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The borough of Pharos is an administrative region in the south-west of Vekllei, located in the Capital Region on the Coast of the Americas, north of Mumen and west of Lola. It is best known for its World Jetport, which supports much of its aerospace industry. Despite its international reputation as the masthead of Vekllei aerospace, Pharos is a deeply cultural borough with a rich history, and is home to residents with descendants from all over the world.
These were pleasant, poor boroughs of the Capital lighted by all corners of the world. They are also strikingly diverse in landscape — West Uclo is mostly pre-war, filled with low-rise Junta-era row houses and coffee shops. East Uclo contains some of Vekllei’s rare “towers in the park” — vertical neighbourhoods in the sky.
– Towers in the Park
Pharos was originally called Asmelola (lit. Southern Oslola) by its Algic inhabitants and for most of its history under the Middle and early Late Periods of Vekllei, but was renamed in the early 20th Century after the Pharos of Alexandria, an Egyptian lighthouse and ancient wonder, in an immodest declaration of the emerging Atlantic port’s importance as a bridge between the Old World and the Americas. The name’s origins as a candidate for the Asmelola area coincided by the ambitious plans to construct a deepwater port on the Coast of the Americas. The name was retained after the Vekllei defeat in the First Atomic War and into the Floral Period today.
It’s unbelievable. I mean, I almost can’t believe it. It’s something you read about as a child, but it’s never something I’d imagine I’d get to see. And here I am, about to visit the moon.
Pharos has a long history of settlement, twinned with Lola (then Oslola) as Vekllei’s first urban area. It has evidence of settlement dating back 3,000 years. Algic peoples used the borough’s sheltered coastline for hunting and fishing, and tools from 2,000 BC have been found in the present-day municipalities of Uclo and Pharos. The borough was first settled permanently by Irish settlers in 1200 BC, who exploited the rich soil of the area to feed the growing agricultural settlement in Oslola.
By 400 BC, Pharos (then Asmelola) was a meeting place between Norse and Algic peoples for trade and commerce, uniting the Algic settlements along the Southern and East coastlines with the principle Scandinavian settlement in Oslola. This would advantage the borough as a place of domestic commerce well into the Vekllei Common Period and beyond. An Iron mine was established in Asmelola in 400 AD, which attracted settlement from the Oslola city outskirts towards Asmelola, a trend which would position the town as an industrial power-base of the regimes in Lola. Although still primarily agricultural, Asmelola would slowly develop into a small city of craftsmen into the 8th Century and beyond.
Asmelola entered a long decline after the Desimou dynasty faltered in the 15th Century, shifting political power in Vekllei towards its East Coast. Its decline was halted by the overthrow of the monarchy in the 17th Century, which dragged power from the Coasts towards Lola, and restored Asmelola to prosperity, which rapidly developed the city away from its agricultural roots.
In the late 19th Century, it was apparent that the Port of Vekllei in Lola had become crowded and dangerous, evidenced by the Great Fire of 1841. The Atlantic Commonwealth under Jos Jehansson nominated Asmelola as a successor for a new port, which was established in 1856. Further expansion of the Port of Asmelola was undertaken in 1860 and 1872 to increase its warehousing and shipping capacity.
By the early 20th Century, the Port of Asmelola had also become overcrowded and under-equipped for emerging forms of cargo, and would soon be incapable of docking newer, larger ships from Europe and the Americas. In an effort to revitalise the ports of the Vekllei and drag the city-state out of its looming recession, the commonwealth government renamed Asmelola to Pharos and made plans to expand the Port of Pharos dramatically, dredging huge new shipping lanes to facilitate transatlantic trade. A recession in 1918 and another in 1923 effectively bankrupted the regime and halted further construction on the great port of Pharos, which remains a minor commercial port to this day.
Pharos suffered atomic strikes in the First Atomic War in 2005, leaving craters in both Sandeyri and Faro.
After independence in 2015, Pharos was restructured as a borough and became one of Vekllei’s most multicultural boroughs, and is the site of most migrant processing in the country.
Pharos is low-lying and coastal, and today is home to many immigrant neighbourhoods that settled in the cheap real estate surrounding the industrial port area after the war. It is a deeply multicultural and international borough, and not just for its jetport and migrant residents. Once promised by the Atlantic Junta as a gateway to the world, Pharos has realised this vision in the post-war Floral period as a place of opportunity and culture.
