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GlobeWalkerGuides—Shiran (Holy Sharfic Republic)
GlobeWalkerGuides and the GlobeWalkerGuides Planet logo are the property of Jacksonville Press. All other marks and logos depicted are the property of their original
Jacksonville Press ltd.
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This work may not be copied, altered, censored, translated or redistributed in any form,
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GlobeWalkerGuides © 2015 Jacksonville Press.
Text © 2015 Daniel Dazkuglyn.
Image © 2013 www.snowliontours.com.
Printed in Sandirius.
Arriving and getting around
Information and services
At first glance, Shiran does not strike the
first-time visitor as a modern provincial
capital. The mostly pedestrianized city
centre, together with the low-rise buildings
and dominating Qolbaiqam palace, give
the impression of a city trapped in the late
19th century, unable to break free of its
Shiran, nestled high in the Amayali mountains that dominate northern Sharfland,
Almost 2000 kilometres as the crow flies
from the modern Sharfic capital of Vorga.
This isolation has done much throughout
the 20th century to discourage the rapid
and ungainly development that enveloped
the rest of the country—you will fine no
steel and glass towers in Shiran’s business district, and the roads and tenements outside the very centre are in
somewhat shabby condition. War damage
still pockmarks several of Shiran’s buildings, and power outages are common.
has protected its unique cultural heritage
and customs from the domineering politics of Vorga. The Amayali people have
always led an incredibly different way of
life to the Dushuij, Kehmanik, Vjiech, Aktoi, Sumq and Sharfic tribes of lower Sharfland. Amayali
different Gods, wore different clothes,
reared different plants and animals, and
for much of this land’s history owned a
different state to the lower tribes. In comparison to the somewhat brusque reception visitors can expect in the south, Amayali hospitality knows no bounds and visitors are celebrated. Befriend an Amayali
over coffee or Qolpoqp and you will be
invited to his home, introduced to his family, and urged to visit his shop owning family somewhere in the vast Amayali diaspora for further food, drinks and discounts.
Sitting and chatting over a drink is the
favoured pastime in this ancient city,
which moves as slowly and quietly as the
Those who manage to overlook Shiran’s enormous glaciers resting high above it.
rough exterior however will find a city
brimming with life and culture. The isolation that hampered Shiran’s development
Shiran’s turbulent past - the stage for
wars, coups, disease and famine—would
have destroyed a lesser city and people,
its continued existence stands as a
testament to the people’s resilience. First
settled in antiquity, the city of Shiran came
into being in the year 644, when Kol
Lhakao declared the Om river valley the
ideal site of his new royal castle, and built
the Qolbaiqam palace on a hill that
overlooked the flat expanse of the valley
plain, with the High Amayali foothills
protecting the rear. Once the palace had
been completed, Lhakao granted the land
surrounding the hill to his labourers and
soldiers as a gesture of thanks, naming it
Shiran in memory of the head builder who
fell to his death during the construction.
For the next 1200 years the city grew in
wealth, population and prestige as the
Amayali Kingdom rose to prominence in
central Crataea. After a series of small
wars and border skirmishes in the 17th
century, the Royal Army annexed all of
present-day Sharfland, renaming itself the
Kingdom of the Sharfic Dragon
The city continued to prosper as the Royal
capital until the early 20th century, when
the outbreak of the Great War in 1911
dragged the Dragon Kingdom into conflict.
Bound by treaties and coveting land in the
west, Sharfland committed its peasant
forces. After eight long years and 100,000
military dead Sharfland found itself on the
losing side, and was humiliated by a
peace treaty that stripped it of almost a
third of its land.
The global economic turmoil that followed
the war crippled the Dragon Mountain’s
economy. A new law ending royal yak
purchasing subsidies in 1932 led to riots
in Shiran and a communist revolution. The
national capital was moved to Vorga and
for 70 years Shiran, the symbol of a
decadent and primitive past, slipped into
obscurity, save for brief but intensive
development drives in the 1950s and 60s
that resulted in the addition of an entirely
new neighbourhood to the east of the city
known as Niyva Shirana.
