The city of Achrida is nestled among the cliffs and steep slopes that line the western shore of Lake Achrida in the Empire of Makhaira. It is the capitol of the Imperial province of Dassaretum. Its current governor is Andreas Taronites.
It was originally founded by Zupan Vedrana Tomic of the the Dassaretae in 138 MG, one of two tribes to live in the region in ancient times. The Enchelei, the other tribe, has competed with the Dassaretae for supremacy for as long as anyone can remember.
Vedrana chose the location because it is essentially at the junction of the North Road and the Kopayalitsa, two large caravan routes. Also, it lies at one of the few convenient places on Lake Achrida where a port could be built.
Initially, this port allowed Achrida to take advantage of the lake's rich fishing opportunities. However, Lake Achrida is the westernmost of a series of lakes stretching many leagues to the east, culminating in Lake Kopayev. Over the centuries, Makhaira's emperors built a series of canals to connect those lakes. Boats on these lakes replaced the caravans on the Kopayalitsa, so while the land route fell out of use, its demise actually strengthened Achrida's position. Now it is one of the most important trading centers in the Empire, with routes stretching across the lakes to Anzhedonev in the east, through the western edge of Periaslavl all the way up to Kvivik, the capitol of Svellheim, to Lezh in the west, and Basilopolis to the south. Since those cities are also major trading centers in their own right, much of Shijuren's trade goes through Achrida at some point or another.
Because of its strategic position, it Vedrana first built a hillfort overlooking what would become harbor. Over the centuries, zupans and governors expanded that fort and now it is the imposing fortress Samiel's Castle.
Geographically, it slopes down from a series of ridges to the west, each getting progressively smaller as they slope down to the lake. Ridges to the north and south project into the city along the shoreline. Several small small streams feed down into the lake through the city.
The city has two main gates. The northern gate, called either Northgate or Upper Gate, leads to the North Road and all the northern countries. Once inside the city, that road becomes the Trade Road, which leads down to the other major gate, Southgate or Lower Gate. From Southgate, the road leads to Basilopolis.
Trade Road is the most important road in Achrida. It bisects the city north to south, and many of Achrida's most important locations lie along that route. For example, the Imperial building, home to both the governor of Dassaretum province and the Imperial bureaucracy in the city, lies along the Trade Road at Heartsquare.
The walls to the west, generally superfluous given the difficult terrain of the mountain ridges on that side, are perforated with small gates here and there as the city burrowed into the small spaces in those ridges and under the western hills. Also, beneath Samiel's Castle is a series of salt mines that now serve as the Archives of Achrida, one of several repositories of the Empire.
The city is filled with shrines and chapels. It is reputed to have a different place to pray for each day of the year and more. While no one has an actual count of the gods and godlings worshiped in Achrida, the prevalence of religious buildings suggests the reputation might be true. Two of the most important deities worshiped here are Naum and Panteleimon.
The original two tribes still form the bulk of the population. Theoretically, the city is governed by the Imperial governor of Dassaretae, but in practice, the rulers of the Enchelei and Dassaretae are the actual rulers.