Belgae (Augustan: Βελγαι Belgaj) also known as Beleco is a major city and capital of Zardugal. It is located in the north of Zardugal in the centre-south of the State of Endiraho and is the largest population centre in the state. Currently 4 million residents in the city proper with a total of 7.5 million living in the Belgae Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Belgae, being the capital is home to most government institutions including the Federal Congress, the Presidential Palace, and various ministries and courts. Belgae is also considered one of the major economic and cultural hubs in the nation with large numbers of persons of different backgrounds and faiths living in the city.
Belgae most likely has the distinction of being the longest serving capital city of any nation in Terra, having only a handful of times been stripped of this proud role. The earliest evidence of settlement of this area dates from the Jelbic Migrations when the first tribes settled in this area. As the tribes moved north and the Augustans subsquently followed them, they too settled this area. One Praetor named Julius Belgos recorded a small settlement thought to be located near modern day Belgae in 984 and it is from his settlement of the region that the city comes to bear the name Belgae. Numerous classcial and historical palaces and castles were built during the Augustan rule with Belgos becoming a key border area against the Jelbic tribes during this time period.
However as the Empire began to disintegrate the city was among the first to fall, being sacked by Jelbic tribes in 1199. Afterwards the city entered a kind of statis neither advancing nor descending into historical darkness. As the modern era dawned in the 19th Century and the Zardic State began to emerge out of the chaos of wars and revolts, Belgae was one of the few cities in Zardugal with deep historical roots to the proud past of the region and given its location away from most of the partisan fighting in central and southern Zardugal, the city was designated the capital in the 2000's, a position it has held nearly continously since.
Despite Majatra's reputation for being a restless and unstable continent, few wars ever threatened, much less did any harm to Belgae allowing the city to develop unimpeded. Modern structures and buildings blended with the old and Belgae became one of the premier research areas for history of western and southern Majatra given its unlooted musems and historical relects.Perhaps the most devastating and traumatic incident in the city's history came in 3352 when during the Southern Hemisphere War the city was evacuated by the government (which fled to Venetio) and occupied by Jelbanian troops. Despite saving most of its heritage the city still suffered enormous damage which took decades to recover from. To this day some artifacts from the musems located in the city remain missing.
After the war the government invested billions rebuilding the country and as a result prosperity began to come back to the city. However in an effort to consolidate political control of the country after the war, the dominant CRP moved the capital to Portsmouth (now Limenstomo) in Ingomo. While the Presidency and Prime Minister moved their official residences there and Congress had pleniary sessions in the city, Belgae remained the administrative capital of the country being home to most of the government agencies and offices. By the early 3400's the city was formally restored as the capital and since then it has held that title.
Politics in BelgaeEdit
Being the capital and long time political nerve centre of the country, Belgae is a special Federal District under direct administration of the Federal Government. However, while the Federal Government exercises de jure power over the city, most of the governing is done by the Belgae City Council, a 21 member council which governs the city. A mayor is also elected to lead the city administration however the whole government is subject to oversight from the Federal Representative who reports to Congress and the President regarding matters related to the city. The Belgae City Court administers justice on the local level for the city with appeals from that court going to the Belgae City Appeals Court and if need be then go to the Federal District Court of Belgae, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals and then the Supreme Court of Appeals. Local prosecution is handled by the City Attorney and on a federal level the Federal Attorney of Belgae. Political Leanings
Despite being the centre of governance, the city tends to have a centrist and slightly centre right tilt during elections. The Zardic People's Party often wins local elections in the middle class and upper class neighborhoods while the lower class neighborhoods usually vote for the centre-left party of the day. Currently the ZPP holds the mayor's office along with holding every seat on the City Council following the dissolution of the ZNK, a former coalition ally. It remains to be seen how the new All Zardic Socialist Movement will play in city elections.