The Sharfic Civil War of 1998-2010 was a
terrible time for Shiran. The city suffered
through two sieges in 12 years, first by
Amayali separatists and then by People’s
Crusade guerrillas. The city was shelled
extensively and the majority of buildings
suffer minor to extensive damage. Even
the Qolbaiqam palace, used as a
command centre by the short-lived
Amayali Kingdom, suffered extensive
exterior damage, and lost one tower from
heavy artillery barrage.
Since the end of the war Vorga has done
what it can to placate the city. Amayali
religious practices and sites have been
recognised as an official state religion and
the Qolbaiqam Palace has been almost
completely restored to its former glory.
Despite underlying resentment the city is
doing its best to move forward from its
“lost decade” and reclaim its place as a
world cultural capital.
Shiran can be divided roughly in half by
the canal that runs north to south through
the city. Virtually all tourist sights are on
the western side, with the east being overwhelmingly residential developments. On
the west there are three main
neighborhoods of interest to the traveller—
Prakhala, Senbraderg and Kolkartelm.
In Prakhala, visitors will find the central
market and Jade Mountain Temple, as
well as a handful of souvenir stores and
an abundance of inexpensive hostels.
Where hostels go, bars follow, and
Prakhala hosts the city’s best-known backpacker drinking dens.
Senbraderg is the true centre of the city,
playing host to Shiran’s shopping streets
and a number of business premises. This
is where the city almost reaches a “hustle
and bustle”, especially at lunchtime when
the office workers escape into the warren
of alleyways to enjoy a steaming bowl of
Gwigkhali. The city’s central train and bus
stations are located here.
Kolkartelm—translated as the King’s Hill—
is the cultural heart of Shiran, containing
the vast Qolbaiqam palace and a number
of other temples and shrines scattered
over the hillside. Surrounded by trees and
traditionally painted whitewash walls, the
King’s hill is incredibly quiet, and rich in
Aside from the city centre, the district of
Padar to the south has a small collection
of museums and restaurants. For the
adventurous, Nivya Shirana east of the
canal conceals the ancient Shiran
University within its concrete
blocks, with a large number of libraries
and coffee shops frequented by students
vicinity although caution is
advised when walking around in the more
deprived areas of the district.
Finally the Gerishii Gib National Park,
around an hour northwest of Shiran, is
astoundingly beautiful and offers a wide
range of outdoor pursuits.
Arriving and getting around
Shiran is served by Shiran International
Airport (www.shr-airport.srk, +899 414
7014) located 15 kilometres east of the
(www.repairlines.sk) and AngelWings
(www.angelwings.com) fly daily domestic
connections to Vorga, Nanchor and Isfara.
International flights tend to connect at
Vorga, but Shiran does serve a handful of
short-haul international routes to and from
From the airport, a taxi ride into the city
centre should cost around 300 - 400Kr
($3.61 - $4.81). Make sure that the driver
turns on the meter, and ask for a receipt
when you arrive.
An alternative option is the Republican
Airlines Air Shuttle, which travels from car
park C to the central market every half-hour
(timetable available at www.shr-airport.srk/
shetil/karta.htm). The Shuttle ticket will
cost 50Kr ($0.60) plus another 50Kr for
any large bags, and is bought from the
driver. The drive will take between 30 and
45 minutes to reach the market, stopping
at the bus and train stations on the way.
The city has a large, busy and relatively
modern bus station (Yerma Senbraderg 13,
www.ABKZS.srk, +899 414 4902). Due to
Shiran’s poor road connections all
domestic buses will travel south either to
Proletarsk or Tsetyseng, both of which have
large interchanges that serve every provincial city in the country. The bus network
functions pretty smoothly, but is prone to
bottlenecks and delays when traffic
accidents occur on motorway no.7 between
Shiran and Proletarsk. Depending on what
ethnicities are involved, drivers will also
often take detours into tiny mountain
villages to drop passengers at their
doorstep, further delaying the ride.
