"This sounds more like some king's vanity project than a hospital or a temple."The Solar Gardens are a wondrous landmark/building in the city of Var Kalriv, administered by the priesthood. It is a tall, multi-tiered sandstone building not far from the city's central district. Unlike most spartan medical facilities in the Kalriv Empire and indeed most of the rest of the world, the Solar Gardens are often described as an 'oasis in a building'. Whilst the inside and lower sections of the buildings are dedicated to medical procedures and patient accommodation, the top tiers of the building have been designed to house lush gardens. Features have been added over time such as broad emerald lawns, palm and date trees, exotic birds and animals imported from around the Empire. It also boasts polished sandstone paths and flowing pools and water features, providing a pleasant contrast to the surrounding Venderan Desert. Being considerably higher than most of the city, it also gains the benefit of cooler air and breezes, making it one of the more comfortable climates in the city.
-A Mayokati traveller upon having the Solar Gardens described to him.
Purpose / Function
The Gardens serve as a specialised place of healing for all Kalriv. Unlike most of Kalriv society, the gardens are open to all; anyone from a Solar priest down to a slave may seek care for an affliction here, and as with most services in the city, there is no cost to enter. In practice, it's somewhat harder for a slave to gain access as they require the assent of their owner, and attendees go through a triage process based off the severity of their symptoms and their importance to the Kalriv cause, but outside of this it remains one of the few places of social equality in the stratified Empire. The Gardens are staffed by specialised Solar priests who have been trained in a number of medical disciplines. Some particularly talented Solars are said to be able to intercede with Venderus himself, using their connection to the Sun God to cure wounds and illnesses, although this does not seem to be a panacea or cure-all and is limited in its application. In particularly dire cases of illness on important Kalriv figures, even the High Solar herself has been known to attend the Gardens and apply her own divine healing. All Solars staffing the facility, regardless of their divine abilities, are trained in various aspects of medicine and surgery, rivalling the Academy in terms of skill and knowledge. In addition to the skills of the Solar priests, it is said the beauty and tranquility of the gardens themselves have a beneficial effect on a person's soul, aiding in rest and recovery. A patient typically spends their time inside the building receiving physical treatment, then outside of this time are taken to the gardens to rest, relax and connect with nature.
The general structure of the Gardens building is that of a multi-leveled, pyramid-like structure constructed of sandstone brick. It is accessed by a central external staircase from the street below, and has both internal and external stairwells connecting the tiers. Columns are quite prominent on the garden tiers, along with walkways and paths laid out among the lawns and trees. Both shallow and deep pools of water have been cut out in the sandstone floors of the higher tiers.
Due to the legends of the effectiveness of a stay at the Gardens, they see many visitors both from within and without the Empire. In addition to the citizens of the Empire seeking treatment, many foreigners from across Arikanda attempt to visit the Gardens to seek treatment for maladies that their local priests or healers cannot heal. The fact that the Kalriv only admit their own citizens does not seem to deter the wealthiest and most desperate of visitors, with some aiming to bribe or even defect to the Kalriv Empire to be cured.