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About this City Journal

Martazuela is a small South American country that borders Brazil,Argentina,Uruguay and the Atlantic Ocean. Martazuela is extremely rich in culture and heritage and many visitors will find...

Entries in this City Journal

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Santa Maria Region

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Flag of Santa Maria region

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Location of the region(in yellow) within Martazuela.

ABOUT

Located in southern Martazuela, Santa Maria is one of the largest yet least populated regions. The area is characterized by small mountains and hills in the west and vast, flat plains throughout the rest of the region. The region however has sadly become one of the most corrupt and dangerous in the nation. In recent years the infamous guerrilla group, Ejército Revolucionario de Martazuela (Revolutionary Army of Martazuela) has increased its presence and many small towns and villages especially alongside the border with Montañas are now controlled by the violent guerrillas. In addition to the presence of this rogue army the drug trade has also become more prominent in the region. Originally, the few drug cartels in the country operated from Montañas but can now be seen in Santa Maria's rural areas. In order to counter this growth in corruption,violence and illegal activities the federal government has stepped in and is slowly making progress to retake the region and make it into a peaceful and productive region. Although much of the region is rural the majority of the population lives in the capital of Paraquéz. The city of 230 000 is one of the newest in the country but is also becoming a center of crime. The city does however host a number of attractions and historical sites such as the fortified Santa Maria Monastery, the quiet park of Parque del Sueños and also the Gold Museum which showcases the presence of native people in the region. In spite of the violence and corruption, Santa Maria boasts some of the nation's most fertile land.

San Pedro

Located in a remote area along the border with the Montañas region the town of San Pedro is the headquarters for both the ERM and also a number of drug cartels. About 5 years ago the town was invaded by the guerillas and the townspeople were either forced to leave or to stay and work for the guerillas or the drug cartels. Due to the partnership between both the guerrillas and the cartels the town has become a prison for those inside, completely shut out from the outside world. Although there have been numerous attempts to retake the town from the cartel and the guerrillas the Martazuelan government has not yet achieved its goal.

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The town of San Pedro. The majority of the buildings are slowly deteriorating and the majority of the inhabitants live in poor conditions. Within many of these buildings are some of the country's most wanted criminals.

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The headquarters of ERM(Ejército Revolucionario de Martazuela) is a large villa located about 2 kms from the town. The villa was originally part of a large coffee plantation but today it is a deteriorating estate surrounded by high security and inhabited by some of the most ruthless and corrupt people in the country.

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Paraquéz

Considered to be the heart of the region the city of Paraquéz is also the centre of all the regional activities. Paraquéz was founded during the gold rush and served as a trading post between the mountains and mines and the rest of the country. For many years the city prospered and the population was steeply increasing however when the Spaniards deported the foreign miners the city's population began to decrease greatly as people flocked to other cities in search of work. Not long after many buildings were left abandoned and Paraquéz soon earned the nickname of the "Detroit of South America". Sadly as prosperity moved out crime moved in and a large number of unemployed workers turned to the drug industry or other illegal industries for jobs. This allowed the cartels and gangs to grow and have more influence on the city and until the late 1990's Paraquéz was known for being the most dangerous city in Martazuela. Murders were common, drug trafficking could be seen everywhere and members of the revolutionary army could be seen walking down the streets with AK-47's in hand. Fortunately, the government finally managed to gradually retake the city and finally in 2003 the city was removed from illegal power.Today, the city is quickly being rebuilt and Paraquéz has turned itself into Martazuela's 3rd most populous city and is now home to international companies, world class entertainment, an efficient and modern public transit network, and historic architecture. Although many still associate the city with drug cartel's and crime the truth is that this bad reputation is quickly disappearing in favor of a safe, world class city.

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Paraquéz's Central Business District.

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Torre de Libertad is a one of the tallest tower's in South America and was built to improve Paraquéz's image and be a symbol of peace in the city.

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Paraquéz's Old Town was once the most dangerous part of the city and heavily run down. However,in recent years the new city government has put millions into restoring the district and attracting tourism to the area.

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During the city's crime years this cathedral known as the Catedral San Fernando fell into disrepair and served as a place for the numerous gangs and cartels to hide weapons and black market goods. Thankfully after 4 years of reconstruction and renovation the church was restored to its former beauty.