While it is possible to reach Shiran via
private car, it cannot be recommended. The
trip from Proletarsk to Shiran takes 14 to
18 hours of unbroken driving, along often
perilous mountain roads. Local drivers in
decrepit vehicles, with seemingly little
regard for your or their safety will overtake
and cruise down the wrong side of the road
with wild abandon. Traffic accidents are
Common and cause long delays. If you do
manage to arrive in Shiran, follow the
signs for “Slyuza”, which is the ring road
that surrounds the pedestrianized centre.
Your hotel will most likely be within a ten
minute drive of this road.
Shiran’s main train station is located in
the city center, a few blocks south of the
bus station (Yerma Senbraderg 5,
www.ledina-shiran.srk, +899 414 3886).
Trains are operated by Sharfrail
(www.Sharfrail.srk, +899 101 9030).
Trains run to Proletarsk and Isfara directly,
and to most other cities in Sharfland via
the enormous rail junction at Chobriyr.
Tickets are purchased either from travel
agencies in the city of from the ticket
office at the station, with the former being
easier and the latter being cheaper. Two
categories of ticket are available—First
Class (Wuniye) and General (Churbuj).
First Class tickets include free meals at
scheduled times, and grant access to fourberth sleeper cabins. General class tickets
grant a no-frills single seat in a carriage
that may or may not have functional air
White Line trains (Yuda) are reasonably
fast and modern, with pricier tickets, and
stop only at major stations. Brown Line
trains (Melu), while cheaper, will call at
quite literally every village on the line and
lack any first class carriages. On the long
journeys to and from Shiran this will mean
at least one night spent sitting up on the
train—it is up to you if the savings are
worth it. The upside to the Melu trains
however is that they are often full of locals
eager to talk to you and practice their
language skills, and are often very
informative. They also usually have
fascinating stories to tell that grant the
traveller a local insight into the region.
Shiran is a fairly compact city and the
majority of its tourist attractions are no
more than an hours’ walk apart at the
most. The city centre and hill are entirely
pedestrianized, and most busy roads have
Flyovers or pedestrian crossings. Drivers are prone to claustrophobia or
rarely pay attention to the colour of the uncomfortable in crowds, it may be better
lights and will simply speed through to walk or take a taxi.
unless they can see someone waiting or
trying to cross—ensure you make yourself
visible when using the street crossings.
Shiran is served by a dense and informal
network of minivans known as Changora.
The majority of them either start or end
their routes at the central market and
reliably cover all corners of the city and its
suburbs. Routes are predetermined and
numbered, with odd numbers running east
-west and even numbers running northsouth.
To get on a Changora, simply stand by the
road somewhere along the route and stick
out your arm. The Changora will slow down
and the “conductor” in the front seat will
shout the destination. If it’s right then nod,
smile and climb aboard. Tickets cost a flat
30Kr ($0.36) and are bought from the
conductor. You pay by passing your money
down to the passenger in front until it
reaches the conductor, who will send your
change back the same way.
While Changoras are incredibly cheap and
convenient, they have something of a
reputation as an unsafe, crowded and
unsanitary mode of transportation. If you
Taxis in Shiran can be identified by their
red and blue paintjobs. This paint scheme
is one of the few regulations of being a
taxi driver in Shiran, which explains the
wide range of vehicles serving the fleet. All
however have two things in common: a
meter, and a starting fare of 40Kr. Fares
increase in increments of 7Kr/km. Always
insist on using the meter, as negotiated
prices always come to more than the
correct meter price.
To get a ride in a taxi simply walk out onto
the street—within seconds one or more will
pull up asking you where you are going.
Make sure they agree to using the meter
before you get in. Remember that rates
increase to 10Kr/km after 10pm.