Government District and International DistrictEdit
Being capital of Zardugal, nearly all government ministries, agencies and offices have their general headquarters here in Belgae. Of those offices, most of them are located inside what is called the "Government District" of Belgae. All 12 ministries have their headquarters in the government district along with most of the important government agencies like the Federal Police Service and some of the intelligence agencies.
On the international side, the International District is located right next to the Government District largely for practical purposes. Most foreign nations have chanceries in the District and some of the more wealthy members of the internaitonal community reside here as well. Notable chanceries include the Kafuri Chancery, which is in the process of being transferred to the new government from the government in exile while and the large Vanukuean Chancery. The Majatran Union's Permanent Secretariat for Majatra is also located in this district along with the Council of Majatra Chambers for the same organization. To save and resources most nations group their permanent mission to the MU with their resident Chancery.
Judicially the Palace of Justice is also located here in the Government District and straddles into the International District as well. The Palace is home to the Constitutional Council and the Supreme Court of Appeals along with the Federal Attorney's Office for Belgae and some other administrative offices for the Council and Court. It also has the private work spaces of the members of the Courts.
As capital of Zardugal, many companies find it highly advantageous to have corporate offices here in Belgae to take advantage of the proximity to the Federal Government, and the international organizations. Major domestic companies like Kostandian Bay Maritime Corporation (KBMC) and Terra Security Group (TSG) have Belgae corporate offices to help handle government contracts and their international portfolios. Businesses from all over Majatra too especially from nations like Vanuku and Selucia which have close business ties with Zardugal.
The city also is a hub for financial services having the regional headquarters for Bank of Zardugal and several smaller regional and local banks and credit unions also have offices here. The banking industry's trade group, the Conference of Zardic Banks also has its offices in Belgae and regularly hosts conferences on banking and the financial sector.
Given the high density of research institutions and higher education centres, the city also plays host to a significant research and development sector. Zardic National Univerisity and University of Belgae contribute to the bulk of the research economy with different firms, government institutes and other NGO research centres working with the two universities. This also helps creates a large upper middle class sense of the city.
Primary and Secondary EducationEdit
On the primary level, education is handled by the Belgae Public Schools System (BPSS) which is the main and largest school system in the city. Currently 88,000 students are enrolled in one of the 44 elementary schools, 11 middle schools and 3 high schools. The city is also notable for having a notable and well regarded trade school program for students 10th Grade and higher. The Belgae Trade School gives the city's students who don't want to seek careers through the college system practical skills and certifications to be successful in the workforce. Currently some 2000 students are enrolled in courses like this and for the past several years, the number of students particpating in this program has increased exponentially.
The BPSS is governed by a local Board of Education which sets the cirriculm and teacher standards. The operating budget of BPSS is 80 million ZAR's for fiscal year 3719-3720 and most revenue is generated locally though federal grants do help cover some expenses, mostly long term capital projects. A Superintendent handles day to day administration of the schools.
Belgae has numerous oppurutnities for those seeking higher education. Zardic National University is the largest public univeristy in Zardugal with nearly 100,000 students from all across the country attending for everything from political science to language studies to economics to health studies. ZNU offers 4 year degrees in most fields and also offers a strong number of post-secondary options for those who wish to continue their studies.
Their main competitor is the Univeristy of Belgae, another publically run university whch is overseen by the local government (whereas ZNU has direct federal oversight). It has more than 15,000 students in undergraduate studies and 4000 in post-secondary studies making it the second biggest university in the city. UB is reknown for its artistic, architectual and design schools, being reknown around Terra while also having strong international relations, economics and poly sci degree programs.
A number of private colleges also exist including Belgae General College, a Terran Patriarchal Church run Hosian college which also includes one of the main seminaries for the Church in Zardugal and the more secular National College of Zardugal which is a small, upper class college which the rich send their prodegy too.