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Estacion Central de Paraquéz

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The wealthy district of Villanueva once housed gang bosses and wealthy cartel leaders but today it is home to mainly rich businesspeople and celebrities.

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The massive Edificio Poltagar was built during the communist regime and was the largest building in the country. It was owned by the state corporation, Poltagar which dealt with oil,transport and mining industries. When it was opened the building housed offices,a hotel,apartments and even a shopping centre on the lower levels. Following the collapse of the regime and the privatisation of Poltagar the building like most in the city became abandoned. Soon later the numerous gangs and cartels moved in and made the place their own. When the national government stepped in and began cracking down on gangs and druglords the building was cleared out and stated for demolition. However due to the massive growth of the city and strong demand the building was instead repaired and new offices were set up as well as a new hotel.

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The Saint Nikolas Orthodox Church is one of the very few orthodox churches in the country.

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Museo del Oro(Gold Museum)

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Estadio Martacom is the city's main soccer stadium and is home to the newly created football league, FC Paraquéz.

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Located on the outskirts of Paraquéz the Vidal Tobacco Plantation produces some of the countries finest cigars but also produces wine and owns a fruit plantation nearby.

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Atlántico Region

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Flag of the Atlántico region.

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Location of the Atlántico region within Martazuela.

ABOUT

Located on the Northeast coast of the country Atlántico is the second most populous region after La Capital. Due to its location the region is also a centre for shipping,fishing and other ocean activities. The region also has one of the most stable and sucessful economies and provides a large portion of income for the federal government. Atlántico is also one of the most beautiful regions, from the soft rolling hills in the west to the rugged cliffs and soft beaches that line the coast the region is a magnet for tourism. The majority of tourists flock to the warm city of Santa Valencia in the northeastern part of the region. The city`s small feel,colorful architecture, warm climate and stunning beaches are all reasons people head to the sun soaked city. Further south is the smaller city of Cartajeva. Although not as tourist friendly as Santa Valencia, Cartajeva boasts some of the nation`s most beautiful houses and is a centre for the wealthy. Even further south and located on the Madeira Delta is the bustling city of Puerto España. Puerto España is Martazuela`s second largest city and is a hub for shipping traffic. Not only is the city a shipping centre it also houses the headquarters of countless global and local companies. Aside from the 3 main cities there are numerous towns and villages that dot the countryside.

Puerto España

Located on the Atlantic coast the city of Puerto España is the capital of the Atlántico region and Martazuela's second largest city. In addition to this Puerto España was the first city to be established on the Martazuelan mainland by the Spaniards and for many years the city served as the territory's capital and was a major trading port due to its lucrative location at the mouth of Rio Azul and the atlantic coast. Today, the city is home to the country's largest port and is increasingly becoming a popular tourist destination due to its colourful architecture and rich history.

A section of the city's old town.

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The Iglesia de los Españoles(Church of the Spaniards) was the first church built on the Martazuelan mainland. Many comment on how it does not appear to have built in the typical style of Spanish churches and there is controversy on whether the Spaniards actually built it. The church is also known to locals as Iglesia Roja (Red Church) due to its red brick.

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Fuerte Miguel was once a bustling centre of defense and commerce. Unlike many other forts in the country including the one on Isla Concepción Fuerte Miguel is almost entirely intact with very little damage visible to the structure. Today, the fort attracts both locals and tourists who yearn for a retreat from the bustle of the city and by walking along its cobblestoned paths one can experience the structure's history and pivotal role in the nation's defense and growth.

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Estación Puerto España is Martazuela's second largest and oldest train station. It was built to serve as the starting point for the entire Martazuelan rail system.

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Santa Valencia

Santa Valencia is the most popular area for tourists and locals alike in Martazuela and its no wonder why. This coastal city boasts some of the country's most pristine and beautiful beaches. The city also has numerous 5 star resorts and hotels, countless entertainment venues and the best weather Martazuela has to offer for many this is paradise. Originally, Santa Valencia was one of the many ports that the Spaniards established along the Martazuelan coast however as time went by developers moved in and began to create a world famous tourist destination. The city's size tripled and tourists from all over flocked to the sun soaked beaches. Today, Santa Valencia contributes a large portion of income to the government thanks to the tourist industry. Due to the city's proximity to the Brazilian border it is a popular destination for Brazilian immigrants.