Central Market (Ouglam Prakhala)
The Central Market, largest in Shiran, lies at
the junction of the two Prakhala roads. In it,
one can buy almost anything, from the
mundane to the exotic. In particular, many
visitors buy authentic, hand-crafted
souvenirs here. Look for the genuine, handmade Amayali carpets that hang from
several stalls, and the weapons market in
the southeast corner selling all manner of
locally manufactured rifles, shotguns and
Shiran and is dedicated to Mt. Braakal,
Sharfland’s highest peak, which is
worshipped by the Amayali as a deity.
Inside the temple is an scale replica of the
mountain, carved from a single, enormous
boulder of jade mined from deep within the
The Central Market is divided into sections, with
each selling a different product. For example, A-6
sells pet supplies whereas D-9 sells vehicle parts.
Maps are available for free throughout the market,
and stall owners will be happy to point you in the
Jade Mountain Temple (Yerma Prakhala
GWG Must See
The Jade Mountain Temple is roughly ten
minutes’ walk up Yerma Prakhala from the
central market. This is the oldest, largest
and most ornately decorated temple in
Zhuphaqa shrine (Nulqa 6, Yerma
Zuphaqa shrine lies down a side-street of
Yerma Prakhala, about five minutes’ walk
north of the Jade Mountain Temple. It is
dedicated to all those who lose their lives in
the Amayali mountains. At most times of
the day you will find friends or relatives
sitting quietly or offering foor and clothes to
the deceased. Despite the presence of
Several nearby hostels, the shrine retains 1980s attempt by the Vorga government
an aura of peace and tranquillity.
to provide local solutions to various
Amayali problems. It accepted one
delegate from every village in the northern
provinces, and met annually from 1984 to
Vrd. Kol Lhakao (Ouglam Senbraderg 1)
1986. in 1987 a bomb exploded in the
Shiran’s main square is the place where assembly chamber and the government,
locals come to meet and relax. Ringed by wary of the power the Congress wielded,
a number of coffee shops and featuring a temporarily suspended it on the pretext of
pair of large ornamental fishponds, Vrd. security concerns. It never met again, and
Kol Lakhao is an excellent place to people- the building was abandoned. It served as
watch or grab some street food from one a munitions dump in the Civil War.
of the many vendors in the alleys
surrounding the square.
Brotherhood and Harmony Hotel (Yerma
This hotel is worth a visit simply to take in
its absolutely hideous architecture. Built in
1961, when brutalist-futurist architecture
was in vogue, the Vorga government built
this hotel as a gesture of friendship to the
Amayali people, and in an effort to boost
tourism in the region. It was used as a
sniper tower in the civil war and heavily
damaged. It still stands, but is crumbling
and abandoned. Despite token security
measures, the building is enterable.
Amayali Carpet Museum (Nulqa 19, Yerma
This charming museum is housed in a
former carpet factory located twenty
minutes’ walk north from the Congress
building. The lower floor is dedicated to
several models and video screens that
People’s Amayali Congress Building show the stages of hand-making an
(Nulqa 3, Yerma Senbraderg)
Amayali carpet. The upper floor, once used
The People’s Amayali Congress was a mid- for offices, has been transformed into a
Gallery containing over two hundred
antique Amayali carpets. At the exit of the
museum is a small tea house where
visitors can sit on some carpets and drink
tea in the traditional Amayali style.
Entrance fee: 350Kr.
Vrd. Chalika (Quiqam Senbraderg 23)
Smaller than Kol Lhakao, Vrd. Chalika is
still an excellent place to take a seat and
watch the world go by. The flagstones on
the square form a large mural depicting
Amayali-Sharfic friendship. Cultural and
art events are regularly held here in the
evenings, such as Amayali dancing.
Qolbaiqam Palace (Kolkartelm 1)
GWG Must See
This enormous, sprawling palace complex
dominates the Shiran skyline and is visible
from almost any place in the city. Built in
the 7th century for the Amayali King
Lhakao, in the 1980s the antiques housed
in Qolbaiqam were said to rival the GDP of
the entire Sharfic Republic in value.
