Once the provincial capital of the Sultanate of Fashaddon’s Vermell Province, Taqwal is now the capital city of the eponymous Emirate of Taqwal. The city is not just the capital of the Emirate, but it is also its physical and spiritual home, as it was in the city of Taqwal that the rebellion that eventually forced the Sultanate of Fashaddon out of the Vermell Peninsula began.
From above, the city of Taqwal looks like a wheel with a huge, circular curtain wall surrounding the entirety of the metropolis, with a fortified citadel right at its centre, with eight large roadways leading from the curtain wall to the heart of Taqwal. The inner reaches of the city are home to the government and bureaucracy of the Emirate. As well as being the seat of Emir who rules the nation, it is also where the Emirate’s elected body, the Senate sit and debate when the Senators are in the capital. Because of its status as a capital city, albeit a young one, Taqwal is a thriving hub of industry and trade, and in the 80 plus years it has been a capital, the city has reached a truly international status.
As in the Emirate of Taqwal as a whole, the majority population of the city are Tieflings, who make up around 45% of the residents. The rest of the resident population is spread across all the other sapient races, with the exception of Half-Orcs whose historical relationship with the Sultanate of Fashaddon makes them very distrusted.
By far the largest class of residents in Taqwal is the middle class of artisans, merchants and officials, who are attracted to the city because of its proximity to Mollfalç, and the ready market for the buying and trading of goods and materials. Many of the middle classes reside within the inner circle of fortifications in the city, though they are not averse to living in the other areas of the city. In contrast, the majority of the poorer residents of Taqwal live in the shadow of the curtain wall as they are priced out of the housing within the inner defences. However, work in the various industries that are in this are means that employment opportunities are regular and plentiful. The smallest demographic in the city are the upper classes who live exclusively within the inner defences, and tend to prefer to live in close proximity to the citadel.
When the Sultanate of Fashaddon originally built the city, a huge amount of resources was put into the defensive structure of Taqwal, in order to provide a solid base from which the Vermell Peninsula could be defended. As it was once the agricultural heartland of the Sultanate, Fashaddon made defence of Taqwal from external forces integral to the construction of the city. Unfortunately, however, the Sultan Behlil did not take an uprising from within the city into account with Taqwal’s defences.
A large curtain wall, completely enclosing Taqwal from the outside world, surrounds the entire circumference of the city. There are eight entrance gates to the city, spaced at regular intervals around the circle of the wall, which correspond with the path of the major roadways through the city. These gates are heavily fortified, within the portals themselves there is an outer gate, an inner gate and a portcullis. The portals within the gatehouses are also defended by murder holes in the ceilings and arrow loops along the walls. In the spaces along the curtain wall, between the gatehouses are four evenly spaces raised platforms, each of which house a ballista emplacement.
Within the city there is an additional line of defence in the form of a moat that is placed equidistant between the curtain wall and the citadel at the heart of Taqwal. Where the major roadways meet the moat, they span the water via fortified bridges, which also act as garrisons in the heart of the city. Each of these bridges has two ballista emplacements on opposite ends of the span, one pointing towards the curtain wall, one towards the citadel. No other crossings are permitted to be constructed over the moat, nor are any boats or improvised craft allowed on the water. The inner bank of the moat has it’s own curtain wall, not much higher than a man running around its circumference, and no houses are permitted to be built within 50 metres of this internal wall. Finally, the citadel at the heart of the city is a heavily fortified structure in its own right, and is almost as much a defensive structure as it is the residence of the Emir. No invading force has been able to push through the inner line of defences, and the Emirate of Taqwal are determined to keep it that way.
The heavy production of wool and linen products in the Emirate has allowed Taqwal to flourish as a centre for the production of dyes and the dyeing of garments and other textile products. Many of the areas of production that hug the curtain wall of the city are geared towards the dyeing industry, and a lot of this produce is produced for export. In addition, the fact that the Emirate of Taqwal is still in a formal state of war with the Sultanate of Fashaddon means that the city of Taqwal has a thriving metal working industry, primarily geared towards the production of arms, armour and ammunition.
