Called by some "the crest-jewel of Oz", the Emerald City is the grandest and newest of the jeweled cities of the Land. It has been a seat of power since it was first constructed, and has, as capital, brought together all cultures both within and outside of Oz.
Continuing in the tradition of Gillikin, the country that originally funded the construction of the city, the Emerald City is a seat of industry, business, and politics in Oz. While being the greatest pinnacle of culture and commerce in Oz, the Emerald City is also accused of being a seat of corruption, sloth, fashion, and fancy.Here is the greatest spread between the super rich and those who live in squalor, along with the the greatest mobility between classes. Money really can buy you anything in some circles, as long as you have enough of it.
The city is ruled by a council composed of representatives from each of the guilds.
The Emerald City was first constructed using few emeralds. It was originally created as a central capital for the Ozma line. At that time only the throne was made of emeralds from the Glikkus mines. When the Wizard of Oz ascended to power, he had the city redone in emeralds, tearing down or heavily renovating much of the original city in the process. Thus the true Emerald City was born, using emeralds from the mines of the newly annexed Glikkus.
Contrary to popular belief, the city is still not fully made of emeralds. It is also constructed of green glass, other precious green gems such as peridot, green amethyst, and a specific form of copper common in the Glikkus that naturally appears green without oxidation.
To this day, there is greater and greater renovation to the city. Originally it was due to the great influx of people - which within a walled city can lead to more and more cramped quarters. Though, since the breaking of the Great Spell, the inhabitants of the Emerald City have enjoyed the luxury of more living space. Once faced with dead bodies, the citizens decided the best thing to do would be to save space and utilize the corpses in the best way possible. Because of this, most bodies are cremated. The ash can be used in the numerous gardens around the city. The newest renovations have been devoted to the demolition and reconstruction of living quarters.
Situated in the very center of Oz, the city is flanked to the north by Gillikin, to the east by Munchkinland, to the south by Quadling country, and to the east by Winkie Country. The rivers of Oz all converge in Restwater Lake (also known as Lake Quad) outside the city limits to the southwest.
As it is in the middle of Oz, the Emerald City enjoys the most regular weather. In the years since the breaking of the Great Spell, the weather has greatly normalized almost to clockwork: rain doesn't fall until after tea time, morning fog must disappear by 10 in the morning, fall begins exactly on the third Sunday of August, and snow is not known to fall until after the first full moon of November. These patterns are being tracked and predicted by the very foremost meteorologists at Ozford University.
As with all large cities in Oz, the Emerald City has several boroughs that each display their own flavor particular to their community and making up the greater culture. Unlike other cities, the boroughs behind the emerald walls are largely based on telltale construction signs that outsiders may not pick up on. The differences, however slight, are easily visible to anyone born and raised in the Emerald City.
Within the city are nine overall boroughs. These boroughs are divided amongst three districts: the Emerald Districts, closest to the city center; the Malachite Districts, nestled around the emerald districts in little patches and loops; and the Obsidian Districts, stuck between the other districts and the ever constricting outer walls of the city. These districts, as their names would suggest, detail the lining of the sidewalks and the mineral makeup of lampposts. The wealthiest neighborhoods enjoy emeralds in nearly all levels of their construction. The Malachite Districts belong to the thriving mercantile and middle class, where certain structures are replaced with malachite and green marble that has a certain glow rather than a glitter when viewed. Obsidian Districts are seen as poor and rough areas, often filled with lower class and contractual workers rather than more respectable servants. These districts are particularly important in social class.
The neighborhood surrounding the most prestigious palace of the Trifecta, its sweeping state buildings, and the campus of Ozford. Most politicians, court officers, and high ranking officials live within this neighborhood, along with the students and professors of the nearby school. It is the most opulent neighborhood in the city, and enjoys a lively bustle with philosophical and political advancement and clashes taking place daily.
As the oldest neighborhood of the city, Viridian Gardens boasts a calmer and more refined elegance than any other. Old money families of royal descent have their estates here and are still quite haughty towards new money. The old ways of Oz are still adhered to in these parts, and not even the Wizard could have shaken them from these families. The Gardens are dripping with luxury, refinement, and exclusivity.
The financial district of the Emerald City. It includes five square blocks of financial buildings, banks, exchanges, and law offices. This is one of the only sections of the city that has no housing whatsoever, though young clerks in demanding jobs often sleep in their offices during busy work periods. As it is covered with many of the largest banks in Oz, it is rumored that the wealth of all the land is stored in the vaults beneath the emerald streets.
Quite shockingly, this district is made up mostly of artisans and new philosophers of the era. As a whole, the neighborhood was bohemian in feel and was only filled with wealth due to the indulgences of young heirs. Graduates of Three Queens and Poseymim Towers fill the apartments, tea houses, and artist galleries in this area. The area is known for wild parties, outrageous festivals, theater, live music, and multiple scandals. However, there has been recent gentrification and even more money pumping into the neighborhood due in large part to the growing economy in funeral performances and mourning jewelry and the distribution of inheritances to heirs, no matter how undeserving they may seem.
Mostly residential area for the growing middle class of the city. Not as splendid as those in the Emerald District, but striking in their quaintness. Many established immigrants enjoy life in this neighborhood as well as long established merchants and successful tradesmen. It is the largest and most diverse of the neighborhoods in the Emerald City.