During the war a number of valuables
were looted and the palace sustained
damage, losing one of its towers to an
artillery barrage. However today the
damage has largely been repaired and the
palace has been reopened for tourists.
It is free and unrestricted to wander the
palace grounds, but you must be part of a
guided tour to go inside. Tour times can be
s een on t he palace web s it e
(www.Qolbaiqam.srk). Tickets can be
bought either via the website or from your
guesthouse/hotel, and come at several
price points. The more you pay for your
ticket, the more of the palace interior you
will see. Guides expect a tip. Photography
is banned inside the palace, but official
photographs may be purchased in the gift
Entrance fee: 500-5000Kr.
Snow Lion Temple (Kolkartelm 1)
This temple, the second oldest temple in
Shiran, was built by Lhakao at the request
of his soldiers to bring them the protection
of the Snow Lion (the warrior god). The
temple features a number of ancient
swords, shields and helmets left as
offerings by the Kol’s army.
Entrance fee: 250Kr.
Palace Walls (Kolkartelm 1)
With the walls surrounding Qolbaiqam now
rebuilt it is possible, with a lot of water
and stamina, to complete a circuit of the
palace along the walls. Depending on the
walker’s fitness level, the walk will take
Between 45 minutes and one hour of flat Tower of Clouds (Yerma Kolkartelm 4)
sections interspersed with flights of steep The Tower of Clouds is a 75 foot high
upward and downward steps.
stone tower used for carrying out Amayali
“sky burials” - the practice of leaving a
body in the open to be eaten by carrion
During the Civil War, the palace walls were used as
birds. Originally used exclusively by the
fortifications by the Amayali militia and took a lot of
monarchy, it was in later years ordered by
fire. While the majority of the damage has been
repaired, the walls are still peppered with smallthe monks to be opened to members of
calibre bullet holes and some dried blood smears. If
the public who carried out great deeds in
this makes you uncomfortable, do not walk the
life. The climb to the top, up a narrow
winding staircase, is gruelling but worth
Vuichungao Monastery (Kolkartelm 1)
the trip, whilst the gardens below offer
This monastery, built as an annex to the small ponds and flowerbeds. Be warned
palace in 729, it was at the time the that the Tower of Clouds is still in use, and
largest religious building in central if a body is “buried” at the tower, it will be
Crataea. One boy would be sent from closed for the next fifteen days. If you are
each family to train as a monk and unsure, ask a local.
prepare for his pilgrimage to the summit
of Mt. Braakal. The monastery is still Qenqunqiu botanical gardens (Yerma
active, and accepts international travellers Kolkartelm 6)
into a two-week intensive traditional The only botanical gardens in Shiran, this
lush expanse of greenery is placed directly
Entrance fee: 400Kr.
across Yerma Kolkartelm from the hill and
is surrounded by buildings. The path winds
through several species of ornamental
native flowers and an enclosed
greenhouse holds a number of local birds.
Best visited in the summer months.
Entrance fee: 150Kr.
Kol Qhandao statue (Yerma Kolkartelm 8)
A large and imposing statue of Kol
Qhandao, who led the Amayali campaign can be in somewhat poor condition, but
to conquer lower Sharfland in the 17th volunteer university students are on hand
to take you on a tour of the museum.
Entrance fee: 200Kr.
Amayali history museum (Yerma Padar
This museum, built by the last Dragon
King in 1893, charts the history of the
Amayali nation from antiquity to the
present day. Whilst the somewhat biased
account of Amayali “reintegration” to
Sharfland in 2010 may raise eyebrows,
the museum is overall an educational and
relatively non-partisan experience.
Entrance fee: 350Kr.
Amayali Contemporary Art Gallery (Quiqam
Featuring contemporary and modern art
exhibits by local artists, the Contemporary
Art Gallery may be somewhat inaccessible
to all but the most avant-garde of
travellers. Exhibits are typically rotated on
a six month basis.
