ivory towers, domed temples to Erlik and other gods, a mighty and impregnable gate, and an imposing entrance to her port which might be mistaken for the sheer cliff of the largest mountain one could ever imagine. The grandeur and scale of Aghrapur stagger the mind and defy belief. Even magnificent Tarantia cannot compare.

From within her spired towers, veiled princesses watch the churning Vilayet and spy the purple-sailed galleys of the Turanian navy as they disappear into the fading light of dusk. Her streets are paved, and her buildings sheathed in marble and other polished stone. The storied diviners of Aghrapur claim that the city shall last 10,000 years. It would be a boon to all humankind were they right, for who can imagine a city as grand as this, a culture as sophisticated, a people as rare? Even 10,000 years from the Hyborian Age, could man hope to build taller towers or shelter more people in a single city? May Aghrapur outlast the whole of time.

A History of Aghrapur[]

Long before the arrival of the Hyrkanians, the city now known as Aghrapur was already a jewel, one in the crown of the most powerful caliphate of the day. The city was then under Iranistani control, and it was a cradle for all things civilized. Today, that city is gone, but remnants of it blend seamlessly with the current aesthetic.

The Hyrkanians were not the first to sack Aghrapur. Before them, the Shemites, Kothians, and Stygians laid waste to various iterations of the city. Before that, a city stood in this place during the Thurian Age, though it fell during the Cataclysm, humans seemingly favoring this spot despite the passage of time. Perhaps the gods look upon it kindly, perhaps it has always sat against some sea or another, perhaps humankind itself sprang from creation here.

The day-to-day business of Aghrapur reflects the old Iranistani empire, for it was said that the Iranistani kings had the best scribes and bureaucrats in the east. Temples which once served Ishtar are now palaces for the wealthy or public works. The current Grand Suk of Aghrapur lies in the same spot as that of the old city. History is all around you when you walk the streets of Aghrapur.

Prominent Locations in Aghrapur[]

The Jewel of the Vilayet features wonders to impress even the most jaded Hyborian. From massive temples to ornate palaces, the might and wealth of the Turanian empire are on full display here. The gates from land and sea alone leave most mouths agape upon first glimpsing.

The Great Circus[]

The Hyrkanian people are born in the saddle. It is little wonder, then, that they boast the largest horse racing stadium known to man. The Great Circus is a marvel of engineering and, moreover, a truly Turanian building. In times past, a smaller version of the complex served Iranistani kings, but that original structure was torn down in favor of the new building.

Races take place weekly, sometimes daily. Everything from charioteers to bareback competition occurs. Further, great wrestling matches also take place here. The combatants wear only a loincloth. They tend toward massive bulk. While some dismiss them as merely obese, muscles ripple under sweat-glistening flesh. Some of the better-known wrestlers even gain titles from the king.

Festivals, such as the Day of the Yellow Hand, attract huge audiences to the Great Circus. Mounted archery contests, wrestling matches, games on horseback, and a host of jugglers, actors, acrobats, and the like from the Western Sea to Khitai are laid before the wide-eyed populace. The king oversees all ceremonies on this day and, aside from the town guard, much of the city shuts down.

The king is rarely seen arriving at any given location, for exposing himself invites danger. How, then, does he appear in various important places around the city? Most suspect it is by means of the vast underground which snakes under the city like veins in a body.

The underground of the Great Circus is but one part of this branching system of tunnels. Rumor holds that the king has access to the Great Circus directly from the palace. Further rumor suggests that great Iranistani treasures were hid here before the city fell to the Hyrkanians, but none have been able to locate any sign of these, despite many attempts.

Aquifers and The Underground[]

An impossibly large aquifer was constructed under Aghrapur. This massive structure looks like it could house the homes of the gods themselves. Like the largest vault on earth, huge columns of marble support massive ceilings. Freshwater from this aquifer supplies the entire city. A sewer network is also present.

The aquifer is larger than three Great Circuses, possibly bigger. Few without an official seal ever get to see it, as it is always guarded. However, other parts of the old underground tunnel complexes connect to the aquifer. Many are bricked over or buried, but many more have yet to be discovered. Some are still in use.

The Iranistani Palace[]

Much of the old Iranistani palace was left intact as a series of Turanian kings expanded upon it. Topped with a glass minaret on the highest tower, sunlight scintillates this spire like off the facets of a gem. In fact, the polychrome lights playing atop the minaret are said to come from actual gems — gems so large they serve like panes of glass. No one has verified this, but the court doesn’t discourage the legend.

A high wall and elite Turanian soldiers protect hundreds upon hundreds of finely appointed rooms. Inside the palace are huge baths, a seraglio, patios and terraces, archery ranges, a private horse-racing track, an enormous garden filled with plants from across the known world, and the residence of the king himself, dozens of rooms to suit his every whim and the needs of his household and servants.

A huge statue of Erlik, this one with a bull’s head, stands under a huge dome where diviners come to look at the stars and draw from them the future of Turan.

Most impressive of all is the Turquoise Peacock Throne itself. At the end of an impossibly long throne room, the gold and platinum chair sits. Backed by a fan of golden feathers inlaid with turquoise and star sapphires, the throne dwarfs any who sit in it. This reminds the king that he is only steward of the Peacock Throne, and not its eternal master. The throne room itself rises some 30 feet to the curved ceiling. There a giant mural shows Erlik gifting mankind with mortality and the successive spread of the Turanian empire.

Old Aghrapur[]

Old Town, or Old Aghrapur, makes up the southern end of the city. Here, the original Iranistani buildings remain largely intact and unmodified. However, given Iranistani influence on everything built by the Turanians, it doesn’t look out of place. It is, however, run down as compared to the rest of the city.

While there is crime here, and vagrants, and beggars, it could not be properly called a maul. New Turanian recruits police Old Town as part of initiation. No one likes the detail, but it keeps the streets safer than bad areas in the likes of Khorshemish or Shadizar the Wicked. The king is aware of the organized crime but tamps down on wanton violence in the streets. Still, a stranger venturing here at night, alone, had best be armed and have the skill to use said weapons. Refugees from varying wars and the lowest strata of foreigners reside in Old Aghrapur.

The Column of Aghra Khan[]

Though he ruled but briefly over a united khanate, Aghra Khan is still viewed as the father of Turan. The name itself, Turan, is Iranistani and referred to the region, not any given people. Though Aghra never ruled here, for the capital was then in Khawarizm, he is immortalized in both cities by a giant column.

No statue tops this column, though friezes and bas-reliefs of the Khan’s exploits do. Other statues of Aghra exist, but columns are, in Erlik’s faith, a purer evocation of the human soul. This is why mortals are often memorialized as columns, but the god Erlik is given form in elaborate statues.

Crime in Aghrapur[]

Aghrapur is widely known as a safe city, at least by the standards of the day. However, any concentration of humanity breeds crime, as if it is a necessary vent for the frustrations of the species. So, too, in Aghrapur. A hub of trade, it is little wonder that a certain percentage of goods “fall off the wagon” and make their way onto the black market. Such regular losses are not the work of mere loners; an organized thieves’ guild operates in Aghrapur. To the consternation of the city guard, they cannot be stamped out.

Yezdigerd himself rages at the presence of organized crime in his own capital. However, he also knows that such crime serves a necessary role in the life of any great city. His punishments are swift and harsh, but he has yet to demand the thieves be brought down en masse. It is said that some among the guild serve as Turanian spies, and this is the real reason Yezdigerd allows them to continue their existence.

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