From Tar Valon Library
Author: Kyria d'Oreyn
"The best secret to reveal is the face behind a lady's veil,
the most deadly is that of an Illuminator's spark."
–saying in Tanchico
Tanchico is the capital city of Tarabon and a large port on the Aryth Ocean set on the north shore of the mouth of the River Andahar. It is spread over steep hills that make the coastline around Tanchico Bay and is possibly one of the oldest cities in the Westlands, larger in size than Tear or maybe even Caemlyn. It has been built upon the remains of Mainelle, one of the Ogier-built cities of Aelgar (TWoRJTWoT).
City Layout and Buildings
Three separate peninsulas jut into the Bay mouth, each surrounded by a dozen fortresses guarding the harbor: The Verana to the east, the Maseta in the center and the Calpene nearest the sea. On those fingers of land most of the daily business is done, and people come together on huge gatherings or Circles, several large squares and parks (TWoRJTWoT; TSR, Ch. 11).
From far off, the gleaming white city is a scene to rival Whitebridge or even Tar Valon with its hundreds of beautiful palaces and halls topped with thin towers or pointed domes, some gilded. By taking a closer look, the white plaster of the buildings, lining the winding, stone-paved streets that curve every which way, cracks and chips to show the pale brown brick or weathered wood underneath. Only the palaces and towers are made of stone. Down the narrower streets small, simple homes with flat roofs and no windows onto the streets are found, usually inhabited by working people (TSR, Ch. 11).
The Great Circle, perhaps a mile north from the Calpene's harbor, is a "huge [walled] gathering place for thousands to watch horse races or displays of fireworks by the Illuminators." Not far away, the Hall of the Assembly of Lords, the Garden of Silver Breezes and the Three Plum Court are located.
The biggest is the King's Circle, which can be found on the Maseta, just like the King's Palace.
The Panarch's Circle is a tall round wall of white stone on the Verana and situated less than half a mile from and on a lower spot than the Panarch's Palace. Slightly smaller than the King's Circle, rows of stone benches slant down from the high wall to a broad field of packed dirt in the center.
(Reference: The Shadow Rising, Chapter 11)
- Main article: Panarch's Palace
Proprietress: Amathera Aelfdene Casmir Lounault
The Panarch's Palace is the palace of the Panarch, in the Verana peninsular. It is a white marble Palace, with snowy domes capped with gold and topped by golden spires (TEotW, Ch. 24).
- The Chapter House of the Guild of Illuminators was the first to be founded; there has been another in Cairhien later, possibly looking the same. Most likely, the Chapter House was situated a little outside of Tanchico just as it was in Cairhien. However, the Seanchan burned it down and made every Illuminator who was not able to flee da'covale.
- The Darkfriend merchant's palace, where Liandrin and her cronies stay before moving to the Panarch's Palace, can be found on a hillside at the base of the Verana. It has two sprawling storeys of flat-roofed stone and white plaster with a small courtyard behind the gates, windowless except on the upper floor. Inside, double-arched doors to the right lead into the front withdrawing room. Windows in the white-plastered walls overlook a little courtyard with a tiny fountain (TSR, Ch. 38).
The King's Library: A mazelike library (TSR, Ch. 38)
- The Garden of Silver Breezes
The name of this huge, white-plastered wineshop, located atop a hill in the center of the Calpene, comes partly from the breezes that can waft in from one side. Instead of a wall, polished green-streaked marble columns and balustrades offer a clear view of the great harbor, except on the topmost floor. In case of bad weather, golden oiled silk curtains can be lowered. A low wall pierced with lacy carvings, making little islands across the green and golden floor tiles, surrounds each table. It is the most expansive wineshop to be found. The serving girls are chosen for their beauty, grace and discretion. Even with all the safety precaution patrons usually enter masked, sometimes accompanied by guards. Selindrin, the proprietress, will not let them carry weapons inside her wineshop, however (TSR, Ch. 38).
- The Grand Hall of the Assembly can be found on the Calpene. It is occupied by the Assembly of Lords.
- The King's Palace is located on the Maseta. Before the civil war, King Andric was the proprietor and it can be assumed the Seanchan now occupy the Palace or at least someone chosen by them.
- Three Plum Court
This white-plastered inn with three square storeys is located below the Great Circle on the Calpene. It has no windows near the ground and the upper windows are grilled with fanciful ironwork (TSR, Ch. 39). The private room, down a short corridor off the common room, is called Chamber of Falling Blossoms. It is small and windowless with a low table and carved seats with red cushions. The thick plastered walls are painted with veritable grove of plum trees and a namesake shower of flowers (TSR, Ch. 46).
- Jaichim Carridin chose a palace on the Verana for the Whitecloaks' headquarters, an ornate mass of lacy spires, pale domes and shaded gardens. The entry hall, furnished in gold and ivory and fine Taraboner carpets, gives way to fountained courts along broad hallways with golden lamps and high ceilings covered in delicate gold-work scrolls (TSR, Ch. 38).
People and Customs
Tanchicans wear thin transparent veils across their faces and their hair in a multitude of small beaded braids. The men also wear the veils along with a dark, cylindrical cap (TSR, Ch. 39).
People who put forward a claim for the throne can find their heads adorning a spike on the Traitor's Steps on the Maseta (TSR, Ch. 38).
Characters from Tanchico
- Panarch Farede of Tarabon intended to make Tanchico the intellectual center of the Westlands (TWoRJTWoT)
- The library in the Stone of Tear holds many books on Tanchico (TSR, Ch. 9).
- Amathera's old nurse lives in a house on the Verana (TSR, Ch. 51).
- During the war, the Civil Guard no longer patrols the street, because it is busy holding the city with the army (TSR, Ch. 38).