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The enormous Catedral de Santa Barbara is one of the largest in the country. Many question why such a large church was built in a small town like Santa Valencia the reason is according to legend during the Spaniards crossing from Spain they ran into a large storm.For 10 nights the storm raged on and they began to pray to the patron saint of sailors, St.Barbara. Miraculously on the eleventh day the sky cleared and the sailors boat landed safely on the shores of what is now Santa Valencia. As a way of thanks to the saint the leader of the boat crossing ordered the construction of a huge church to honour the saint. Today, it is a popular pilgrimage site and many fisherman and sailors often go to the church to light a candle and pray to St.Barbara to keep them safe.

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A view of the waterfront and beaches. The avenue running along the beaches is named after the leader of the boat crossing from Valencia,Spain, Carlos Ramirez.

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The colorful architecture of Santa Valencia. These buildings make up the city's Old Town.

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This house was once the home of famed artist,poet and musician, Federico Santiago Vargas(1908-1996) Today the house is a museum and highlights the countless pieces of art,music and poetry that Vargas created throughout his life. The house stands out due to its very German/European style which sharply contrasts against the traditional Spanish architecture around it.

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The former summer home of the infamous dictator, Juan Martin Fernandez. Following his downfall the house was invaded and taken over by rebels. Following this the house was abandoned and fell into disrepair until a wealthy developer recently restored it and made it his home. Mansions like this can be seen all over Santa Valencia.

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The new Iglesia de Santa Teresa is one of the most modern churches in the country and has become a famous landmark.

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Beach huts on the beach.

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The city's Old Town is Santa Valencia's centre for entertainment,shopping,transport and commerce.

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The five star RLS Sol Resort.

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Valperegas Metro System

A map of the Valperegas metro system. The first lines to operate were the red and oranger lines which opened in 1972. Four years later the yellow and green lines were partially opened and finally in 1980 the entire network as seen today was constructed and opened. Today, the system is renowned for its punctuality and cleanliness and on average the metro carries arond 130 million passengers a year. Another aspect which the metro is known for is its artwork in the metro stations. Each station contains art and follows a theme according to the name of the station. For example, Colonia station on the Orange Line contains a mural that depicts the landing of the Spaniards in the late 1700s and Aeropuerto station on the Red Line has art that portrays the history of flight in Martazuela. For this, the stations have become small museums and are one of the main tourist draws to the city.

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The Rapido Card is a smart card that is similar to the Oyster Card in London. The card is loaded up with money and can then be used on any type of public transit withing the La Capital region. These include the metro,buses and the suburban trains.

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A typical Metro entrance.

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Estación Olimpico is one of the largest and most reconizable stations.

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Estación Puerta de la Libertad

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This is the metro's Estación Central. The terminus station is located across from the central train station and is connected via underground tunnel. In addition to being the hub for all metro lines it is also the city's main bus terminal. The fact that the station is a gateway for travellers coming by train or by bus to the city and the fact that all the metro lines originate from Estación Central make it the busiest transit station in the country and one of the busiest in South America.

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The central rail station. In order to avoid confusion with the bus/metro station across the street the train station is typically referred to simply as Estación de Tren.

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Isla Concepci�n Region

Isla Concepción is a small island located about 80 kms from mainland Martazuela. The island is the smallest region in the country but is the oldest. Due to its strategic location off the coast the Spanish were able to build a fort here to defend their territory. Not only was the island a defense base but it was also where the Spaniards first landed. Located on the islands southern coast is the historic town of Fuerte de las Americas(Fort of the Americas) This town is the oldest in the country and is famous for its walled old town which was formerly the fort. The town's history,architecture and laid back atmosphere make the town and the island an extremely popular tourist destination. In addition to the town tourists also come to the island for the pristine white beaches and lush jungle.

The regional flag depicts the Spaniards coming to the island.

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Location of Isla Concepcion within Martazuela.

Isla Concepción and the town of Fuerte de las Americas. As you can see due to the island's small size a large majority of the island is taken up by the town.

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The walled old town.

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The Port.

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The walls.

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The Museo Colonial. Beside the museum(the right side) are the ruins of the island's original fort which was built in 1770. The museum itself was built as the headquarters for the Spanish Trading Company.