Culture and MuseumsEdit
Belgae, given its unique status in Zardugal and Majatra is a melting pot of cultures and is one of the most tolerent places to live in Zardugal and arguably Majatra. Everyone from Augustans to Jelbks to Majatrans to Luthori live in Belgae and contribute to the rich montage of culture in the city.
The main cultural organization is the Belgae All City Cultural Foundation, a joint public-private foundation dedicated to showcasing culture in the city and engaging in constructive city activities. Every year, the Foundation puts on the Summer Cultures Festival in June where the entire city comes out and enjoys a taste of everything Belgae has to offer. The parks are filled with ethnic vendors, and thousands of people flock from across Zardugal and even from across Terra to partake in the festivities.
Zardugal is also prime ground for studying cultures and has a wealth of museums. The Majatran Historical Society, based in Belgae, has its main museum and research institute, the Belgae Museum of Majatran History based in the city. The Museum is reknowned for its deep historical collections and high tech, modern workspaces. It has long been considered one of the premier research institutes in Majatra for history and culture studies. Also notable are the City Museum of Art which has several priceless paintings and statues on display and conducts workshops for rising artists and the Terra Geographical Institute that studies Terran geography and has exhibits open to the public.
The City of Belgae has a well developed mass transit system along with a variety of links to the outside world including highways, railways and airports.
Mass Transit Edit
The local mass transit operator is the public Belgae Transit Authority (BTA) which owns and operates the bus lines and the subways system.
The bus system was first established in 1912 when the city hired a private firm to begin opening and operating bus routes throughout the city. Since then, as the city has grown the bus system was nationalized and is now conducted through a public utility authority. The city's bus fleet includes nearly 500 buses which serve the city centre and are increasingly serving the suburban areas surrounding Belgae as they continue to grow.
The subway is a more recent addition, being added in 3590 after a series of major internal improvements were made. There are three lines that serve the city: Blue Line which serves the Government and International districts along with the upper class residential areas before terminating at Belgae Central Station, which is based in the northern part of the city. Red Line serves as an East to West link of the city with numerous stops in downtown, the middle class neighborhoods, Riverside and some of the closer suburban centres. Finally, Green Line serves as a ring around the city with stops in nearly all of the residential areas and most of the commercial areas. It both starts and terminates in Belgae Station. Most of the subways intersect at some point thus allowing riders to seamlessly switch from line to line.
Rail Lines Edit
Because of the city's central location in Endiraho, Belgae has emerged as one of the major travel nodes in the country. It provides rail links to Sebasto (the state capital) and to Gatineo to the west along with a line south to the major travel centre of Paralia Cezareo which largely links Endiraho to the rest of the country railwise.
Air Services Edit
Belgae is served by three airports (2 international, 1 regional): Belgae International Airport, located to the north of the city, Robert Wiencek International Airport and Clark Brommen Regional Airport. BIA is the largest in terms of volume of travelers and size with connecting flights to most major Artanian airports, flights from Selucia, Vanuku, Cildania and even a few direct flights from Northern Seleya.
RWIA is the second largest and receives flights from Eastern Majatra (Jelbania, Deltaria, Badara, Solentia) and also some from Dovani as Vascania.
The smallest airport is CBRA which only receives international flights from Jelbania and handles mostly flights from the other parts of Zardugal.
Important locations (Gallery)Edit
|Geography||Majatra • Lake Majatra • Sebastino • Belgae • Limenostomo • Kostandian Bay • Leukopolo|
|States||Endiraho • Sakvejo • Kalvario • Ingomo • Unkaso|
|History||Qedarite Migrations • Kingdom of Irkawa • Augustan Empire • Augustan-Tokundian Wars • Ahmadi-Augustan Wars • Ahmadi Caliphate • Kingdom of Zardugal • Zardic Slave War • Great Majatran War • Southern Hemisphere War • Lake Majatra War • Augustan Empire (3607)|
|Politics & Government||Emperor of Zardugal • Prime Minister • National Assembly • Cabinet • Cabinet history|