This article is adapted from the entry for Krestigzir in The Sâryan Encyclopedia, Cárshǒhl University Press, 22nd edition (716).
Krestigzir was the heart of the tin industry in Quemar from the -400s onward. While tin extraction, and in many cases the initial processing stages, took place across the wider region, Krestigzir was the place tin ore would be brought for final smelting and sale. Much of the tin sold in Quemari ports passed through Krestigzir. It was also a where a substantial proportion of Quemar’s pewter was smelted and manufactured.
Industry & Trade
While not all the tin which was traded through Krestigzir was smelted into ingots there, much of it was brought into the town as ore. From the mid -300s onward, perhaps a bit later, enough ore material brought in was large enough for the town to have a series of stamp mills to help crush the ore before roasting (which might also be done to ore beforehand), or a single-stage smelting. The stamp mills—many made of imported timber, with bronze or later iron fittings and local granite stone as the base—were considered an awe-inspiring sight even by some from places with much taller buildings, given how they stood out against the Quemari townscape. In contrast, the furnaces used to smelt the tin ore generally received little attention from visiting writers. Krestigzir was also a major centre for the smelting of pewter and manufacture of pewter objects, for both domestic and foreign markets. While plain tin ingots were largely meant for export, pewter was more important domestically than bronze (probably also smelted in small amounts in Krestigzir) in all but the earliest periods. In everyday pewter objects, however, Krestigzir had more competition, as smaller tinworks nearer the silver mines which produced the lead tended to specialize more heavily in pewter products for the domestic Quemari market. Harbour towns like Zarhåm were nonetheless ready domestic markets for Krestigzir’s pewter wares. The town also had some trade in schorl/black tourmaline—usually found when mining for cassiterite—and in the products of pastoralists, such as wool, dried meat, leather, cheese, and medicinal herbs.
Although most Quemari towns had a fair number of two-story buildings by the middle of Quemar’s provincial period, Krestigzir had at most a few at any given time. Instead its architecture was more similar to the traditional Quemari village architecture. While this was probably in part due to most of the permanent population being workers in the tin or another industry (merchants tended to prefer the harbour towns for long stays), that the primary building material was local granite was probably a contributing factor. The granite was usually collected as fragments which had been weathered off or nearly off the bedrock, yielding irregular rocks which were typically built into drystone walls, topped with thatched roofs. Though the buildings were fairly typical for rural Quemar, Krestigzir laid claim to one unique feature outside of its industrial structures; waste gravel from the ore-washing process was used to pave the streets.
Krestigzir lay at the heart of Quemar’s main tin region in the northwest. The town was sited in one of the largest river valleys in the area, nestled between rugged moorland pastures, precisely to take advantage of the numerous watercourses for the mining industry. As with most settlements in Quemar, the land has never been very well-suited to horticulture, and in the case of Krestigzir most of the silt valley bottom has been built over near the town, though there is some evidence of horticulture in the valley in the first few centuries of its existence.