Entrance fee: 500Kr.
Amayali ethnological museum (Nulqa 22,
A small, shabby and charming museum
located down an unassuming side street,
this local-run establishment documents
Amayali culture in detail. Exhibits include
traditional clothing, village life, religious
worship and society.
Entrance fee: 100Kr.
Shiran University (Quiqam Lhakao 39)
Shiran University, the oldest in Sharfland,
Shiran Regional Art Museum (Nulqa 11, was established an hour away from the
Qolbaiqam Palace in 1571 as a place of
A gallery showcasing traditional art from research for the Amayali royalty. In recent
all periods of the city’s history. Exhibits years its beautiful buildings have been
surrounded by the utilitarian concrete
tenements of Niyva Shirana, but the
University itself remains worthy of a visit.
The library, central Crataea’s largest, is
open to the public and hosts a collection
of rare Amayali manuscripts.
Around one hour northeast of Shiran, this
prehistoric canyon served as a staging
post for raids into Shiran by both Amayali
separatists and People’s Crusade
militants during the civil war. Whilst the
prehistoric petroglyphs adorning the cave
walls are enough of a draw for most,
rumours of military stockpiles deeper in
the labyrinth continue to attract war
tourists. A pair of destroyed tanks and
abandoned bunker at the mouth of the
canyon provide endless photo
Shiran Mountaineering Museum (Nulqa To get to the canyon, take bus 32 from the
44, Yerma Lhakao)
main bus station (100Kr).
This museum documents the history of
Amayali mountain climbing, from the bare Dolbigula Geb
ropes of antiquity to the modern nylon Visiting this ancient mountain village two
paracord harnesses of today.
hours north of Shiran feels like stepping
Entrance fee: 100Kr.
back in time—vehicles are parked at the
foot of the mountain and reaching the top
Sharfic Catholic Church (Yerma Lhakao 2) involves a 45 minute climb, either on foot
This church, built in 1936 as part of the or via one of the mules rented out at the
new communist authorities’ attempts to car park (100Kr). Aside from the
dilute Amayali power and promote electrification, virtually nothing has physireligious diversity, is located just across cally changed over the last one hundred
the Shiran canal. Its curious art deco years, making this stone village an
design makes it worth a visit.
interesting day trip. To get there, take bus
41 from the main bus station (200Kr).
The legal drinking age in Sharfland is 16,
however in bars and clubs the age rises to
18. There are several local beers available,
the most popular being Amayala and
Shiranala. For spirits, Qolpoqp (a brandy
made from distilled, fermented yak’s milk)
is the local drink of choice but something of
an acquired taste.
An official curfew of 2am is closely followed
in all areas except Tzuzgiyev Street, which
drinkers merge into a single drunken mass
dancing and flailing to twenty different
Sharfic electrobeat or Amayali turbofunk
tracks at once.
Whilst the bars on Tzuzgiyev have a
reputation as being somewhat transient, a
hard core have managed to stand the test
Shiran has a number of bars—the majority
are divided into three distinct clusters, each
serving a different clientele.
Tzuzgiyev Street (Nulqa 8, Yerma Prakhala)
Tzuzgiyev Street is the informal name for
Nulqa 8, on Yerma Prakhala. This street,
one of the first to be discovered by foreign
backpackers in the 1960s, is now an unbroken line of cheap and cheerful bars
serving seemingly endless quantities of
beer and spirits. During weekends, the bars
all blare music outward into the street and
Purdag’s Bar is something of an institution
on Tzuzgiyev, being the only bar to remain
open for the entirety of the civil war. Customers are cheered into
vast quantities of Qolpoqp, and the staff
famously offer plastic wraps for your shoes
at the door to protect them from vomit. In
recent years it has been ordered to tone
down its debauchery, but remains a
guarantee of morning-after regrets.
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