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The ruins of a section of the original fort.

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Although the Spanish were thought to have been the first on the island they were not. Soon after their arrival a group of native temples were discovered in the jungle. It is believed that they were built by an ancient tribe who lived on the island at one point.

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The Fuerte de las Americas tram system.

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Catedral Españoles located in Plaza España.

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Mercado de Pescador(Fisherman's Market) also located in Plaza España

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A tourist resort. Since tourism is one of the region's main industries countless resorts and hotels have popped up around the island.

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Monta�as Region

The Montañas region makes up the western area of Martazuela and is home to the country's only mountain range, Cordillera Cortéz. These mountains make the region especially popular among hikers,climbers and just regular tourists. Montañas was also the primary scene of the Martazuelan Gold Rush and the region's capital of La Puebla almost appeared overnight because of it. The region is also one of the largest in the country but is the least populated and poorest of the regions.

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The regional flag

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Location of Montañas within Martazuela

La Puebla

Montañas' capital, La Puebla primarily serves as a base camp for tourists wishing to explore the nearby Cortéz Mountains. However, La Puebla is also one of the smallest regional capital's and is essentially no more than a small town. The town boasts numerous hotels and shops catering to tourists but does not have much in terms of entertainment with the exception of the Museo Cortéz which is housed in one of the oldest buildings in the town and displays the history of the Montañas region. Although La Puebla is considerably isolated in the country there are numerous ways to get to the town. These include by air to the small airport, Aeropuerto las Montañas. Various airlines offer flights to most of the major cities in the country and there is a weekly flight to Montevideo in Uruguay.The airport also has a helipad which offers flights into the mountains. By rail, one can take a train to the city of Paraquéz then transfer onto the Paraquéz-La Puebla train. By bus, although the slowest way to travel to the town and fairly dangerous due to the poor mountain roads it is also the cheapest. MartaBus offers routes daily from Paraquéz and Santo Fidel and a weekly route from Valperegas.

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An example of the typical architecture of La Puebla.

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The centre of the regional government, Casa de las Montañas.

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the Hospital de Santa Teresa is the main hospital in the Montañas region. It is one of the few hospitals in the region and frequently has to take in airlifted victims from the mountains.

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La Puebla's Centro Comercial(shopping centre)

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The Mercado Central(Central Market) unlike the nearby outdoor shopping mall offers things such as traditional handicrafts,local food,groceries and numerous other merchandise. Due to its central location it is also a popular meeting place for locals. The large building on the right is a hotel.

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Estación La Puebla is the primary rail gateway to the region. A daily train service is operated to the city of Paraquéz in the Santa Maria region.

Monte Alvarez

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Monte Alvarez is the country's largest mountain.

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The Argentinian camp near the mountain's peak.

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La Capital Region

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Flag of the La Capital region.

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Location of the La Capital region within Martazuela.

ABOUT

Located in the heart of Martazuela, La Capital is the smallest but most populated region. The region is generally flat with the exception of a small patch of hills and mountains in the west. La Capital is possibly the most important region in the country as it is home to the nation`s capital of Valperegas.

Valperegas

Valperegas is the capital of Martazuela and is also the largest city in the country. Situated on the banks of the Rio Azul and located in the heart of Martazuela it is natural that the city serves as the political,economical,cultural and transportation hub of the nation. The city has a population of

2 133 000 and is located in the La Capital region.

Parlamento Nacional(National Parliament Building)

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Catedral Nuestra Señora de la Paz (Our Lady of Peace Cathedral)

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El Palacio(The Palace) is the former presidential residence and seat of parliament. Today it is the Museo Nacional (National Museum)

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The current presidential residence, Casa Presidencial is located on the north side of Plaza Indepencia and overlooks the square.

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The Puerta de la Libertad (Freedom Gate) is located on the major avenue, Avenida Colona. It historically marked the entrance to the capital however due to urban growth the gate now lies in the centre of the city.

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The monument in the central of Plaza Indepencia represents the Martazuelan people claiming independence.

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A section of the boardwalk along the riverfront.

