From Tar Valon Library
Author: Leora Oldessroth
It has the largest production of finished leather. The tanneries produce more finished leather in a day than a village tannery could prepare in a month. The tanneries contribute their distinctive aroma to the pungent smell of the city (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 30).
The port houses a large fishing fleet which provides seafood to feed the nation, plus enough left over for exporting. Illian is home to great shipyards that produce many ships (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 30).
According to Bayle Domon, Illianers have “proper regard” for gleemen and there is no finer place in the world for the art of storytelling. During the feasts, Illian has a competition for the best telling of The Hunt of the Horn and the winner receives one hundred gold marks. Even aside from the competition, a gleeman can make his fortune in Illian (TEotW, Ch. 26).
Every so often, Illian will call for a Hunt for the Horn of Valere. When this happens, thousands of people gather in the city to swear the Hunter’s Oath—they swear their lives to finding the Horn of Valere (TEotW, Ch. 26). The Oath is taken in the Great Square of Tammaz (TDR, Ch. 35).
City Layout and Buildings
Illian has no massive defensive walls around its perimeter; rather, the city is protected by the marshes that surround it. The pale stone towers and palaces seem to rise out of the huge marshy grassland that they sit on (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 30; TDR, Ch. 41; ACoS, Ch. 41).
From a distance, the city seems to be made of nothing but towers and palaces, many of them unmistakably Ogier-made. These large buildings dwarf the multitude of smaller buildings that make up the bulk of the city (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 30). Buildings are generally made of pale stone, a few appear to be covered with plaster, and the tiled roofs are a multitude of colors (TDR, Ch. 41).
Canals crisscross the entire city, passing under bridges of all shapes and sizes; some of the bridges are Ogier-made as well (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 30).
The Ogier Grove in the city has been turned into a royal park for the king and his favorites (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 22).
The vast tanneries cover a number of small islands among the marsh grass (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 30).
The city has a port district known as the Perfumed Quarter; its “perfume” is the stench of hemp, pitch and harbor mud. The Perfumed Quarter is mostly cut off from the rest of the city (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 30). The Bridge of Flowers is one of many bridges you can take to reach the Perfumed Quarter (TGH, Ch. 9). Once you enter the Perfumed Quarter, the palaces disappear, replaced by inns and warehouses made of undressed, unpolished pale stone (TDR, Ch. 41).
The docks of the city are long and made of stone. The shipyards are at the far end of the city/docks (TDR, Ch. 41).
The gray-green harbor is protected by a long breakwater (KoD, Ch. 22).
Buildings and Landmarks
- The Great Square of Tammaz (the King’s Palace and the Great Hall of the Council stand at each end of the square; the square is surrounded by columns of white marble, fifteen spans tall and two spans thick, supporting a wreath of carved olive branches at the top) (TDR, Ch. 41)
- The King's Palace (appears to be all columned walks, airy balconies, slender towers and purple roofs) (TDR, Ch. 41)
- The Great Hall of the Council (identical to the King’s Palace but shorter in every measurement by exactly two feet) (TDR, Ch. 41)
- The Palace of the Assemblage (TDR, Ch. 41)
- Easing the Badger Inn (two-stories, made of green-veined stone with a green tile roof) (TDR, Ch. 41)
- The Silver Dolphin Inn (TGH, Ch. 9)