Braavos

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Braavos
Free City
The Titan of Braavos - by zippo514
Location Free Cities, Essos
Government Sealord of Braavos
Religion All gods are honored in Braavos
Founded 500 years before Aegon's Landing
Notable places Titan of Braavos, Drowned Town,
House of Black and White,
Purple Harbor, Ragman's Harbor, Temple of the Moonsingers,
Patternmaker's Maze, Stones of the Silent God
Organizations Faceless Men, Iron Bank of Braavos, Moonsingers
Nine Free Cities on the continent of Essos:
Pentos, Braavos, Lys, Qohor, Norvos, Myr, Tyrosh, Volantis, Lorath

Braavos is the greatest and most powerful of the Free Cities, located in a lagoon on the northwestern end of Essos, where the narrow sea and the Shivering Sea meet.[1] There is a stretch of land to the south called the Braavosian Coastland that is claimed by Braavos.[2] The ruler of Braavos is known as the Sealord and it is from the sea that the city’s power and wealth flows. The city is one of the greatest banking centres in the world. A man can get anything in Braavos, for a price, especially death.

Contents

History

Unlike the other Free Cities, Braavos was never part of the Valyrian Freehold, but was instead founded 500 years before Aegon's Landing by refugees fleeing Valyrian expansion. They were led by the Moonsingers, who settled in the lagoon in an effort to find a place safely away from the Valyrian dragons.[3] For centuries it was called the Secret City and remained relatively unknown to the rest of the world. It became publicly revealed after the Doom of Valyria, roughly 400 years after its founding. The city is sometimes called the Bastard Son of Valyria.[4]

City

Braavos sprawls across a hundred islands in a vast lagoon.[5] The nearby mainland is mostly marshland, whilst the seaward sides of the city are protected by tall, mountainous islands which form a semi-circle around the city. Firewood is brought in by barge, while pines on the islands surrounding the city are left to act as windbreaks to protect the harbors, and are illegal to cut down.[6] There is only one channel large and deep enough to accommodate ocean-going ships. This channel is defended by a massive statue called the Titan of Braavos, which serves as landmark, lighthouse and defensive fortification. Just beyond the Titan lies the citadel and the vast shipyard called the Arsenal. The city proper lies beyond, a great sprawl of domes and towers and bridges in hues of grey, gold, and red.[3]

The city is comprised of a hundred islands linked together by small stone bridges spanning the many canals throughout the city. There are no trees to be found within the city, making Braavos a city of stone architecture and granite monuments. The streets are lined with houses made of grey stone, built so close that they lean upon one another. Some houses are built above waterways. They are usually slim buildings with peaked tile roofs, raised four to five stories tall. Above the houses and canals there is an aqueduct, called the sweetwater river, that brings fresh water from the mainland as the water from the lagoon is brackish, briny and unfit for drinking.[3]

Braavos is served by two main harbors. The Purple Harbor, in the north, is used by locals only, while the Ragman's Harbor in the west is where foreign ships are moored. All ships have to submit to inspection by the Sealord's customs officers at the Chequy Port. Scattered throughout the city are small wharves and landings for the fishermen and ferries.[6]

All gods are honored in Braavos. Most of the temples are located on the isle in the center of the city, known as the 'Isle of the Gods'. Among them is the Temple of the Moonsingers who led the original Braavosi refugees to the islands. Another temple of note is the temple to the Father of Waters which is rebuilt whenever he takes a new bride, as well as temples to the Many-Faced God and R'hllor, and a sept for the Seven named the Sept-Beyond-the-Sea. Other sites include the shrine of the Weeping Lady of Lys, the Gardens of Gelenei, the wooden hall of the Lord of Harmony, the house of the Great Shepherd, a three-turreted tower honoring Trios, the Stones of the Silent God, the Patternmaker's Maze, the temple of Aquan the Red Bull, and twin temples honoring Semosh and Selloso.[7] Even gods that have no more followers are honored in a temple called the Holy Refuge or, colloquially, the Warren.[3][7]