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Headquarters of the Martazuelan Ministry of Transportation (which owns the country's airports,railways and ports)

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The Playas Urbanas (Urban Beaches) is a small stretch of sandy beach on the Río Azul. Although they arn't as nice as the beaches on the Atlantic coast and the weather isn't as good they still offer the citizens of the city a nearby refuge from the hustle and bustle of everyday life in Valperegas.

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Headquarters of Martazuela's main bank, Banco Nacional.

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Puente Liberacion(Liberation Bridges) .(Front)

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The iconic Torre Universidad (University Tower) is one of the city's most bizarre structures. Built in the mid 1960's as a way to add space to the increasingly crowded University of Martazuela, Martazuelan architect, Javier Santiago designed this tower to house dormitory rooms,classrooms,offices and even a small shopping centre. The tower was also designed to be symmetrical at the top and the bottom. At first, many have criticized the building for being too tall, unattractive, too bizarre and some have even called it a scar on the face of Valeregas. However, today the tower has become a symbol of the city and one that many are beginning to love. Due to the building's size and large amount of space only half of the tower ended up being used by the university so the top half remained empty for many years. Recently however, a large hotel chain purchased the upper 15 floors and converted it into a five star hotel complete with a pool, restaurant and observation deck.

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Facts (Preview)

Facts

Capital City:Valperegas

Major Cities: Santa Valencia,Puerto España, Santo Fidel, Bahia Nueva, La Puebla,

Official Language: Spanish

Population:6 036 632

Administrative Regions: Atlántico, La Capital, Playas del Sur,Montañas, Santa Maria, Fernando, Colonia, Norte, Isla Concepción.

Highest Point: Monte Alvarez

Religion: Catholic

Independence Day (from the Spain ): January 20 1905

Major Exports:Bananas,Coffee,Gold,Wine,Tobacco,Coal,Seafood

Major Imports:Cars,Electronics,Consumer Goods,Machinery

National Anthem: Viva Martazuela(Long Live Martazuela)

Currency:Martazuelan Peso

FLAG

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MAP

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COAT OF ARMS

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Tourism Logo

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HISTORY

Martazuela was first colonized by the Spanish in the late 1700s. The main explorer who led the exploration was a wealthy Spaniard named Martin Alvarez. The Spanish explorers landed at what is now Fuerte de las Americas on Isla Concepción. When they realized there was not much for them on the island they sailed onward and landed at Puerto España. They then developed Puerto España as the colony's capital and kept Fuerte de las Americas as their defensive fort. From this the Spanish began to develop the territory into a vital gateway to South America. As years progressed the colony began to prosper more and more and by 1812 13 thousand Spanish settlers were living in Martazuela. The prosperity only grew when gold was discovered in the Cortez Mountains in the Montañas region. When people heard of this miners and those seeking wealth flocked to the colony from places such as Europe and North America and other parts of South America. However, when this happened the Spain became angered at how foreigners were coming into their territory and taking what was supposed to be theirs and in 1819 the Gold War took place. The war lasted little more than 3 months as the mighty Spanish Army drew the foreigners out and retook the gold mines. Following this Martazuela became somewhat more isolated than Spain's other colony's primarily due to the abundance of resources in the colony.  In 1824 Simon Bolivar's liberation of South America and the indepence of Spain's colonies left Spain with only Martazuela,Cuba and Puerto Rico. However, the Portuguese are now heavily pushing to take over Martazuela and make it part of Brazil but Spain keeps hold and by 1872 Martazuela was the last of Spain's North America's colonies. Spain's firm hold on Martazuela isolated it from other South American influences and the colony remained prosperous under Spanish control. Until 1900 Spain began modernizing Martazuela as the population reaches 1 million. They built additional towns and established a railway and road system. However, by 1904 Martazuela realized that it was their time to achieve independence and a group of representitives went to Spain and demanded a peaceful independence. At first Spain denied their request but then realized as the world began to decolonize more and more they would soon lose the colony anyways. So in  exchange for their independence the Spanish requested a quarter of their gold. The Martazuelans eagerly agreed and on January 20 1905 Martazuela achieved independence without any bloodshed. Following the establishment of the country's first president, José Ramos the new nation continued to prosper. Following Ramos' death in 1913 the presidency was passed on to Javier Ramirez. Even more changes and growth occured under Ramirez, he established a number of coffee plantations, moved the capital city from Puerto España to the central town of Valperegas located on the Rio Azul. The prosperity grew and grew until the outbreak of World War 2. At this time although Martazuela did not fight in the war the economy fell drastically as world trade became less demanding. To add to the falling economy revolutionaries seized the oppurtunity to take power and overthrew the Martazuelan president. In his place the ruthluss dictator, Juan Martin Fernandez seized control and reformed the entire government into a totalitarian like regime. Fernandez's regime proved horrific for the country all industry and farms were controlled by the government, work camps were established for those who opposed him and he also isolated the nation from the world. As the years went on the dictator's regime resulted in Martazuela becoming an almost third world country. Fortunately change was on its way. Following the war, the nation remained under Fernandez's rule until his death in 1972. At this time before another dictator could be put in power freedom-fighter, José Martez gathered a group of supporters that totalled a thousand and stormed the parliament building and took power. Martez immediatly changed the constitution and established Martazuela as a free, democratic republic. Martez once again opened the country, established trading partners, privatized industries and agriculture and repaired the damage to the nation. By the first election the Martazuelan people loved him so much he was re-elected and died in office in 1989. His death affected everyone and his funeral attracted worldwide dignitaries and citizens from all over the nation. Following the elections the new president, Maria Hernandez was the first female president and for her entire rule followed Martez's principles. Today, the nation has become the once prosperous nation it once was and is one of the richest in South America.