Though the Scarecrow Military Academy is on the campus of Ozford, the barracks and military offices are spread across four city blocks. The compound is gated, but rarely shut to the public. It has its own stores, assembly hall, and public houses. All barracks are bunkhouses, except for the family quarters where the enlisted soldiers with partners or families are allowed rooms of their own.
The mercantile district of the city, its shops are known for having all manner of rare and wondrous items. The finest boutiques can be over five stories tall; the simplest no more than a cart in the street. All proper shopping is done in this district. After the great food shortages following the seasons coming to Oz, the very worst of famines hit the Emerald City. This caused many riots on Market Street as food stores and shops were broken into and ransacked by the starving multitudes. However, as many of the citizens have now died out, food inventory has once again begun to lift. Still, many go without regular meals, but those with money are always insulated from those horrors. Recently, there was an uproar in some savory and butcher shops over some meat of questionable origin. The courts will not release more information than that.
As one of the leading groups of people in the Emerald City after the Scarecrow was crowned, Munchkins found it difficult to afford the opulence around them. Being mostly from communities with strong family and geographic ties, they segregated themselves largely to the areas around the western walls. The most successful Munchkins often move out of the neighborhood but remain tied to the community. Before the Great Spell there were almost as many Munchkins as Gillikins in power in the Emerald City.
Though there are a great deal of powerful Munchkin families that have brought wealth into this neighborhood, Munchkins are still the object of ridicule and prejudice. There has of late been a collection of mischievous acts on Munchkin property, where ruffians will throw blue paint on known Munchkin dwellings and even Munchkins themselves. These are becoming less common, however, as a number of powerful law offices have pushed for harsher punishments of offenders.
On the opposite side of the city against the eastern walls, the Jade Side, also known as "the Rough Cut", faces Winkie County's gates. This side of the city is made up of all manner of Ozians doing business that is not befitting of Market Street or the Commerce Battery. It is a place that even Tin Men will not go without contingencies. There are a great many wares for sale in that mysterious side of the city that one cannot find anywhere else in Oz.
Rare goods, rarer services, and severe corruption keep the Jade Side's depths from being too easily plumbed. There is a public decree for visitors and citizens to avoid these areas. To aid in the designation, the lamp lights at the boundaries of this neighborhood glow black instead of green.
As it is a booming metropolis, the Emerald city enjoys all the luxuries of new transport. It is the center of the Great Ozian Railroad, connecting most of the other countries to the capital. For travel across town, the city has been newly fitted with railcars that reach into several districts. Of course, the horse drawn coaches and carriages are still quite the favorite, and some stormriders have even brought the fashionable bicycle to the city streets.
It is imperative that every citizen of or visitor to the city wear green tinted lenses over their eyes. Without these protections, it is very likely that people would be blinded by the glaring dazzlement of the green city. At one time, visitors were affixed with glasses that were locked to their heads to prevent removal. This act is less popular now, as the Scarecrow King and Queen Ozma find it both cumbersome and off-putting to visitors. Though these must be worn at all times in the city proper, there are a few private spaces where the glasses or goggles may be removed with relative comfort and ease, knowing that eyesight will not be damaged by such glitter and glitz as the outside would have happen. Any citizen or visitor without green lenses in the city may be subject to detainment or fines.
As green is the very best color in the city, everything green is in mode. Absinthe is the very height of fashion for drinking. Mint is a favorite in nearly all foods, sweets, and drinks. However, one of the greatest prides in the city is its perfection of green tea. Seen as cleaner and higher class than black tea or coffee, there are a number of tea houses that have sprang up chasing the fashion. Additionally, dying food has become a great craze in more artistic circles.
Every Ruling Guild, and any Minor Guild seeking political sway, has a notable presence in the Emerald City. The most powerful are the Bureaucrats Guild, the Law Ward Guild, and the Mineralogy Guild (a Minor Guild shared by the Mazons and Ivory Tower). These constantly vie for power in the courts and community, eagerly staking out alliances and backing politicians.
Unlike the rest of Oz where one or two races may be missing from the general populace, in the Emerald City every single race is represented. Among these other races are a number of common occupations in the social strata of the city.
Changelings that are not in the police or teaching career are often employed as messengers and meat merchants. Their ability to procure things as well as find people is beyond compare. Maybe families will go to great lengths to employ an especially skilled changeling, and this lends the race certain privileges in the society. Further, many changelings do not reveal themselves to be so and thus keep a double live in the community.
Constructs are mainly favored as guards, personal assistants, and factory workers. A few families will also employ them as child care and chaperones. After the Great Spell broke, there was an immense shortage of available labor, which has led to a dramatic uptick of constructs on the streets of the city.
Nomes, as industrious and talented workers, are often employed in factories and as repairmen for the constructs and contraptions used in the city. For a long time they were not allowed into the city, but were used as emerald and rare gem traders. As ambassadorial relationships improved, a number of nomes were allowed work and student visas.
Immortals, as ever, belong everywhere and in any manner of societal level. Many fairies and elves have found it entertaining to operate circles devoted to magical assistance and consultation to the citizens of the city.
Mangaboos have been retained as personal alchemists and nursemaids of wealthy families. They are in sharp demand by pharmacies and in the medical profession within the city. For more on this, see the Mangaboo section of the Substances of Oz page.
Viewers find work mainly as informants, interrogators, and mystics. They are also popularly employed as clerks in numerous financial businesses that utilize their keen and penetrating powers as a way of brokering deals and predicting returns on investment.