Located on the north-eastern coast of the Vermell Peninsula, the city of Taqwal does not have direct access to the sea, but instead has direct access to the sprawling harbour complex of Mollfalç that stretches across the immediate coastline and is one of the main hubs for the Emirate’s merchant navy. Three of the eight roads that cut through the city of Taqwal lead to Mollfalç, one to the northern end of the harbour, one to the middle and one to the southern end. The remaining five roads that lead into the city eventually lead to another major settlement, area of infrastructure or defence across the Emirate, truly cementing the city as the heart of the nation.
Inside the city, the eight major roadways lead directly from the city gates to the citadel complex at the centre. Each of these roadways has a fortified bridge as part of their length, where the road has to bridge the partly ornamental, partly defensive circular moat that has been dug between the curtain wall and the citadel. Numerous streets branch off at regular intervals from these main roads through the city, and most of them link up the eight large roads, though there are a fair number of cul-de-sacs scattered throughout the city. As the road infrastructure beyond the eight major roads has been allowed to grow more organically, it is naturally more chaotic in nature in terms of the planning that went into it.
On the whole, the closer that one gets to the citadel, the more expensive and highly prized the buildings and dwellings become. Once you cross over the moat into the city’s inner circle, the number of grand and public buildings shoots up, with the majority of the major political, religious and administrative infrastructure being within the area of the moat. The area that is within the shadow of Taqwal’s curtain wall is much more industrial in nature, and this is where the city’s dye works, weaving houses, warehouses and other manufacturing centres are located. The residential areas that are situated near to these more industrial areas are almost entirely poorer quality housing inhabited by the poorest members of the city.
Prior to 465S.E. Taqwal was the provincial capital of the Province of Vermell, which was originally part of the Sultanate of Fashaddon. Because of the huge agricultural value that the fertile land of the Peninsula offered to the predominantly desert based Sultanate, it was not long after the Vermell Peninsula was subjugated, by the forces of the then Sultan Behlil in 107S.E. that plans were drawn up to build an administrative and military hub in the Peninsula to protect and organise this vital asset. Construction of Taqwal began in 108S.E. and after nearly twenty years of relentless construction, the city was officially founded in 128S.E. At the time of its official founding, Taqwal was essentially an empty shell, with only the curtain wall, inner defence works and the citadel along with a few official buildings having been completed. It would take another 20 or so years for the city to actually feel inhabited, as people slowly drifted there from the rest of the Peninsula.
Taqwal continued to operate as the Provincial Capital of the province for over three hundred years, with the Governor of the city also being the Governor of the entire province. As these Governors were appointed by the Sultan and were not natives of the Peninsula there was a huge amount of resentment directed towards them, especially from the majority Tiefling population, who were viewed and treated as second class citizens. This made Taqwal, as the seat of the Sultan’s authority a hotbed of discontent, and there were many significant riots and attempted insurrections that took place in Taqwal’s streets over the years. It was after one particularly bloody riot in 449S.E., on the surrounding of the festival of Llum that the Sultanate finally listened to the petitions of the Peninsula’s inhabitants and began to put together a plan of limited home-rule for the province.
From 451S.E. Taqwal was centre of the semi-autonomous government of the Peninsula, but with discontent about the limitations of home rule meant that after a couple of years, the city once again became a hotbed of discontent in the Sultanate. Eventually this spilled over into outright rebellion in 465S.E., when the first and only Governor of the semi-independent province, Ramir Tarradel led the population of Taqwal in an uprising against the Sultanate. This sparked the independence conflict for the Vermell Peninsula, and before the conflict ended, Taqwal was inaugurated as the capital of the newly declared Emirate of Taqwal, and the city has enjoyed this status ever since.