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An overhead map shows the Cairhienin love for straight lines.

The Topless Towers over the city of Cairhien.

Cairhien is the capital of the kingdom of the same name. A large, square-shaped city, it is located on the banks of the River Alguenya just south of its junction with the Gaelin. The city is known primarily as the seat of the king Galldrian, for the institution of the political game Daes Dae'mar, and for a hatred above all else of the Aiel since the Aiel war.

Gates of the City

The north gate of the city is known as the Jangai Gate and the east gate of the city is known as the Dragonwall Gate.[1] Much of the poorer citizens live outside the gates in small gate towns. The area before the walls is called the Foregate. This area is inhabited by what the soldiers describe disparagingly as "peasants." These were former farmers who left their farms at the Spine of the World during the Aiel War never to return.[2] In order to keep these "peasants" appeased the king, Galldrian, hires gleemen, displays fireworks and performs entertainments at his expense. Loial finds this distasteful. The city is known for its class distinctions due to Daes Dae'mar which forces people to choose which Noble Houses they adhere to and ally with.



The city of Cairhien may be based on Caerleon, an important city in Arthurian lore. Many of its architectural features, such as the topless towers, are reminiscent of medieval Bologna (Italy), which had more than 180 towers of up to 100m tall.[3]



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