The Drowned Town is an area of Braavos where the town has fallen into the lagoon and only the domes and towers of the old buildings are visible above the surface of the water.[4]

Below the Drowned Town, there are a series of wharves.[8] Among the areas where one can pause in Braavos is the Moon Pool. The bravos often duel at the Moon Pool by night.[4] Healers for hire are found at the House of the Red Hands. The best inns and brothels lie near the Purple Harbor or the Moon Pool. Nearer to the Ragman's Harbor, one can find the Inn of the Green Eel‎‎, the Black Bargeman, Moroggo's, the Outcast Inn, the House of Seven Lamps and the brothel called the Cattery. Beneath the second arch of Nabbo's Bridge lies the Foghouse, a small, cramped, dirty establishment with barely enough space to fit ten people. Among other establishments are the Mummer's Ship and the Happy Port.[6] There are eel fights in the Spotted Cellar, which lies near the gates to the Drowned Town.[4]

Statues of former Sealords stand along the main canal. They are mostly carved wearing long bronze robes, and hold various items in their hands, such as books, daggers, or hammers. One holds a golden star and another is upending a stone flagon from which fresh water flows.[3]

A broad waterway known as the Long Canal leads south to the fishmarket. Along the Long Canal sits the Palace of Truth, a building with green copper domes. The tall square towers of the Prestayns and the Antaryons also sit along the canal. After those towers, one must pass beneath the large grey aqueduct of the Sweetwater River that demarcates the beginning of the district known as the Silty Town. In the Salty Town, the buildings are smaller and less grand. The Long Canal is a main thoroughfare that is usually full of barge and serpent boat traffic.[4]

Additional Description

Aqueducts

The water from the lagoon is brackish and briny and the canal water is not drinkable without first boiling it.[3] Towards or beyond the heart of the city, above the houses and canals there is an aqueduct -- a grey stone roadway supported by three tiers of arches traveling southwards. It looms above the canals and houses. Called the Sweetwater River, it brings fresh water from the mainland across the mudflats and the briny shallows. Rich men pipe it directly into their homes, while commoners fill buckets at public fountains.

Harbors

In the Braavosi lagoon there are a plethora of fish and shellfish which constitute the main diet of the Braavosi. Their islands are devoid of trees. Firewood is brought in by barge, while pines on the islands surrounding the city are left to act as windbreaks to protect the harbors, and are illegal to cut down.

Isle of the Gods

All gods are honored in Braavos.

Bridges

Canals

Culture

Braavos has a seafaring trade culture. Braavosi ships paint their hulls purple and their merchant ships sail to many distant lands and bring their trade and wealth back home.[3] One hears of purple sails as far away as Asshai and the islands of the Jade Sea.[9]

Braavos has many moneylenders and the Iron Bank of Braavos lends money to foreign nations, including the Seven Kingdoms.[10]

The city is also renowned worldwide for its courtesans. Every courtesan has her own barge and servants to work them. The beauty of famed courtesans has inspired many a song. They are showered with gifts from goldsmiths and craftsmen beg for their custom. Nobility and rich merchants pay the courtesans large amounts of money to appear alongside them at events, and bravos are known to kill each other in their names.[4]

Braavosi culture has created a unique form of sword fighting, called Water Dancing. The style is a refined form of fencing in which the practitioner stands sideways and wields a slender blade. Pugnacious bravos fill the city, frequently dueling to display their skill.

Bravos dress in flambouyant colors, contrary to wealthy Braavosi, who "dressed in charcoal grey and purple, blues that were almost black and blacks as dark as a moonless night".[6] Officials of Braavos, called keyholders and justiciars, wear drab coats of brown and grey.[4]

Chapters that take place at Braavos

Quotes

Braavos is the odd duck among the Nine Free Cities, but still more Valyrian than Andal in its origins.[11]
- George R. R. Martin


We Braavosi are descended from those who fled Valyria and the wroth of its dragonlords. We do not jape of dragons.[12]
- Tycho Nestoris, to Jon Snow

References and Notes

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