UPDATE VI: VINOGRADSK AND THE SURROUNDING AREA, PART ONE
Over the next few updates (starting today), we will explore the southwestern part of the Principality of Tarskya, a Malonese dependency on the southern coast of the Alcadean Sea, near to Posillipo, Utrova, and Anoka. The specific area we are visiting today is nearly 20 kilometers from the Tarskyan-Anokan border, and is just over 80 km from the Utrovan coastline.
Until about sixty years ago, most of Itey Gorge resembled Twins' Falls, shown here. Back then, Twins' Falls also had a substantially larger volume of water pouring over it, which carved the rock face into the distinctive shape found here. When the water level was lowered, it no longer completely filled this portion of the channel, reducing the rate at which the edge was eroded (which is a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it). The waterfall got its name not from the fact that it is split into two parts, as many tourists to the area seem to think; rather, it got its name from the source of much local legend, the twin princes Anel and Alen, who supposedly founded Tarskya at this location in the 10th century AD after winning the First Battle of Kamen Ford against invading Mervegian Vikings a few hundred meters downstream.
Itey Dam, built only 25 meters upstream from Twins' Falls, is the main cause for the modern appearance of Itey Gorge, and has been a large source of controversy nationwide since it was built in 1953. Today, the dam is one of the largest sources of electric power for southern Tarskya, producing around 5,000 megawatts on average. The rail line that passes over the dam is vital to the local economy, being on the direct route between Tarskya City and Kingsport, the nearest large city on the Anokan side of the border.
Following the tracks through the springtime woods...
...we get to Vinogradsk Station, the second-last major stop before the border. The station was built in 1936 to serve the Vinogradsk Town-District, which contains the villages of Vinogradsk, Anelia, and Leana, all situated within half a kilometer of each other. Together, the three settlements have a population of nearly a thousand; over half of the locals are of Mervegian descent; which is ironic considering the area's history.
As we enter the largest village, Vinogradsk, we pass by a crypt which reputedly contains the remains of Princes Anel and Alen, who were both killed in 999 AD while besieged by the Mervegians. Due to the high potential for local backlash, no one has yet opened the tomb to confirm or deny these rumors, despite the possibility of being able to investigate local royal burial customs from that time should it actually be the tomb of the legendary princes.
Over here at this end of the village is the local Lutheran church, which has recently been renovated; this accounts for the "new" appearance. Situated between the centuries-old cemetery (oldest recorded burial is from 1679) and the modern fire station (built in 2008), Saint Anne's Church is only able to accomodate around 150 worshippers despite the renovations; plans for a second chapel nearby are thus on the drawing board at the moment as a result.
As dusk falls across the landscape, we will return to the train station, where we will stay the night at the small tourist-orientated hotel next door. Tomorrow, we have more exploring to do...
Stay tuned for the next update, coming soon!