TRANSPORTATION

AIR

The national carrier is Aerolineas de Martazuela and operates flights internationally and domestically. Its two main hubs are Valperegas-José Martez International Airport and Santa Valencia-Atlántico International Airport. Aerolineas de Martazuela also operates a domestic hub from Puerto España. The country also has two other airlines, AeroAtlántico which operates flights along the Atlantic coast and to Isla Concepción and the other airline is Martavia Airlines and is a low cost airline.

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RAIL

Possibly one of the most comprehensive in South America the national railway (Ferrocaril Nacional) connects basically every city and town in the country. Although there is currently no international connections there are plans in the near future to make connections to Argentina and Brazil. The hub of all rail travel is based out of Valperegas Central Station however, other large stations are located in Santa Valencia, Puerto España and León.

ROAD

Unlike many other South American roadways the Martazuelan road system is constantly maintained and in good condition. One of the most popular routes is the Atlántico Highway which runs from Santa Valencia to the Uruguayan border. This route is popular among tourists for its stunning views of the beaches,cliffs and the ocean. The other popular route runs from Puerto España to the Argentinian border and is also popular among tourists especially the stretch through the Montañas region where one can view the massive mountains.

PEOPLE

Although the majority of its citizens can trace their routes back to Spain there are also large numbers of other ethnic groups as well;

37%- Mestizo

30%-White

15%-Black

15%-Amerindian

3%-Asian

MUSIC

Martazuelan music is essentially as diverse as the people. Throughout the country one can hear music genres from flamenco to reggae. To celebrate this diversity an annual music festival known as the Festival de Canciones takes place in the cities of Puerto España,Valperegas and Paraquéz. The festival is one of the largest tourist draws to the country and attracts both locals and foreigners. In addition to the traditional and folk music of the country there is a large increase of Techno and hip-hop music in the country.

FOOD

Due to the country's Spanish influence many Martazuela's dishes reflect those of Spain. However, South American, Caribbean and even Asian influences can be seen in many of its dishes as well. One thing that Martazuelan cuisine is known for is its combination of sweet and spicy ingredients. For example, the dish Estofado de Carne(Meat Stew) combines meat such as beef with chili and jalapeño peppers(which adds spice) and typically pineapple(which adds sweetness). Martazuelan cuisine also varies depending on the region. For example, in the Atlantico and Playas del Sur regions seafood is the basis to most of its dishes while in the Montañas region meat such as beef and beans are the basis to their meals. Martazuela is also known for its coffee and wine.

HOLIDAYS

New Years Day-Jan.1

Independence Day-Jan. 20

Martyrs Day-Feb.10

Flag Day-Mar. 3

Good Friday-April 22

Labour Day-May 1

José Martez Day- Jun. 25

Festival de Canciones-Jul. 1-10

Harvest Day-Oct.1

Day of the Saints-Nov.12

Christmas Eve-Dec.24

Christmas Day-Dec.25

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