Abran’s Square Building / Landmark in Challaria | World Anvil

Abran’s Square

Write about a ceremonial building in your world and what takes place there.

It has been said that all roads lead to Mariv-thip; within Mariv-thip, several of the main roads converge on an edifice of limestone four stories high and eighty paces on each of its four sides which on high days, holidays and state occasions blocks their way with large wrought iron gates. This is Abran’s Square.   Pass through the gates and you find yourself in a square enclosure some forty paces across marked out by a waist high barrier behind which ranks of seating rise to the skies. On most days you’ll find small knots of people transacting business, sealing deals of property, trade or marriage and, if you look respectable, you may well find yourself called upon to formally witness one or more of these. This is Abran’s Square.  

Ceremonial Use

Aside from these personal and semi-private ceremonies the Square was also used for formal ceremonies of state such as the enthronement of the Emperor, the announcement or wars and peace and an a range of sporting contests of which, without doubt the Square Game is the most popular. All of these take place under the watchful gaze of the statue of Abran who is thought of as the ultimate witness to all of these deals or deeds and an inspiration to honesty and fair play (or at least the generally accepted standards of the day).

Alterations

Few alterations have been made to the Square since the stone facing was added however Hieron Nollerute devised a retractable roof for the stand which functioned for many years providing protection from the sun but collapsed under its own weight when it was soaked in a heavy storm before it could be retracted. The timber perimeter frame remains in place but efforts to reconstruct the canvas roof and the ropework to operate it were never successful.

Architecture

Originally built in brick the exteriao has been clad in marble and limestone to give it a brilliant white appearance. The walls are unadorned so that is presents as a solid white block sat in the middle of the city and standing proud of the surrounding buildings. Internally it takes the form of vaulted chambers and corridors to produce an almost honeycombed space used for storage, catering and entertaining whilst supporting the stands that looks down onto the Square. Seen from the Square the stands rise at some 45 degrees. The south stand is dominated with the florid decoration of the Imperial box which takes up the central section with seating areas flanking it. The North Stand is set up for spectators to stand - maximising the accommodation and the east and west stands fade from seating on the south side to standing on the north with the standing areas paved in brick and the seating formed of limestone benched; in both cases this is tiered to provide a horizontal surface with rails scattered through the standing areas to help prevent falls.

History

Many years ago, Abran’s Square was Mariv-thip’s market square, and like many other similar squares was the general public meeting place of the settlement and the go-to place for conducting public business. As it grew, from local, to regional to continental importance the square started to be used increasingly for state and official functions and the buildings around the square began to be reconfigured to act as stands and seating areas for witnesses, spectators and other similar roles (depending on the nature of the event taking place).   Though this started small - originally the square was fronted by narrow plots and each developed on its own or with groups of neighbours co-operating as part owners of a grander design it was bought out by the Emperor Falleron who imposed a more unified design on what had become an arena capable of holding upwards of 5,000 people. His improvements doubled this capacity despite commandeering half of the south side for an imperial box and he replace the statue of Abran , which had stood in the centre of the square becoming something of an obstruction as well as suffering passing damage with the famed Abran Triumphant of Merichon the Younger.   Subsequent emperors provided a more imposing external facade and cleared a broad road around the Square so that it presented less of an obstruction to traffic.
Badgers' Noses! Dried Python Spleens! Honeyed locusts! Get 'em while they're crunchy!
— Comestibelian's Cry
Alternative Names
The Market

The Square Game

In addition to it's civic and commercial purposes, Abran's Square also played host to the biennial Square Game, competed in by representatives of the provinces, cities, and such other groups as chose to field representatives. This involved 30 individuals who in each round would try to cross from one side of the square to the other. Initially they would be impeded by the Champion (by custom the winner of the preceding Game) and those who the Champion wrestled to the ground joined him or her in impeding the subsequent rounds with the winner being the last person to successfully cross the square and honour accorded to the person judged by the crowd to have been most effective in stopping others from crossing the square. In principle a simple game, but one where politics, friendship (or otherwise) or favours could markedly sway the outcome making is a favourite subject for wagers.

Catering at the Square

The constant use of the Square for formalising agreements makes it a place where food and drink are always available - what better than a convivial dinner to celebrate the marriage or a glass of rootale to aid the negotiations before taking tho the square to seal the deal under Abran's gaze? Most of the catering takes place in the chambers under the seating but sellers of snacks are often to be found crying their wares from the stands.
You want to know how we keep it gleaming white? That takes 10 tons of gull guano a year you know.
— Anon, maintenance worker.

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