Graaffsberg, also known by its Kunikata name of Syakusen (爵山) and often referred to by the dual Syakusen-Graaffsberg in recognition of its dual cultural heritage, is a city located in the central part of Mitrania, Empire of Gao-Soto. It is the crownland's capital city, and it has long been the centre of economic and cultural activities in the Crownland of Mitrania. Graaffsberg is situated in the centre of Mitrania. It lies in a warm, well sheltered, fertile valley, surrounded by the hills of the Friedenshügel range, 1,370 metres above sea level. To its southeast lie the valleys of the Oberflachland, and to the west the outcropping of the Schnee-Berge Mountains dominated by the Herzoginnejoch.
The area now known as Graaffsberg and the surrounding areas were were part of the Domains of the Gao-Showa, a loosly associated set of feudal fiefdoms and nomad homelands under the titular rule of an Emperor who was the head of whichever Gao-Showa clan was most powerful at the time. Graaffsberg was probably an important area even in these times due to it's geographic place in the centre of the region and the hugely fertile farmland it was built on.
The region east of the Schnee-Berge Mountains was first visited by Luthori colonists towards the close of the 15th century. At that time it was somewhat thinly peopled. The majority of the inhabitants appear to have been unskilled farmers of the Gao-Showa, barely resembling their sophisticated forefathers. Modern scholars believe that the strain of the wars with the Luthori Empire had drained the resources of the Gao-Showa in the region. Once the territories were conquered by the Luthori, colonists poured into the rich farmlands of Mitrania. The colonists built the city of Graaffsberg as the administrative centre of the new colony. They named the city after the prominent farmer/businessman Friedrich Graaff, who led the settlement of the region.
The city flourished after it's founding as settlers streamed into the Friedenshügel Valley. They were followed by merchants, administrators, and other professionals. It quickly grew from a small farming community into the largest and most urban area in Mitrania and one of the most settled areas in all Greater Hulstria.
Graaffsberg in Independence
Mitrania sought to further the distinction between themselves and the Luthori colonies in the years following independence. They developed a separate dialect of Hulstrian and promoted the expansion of the Catholic and Episcopal religions as opposed to the Lutheranism of the Luthori Hulstrians. In 1624, a new, more complex constitution was implemented that established the office of Premier, which was the be elected by the National Assembly. It also formally established Graaffsberg as the capital of Mitrania.
Graaffsberg's population swelled after independence. The new government in Graaffsberg supported the city's growth and sponsered the building of transportation links with Greater Hulstria and the world. By 1650, Graaffsberg had grown to a population of over 30,000 people.
In November 1658, gold was found in Korriel, Mitrania. This prompted the Korriel Gold Rush of 1649. Thousands of gold miners from all over the world flooded into Mitrania and started looking for gold. New emigrants also flowed into Graaffsberg, which was still the nation's economic and political centre.
In 2139, Gishoto emerged from a period of anarchy and lawlessness known as the Great Dark Period. This period was marred by Gishotoi violence against their Hulstrian rulers. While there was always a central government in Kien, it's authority was almost constantly undone because of the rebellion. Finally, the Hulstrians gave up and assented to the creation of a more "Gishotoised" state. The new nation, Gishoto, was to be a republic. Also part of the agreement was the renaming of several cities in Kuratha, Hilgar, and Mitrania to more "Gishotoi" names. Graaffsberg lost city status (even though it was well within the population qualifications) because it refused to "Gishotoise" it's name.
It became a city again thanks to the Hulstrian Nationalist Party's "Hulstrianisation of the Cities Act." This partially acounts for the HNP's current dominance in the city and the entire region of Mitrania. The current mayor, Jonas Swart is a member of the Hulstrian Nationalist Party. He was elected mayor in 2371 and was appointed mayor by the Archon after the laws were changed.
With a population of around 2,500,000, Graaffsberg comprises around 11% of Mitrania's total population.
Formerly overwhelmingly White, during the communist era, many poor Gishotoi flooded into Graaffsberg in the hopes of a better life. This created a large new labour pool, but also furthered the economic gap between the races in the city. Whites account for 72.46% of the population, followed by Coloureds at 14.21%, and Gishotoi at 13.35%. Aroud 12% of city residents are unemployed. 91% of the unemployed are Gishotoi.
About 86% belong to mainstream Christian churches, made up mostly of the Lutheran, Catholic, and Episcopal sects, around 6.5% belong to the Shinto religion, and around 5% are Buddhist. A small, but prominent minority of Jews comprise around 2% of the total population. The remainder have either no religion, another minor religion, or undetermined beliefs.
Graaffsberg is an important industrial centre, with heavy industries including iron and steel casting as well as automobile, railroad and machinery manufacture. It is also well developed in the commercial sector of the economy. Many national businesses are headquartered here.
The high level education rates and the city's well-established higher education infrastructure have helped Graaffsberg to attract foreign investors, as there are more people with internationally recognised certification and diplomas. Foreign investment remains vital to Graaffsberg's rapidly expanding economy in post-communist Greater Hulstria.
Tourism and transportation are also important to Graaffsberg's economy. Graaffsberg's highly developed transportation system links it to the rest of Greater Hulstria. Being the heart for Mitrania's transportation systems, it serves as the gateway to other destinations within the province.
Agriculture remains part of Graaffsberg's economy. The city is the primary artery through which much of Mitrania's agriculture produce is shipped. While farming does not occur inside the city limits, or in the immediate surroundings, the shipping industry keeps Graaffsberg connected with it's agricultural heritage.
Places of Interest
Graaffsberg contains many places of interest for tourists. The city offers an exciting blend of historical sites and modern cultural attractions.
- Graaffsberg City Hall
- Graaffsberg City Zoo
- Graaff House (residence of Friedrich Graaff)
- Graaffsberg Christliche Kirche
- Mitranian Free State Monument
- Schöpfergeistkathedral (Creator Spiritus Cathedral), seat of the Luthoran Church in Hulstria and Gao-Soto's diocese of Syakusen-Graaffsberg