“This Ziggurat will be more than a temple, more than a palace and more than a collection of storehouses. It will be the very heart of the Kalriv, and it will be the conduit between Annyrion and Venderus.”The Venderan Ziggurat is an enormous construction, a ziggurat of adobe brick in the centre of the Kalriv city of Var Kalriv. Its existence dates back millennia, and local lore says it was built by Kalros himself when he established the city. The Ziggurat serves two purposes; like other ziggurats in the Kalriv Empire it serves as the religious centre of the city. Unlike other ziggurats however, it also serves as the residence of the and the administrative centre of the Empire. The Ziggurat is built in the centre of the , and is the natural terminus of the Concourse of the Ascended. It can be freely approached from any direction, however access is only available by approaching from the south.
-Purported to be the words of Mirkos, the first Solar priest
Purpose / Function
The Ziggurat serves as both the religious centre of the Solar Faith and as the administrative centre of the Kalriv Empire. It is also the official residence of the Basileus of the Kalriv Empire and the of Venderus. The Shrine of Venderus at the top of the ziggurat is considered a holy place where one communes with Venderus Himself, and many of the most important religious rituals and sacrifices in the Empire are performed here. It is also the preferred location for young Kalriv to undergo their Oath to Venderus and their consequential Affirmation as a Kalriv. Over centuries, the Ziggurat has expanded to carry out a number of other roles in Var Kalriv. The lowest tiers are home to storerooms of surplus grain, materials and tools in case of shortages, while other tiers house government offices, libraries and treasuries.
The Ziggurat is primarily constructed of oven-fired adobe bricks, which are white-washed. It is made up of eight progressively narrower tiers, which have been cut into over time to allow for doorways, corridors and rooms to be carved inside the ziggurat. The primary access point for the ziggurat is a series of steps leading up from the foot of the ziggurat to the third tier, where an arched gateway allows access to the interior. Two seperate sets of steps rise up from the left and right of the gateway and lead directly to the eighth tier. The tiers of the ziggurat are arranged as follows;
- Tier One and Two - Storge Tiers: These tiers are home to storerooms where emergency reserves of food, weapons, armour and tools are kept in case of a siege or plague.
- Tier Three - Public Tier: The third tier of the ziggurat is dedicated to the public and is where most visitors to the Ziggurat go to meet with government officials, petition priests and perform smaller-scale religious rites.
- Tiers Four and Five - Administrative Tiers: These tiers are dedicated to both government and religious functions, with offices, treasuries, libraries and archives.
- Tier Six - Basileus Tier: The sixth tier of the ziggurat houses the great hall where the Basileus receives dignitaries and undertakes official functions. It also contains the apartments of the Basileus.
- Tier Seven - Ecclesiastical Tier: This tier is dedicated to facilitating the functions of the High Solar. There rooms include the chambers of the High Solar, along with rooms for religious councils, libraries, and storage for important religious artefacts such as the Tablet of Venderus.
- Tier Eight - Shrine of Venderus: The final tier is the rooftop of the Ziggurat and is home to the Venderan Sanctum, a square open-air shrine considered to be the holiest site in Solarity, and is considered the tier belonging to Venderus Himself. The High Solar themselves leads rituals and sacrifices here. A great brazier burns in the centre of the shrine and is continually tended to by Solar priests.
As the most important temple in the Solar Faith, the Ziggurat attracts religious pilgrims from all over the Sapphire Coast. As part of the Solar Canon, all Kalriv with the exception of slaves are expected to make at least one pilgrimage to the Ziggurat in their lifetime, with more if they are able. The most common pilgrimage made is the Oath to Venderus, where young Kalriv make their commitment to Venderus upon reaching adulthood. This ritual takes place each month, and as such the city draws a steady flow of pilgrims year-round. Beyond this, the Ziggurat frequently draws high-ranking military officers, governors, nobles and civil servants throughout the Kalriv Empire to attend the Basileus, and even a small number of diplomats from other nations visit.