Copetpek is a multicultural municipality best known for its craftsmanship and legendary Artisan’s Quarter, home to multigenerational and historic woodworkers, writers, and metallurgists. Very little of Copetpek’s business district is commercial, and generally does not produce goods for public consumption. Because of the municipality’s depiction in Vekllei cinema, it is highly romanticised and on most days is full of sightseers hoping to meet these mysterious creatives or tour their workshops.
✿ Read more: ForeignFoto
ForeignFoto is the foreign correspondent arm of the Commonwealth Press Bureau, the mother organisation for several public broadcasters under the Commonwealth Records and Telegraph Directorate. The ForeignFoto office and adjacent club functions as a sort of correspondent’s club, and has been the starting place for several iconic figures in Vekllei journalism including Simon Nowak and Mose Slovo. It is a popular social club for foreign journalists stationed in Vekllei.
Faro is the so-called ‘gateway to Vekllei,’ since it is the municipality where most Vekllei depart upon arrival to the country. It is also the site of post-war migrant processing and immigration via the Faro Immigrant Processing Complex, which has integrated millions of migrants since 2015. Today, the neighbourhood is home to a dense network of row-houses and coffee shops, most of which house migrant workers and new immigrants. Faro is also the site of the School of Vekllei, a language school constructed to ease foreigners into the complex Vekllei language and introduce postwar cultural behaviours and moneyless living.
Immigrants Vekllei #
Vekllei is extremely multicultural, and 45% of all Vekllei people were born overseas. Immigrants Vekllei is the civic union for immigrants, undocumented persons and non-native workers in the country, and serves as a democracy-advocate for new arrivals.
Keflavic is an ancient municipality in Pharos. It was originally a trading post between Norse and Algic settlement in the 4th Century BC, and remains today a neighbourhood of great history. Keflavic’s oldest building, the Kesndosn Turf House in the south of the town, is among Vekllei’s oldest standing structures and is believed to be over 1,000 years old. Keflavic is also home to the Keflavic Whalers, one of the greatest cricket teams in Vekllei and who won the Cricket World Cup in 2036.
Petty Shanghai #
Petty Shanghai (the colloquial name for West Keflavic) is a municipality home to Vekllei’s largest ethnic Chinese population, composed primarily of immigrants from Hong Kong and the People’s Republic of China. Located adjacent to immigrant processing facilities in Faro, the density of Chinese inhabitants is largely due to the appropriation of war-damaged housing by the Vekllei Housing Commission for new migrants. Contemporary policy now aims to immerse migrant communities, and so enclaves like Petty Shanghai are less common today.
Petty Shanghai is well-known in Vekllei as a sort of ‘Chinatown,’ both for its exquisite local cuisine and the intense foreignness of its culture and lifestyle. Many early Chinese migrants were poorly integrated by the failing government language programmes in the early postwar years, so many older residents speak mainly Cantonese or Mandarin.
Petty Shanghai is centred around a public area called Shanghai Neu, or Keflavic Commons. Much of its neighbourhood architecture is dilapidated and pre-war, and the redevelopment of the area is key to an ongoing fight between residents and the Pharos Borough government.
Pharos as a municipality is dominated by the Vekllei World Jetport, its foreign employees, and the massive state-backed companies that own Vekllei’s aerospace infrastructure (including Vekllei Aerospatiale and Future Fission). Although the neighbourhood includes suburbs on its periphery, particularly towards the beaches of Uclo, most of the municipal area is dominated by the Jetport, its dependent companies and organisations, and the production of aircraft and aviation fuel. Freight trains run almost continuously through Pharos, bringing fuel and test aircraft from all over Vekllei.
Sandeyri is a quiet municipality best known for its fruit orchards and hydroponic greenhouses, which supply the surrounding area with fresh fruit year-round. It is located just north of Faro, along a stretch of coast called South West Cape. It was spared from damage in the war, and so is a great showcase of pre-war Southern Vekllei coastal architecture, including traditional minarets used religiously in Upen. It is also the site of the Pharos Technical School, a technical university with strong industry connections to the aerospace industry in its neighbouring municipalities.
Uclo is a mostly residential municipality south of Pharos and west of Copetpek, and features interesting experimentation to this end. Pre-war, it was home to the ambitious Port of Pharos project, but after the war was used as a testbed for dramatic new ways of housing Vekllei’s rapidly-growing population.
These include projects like the Towers, as well as pre-war municipalised housing designed to home Vekllei’s growing migrant population. Because of this history, neighbourhoods within Uclo are quite distinct from each other. West Uclo is dominated by low-rise pre-war settlements and coffee shops, where East Uclo consists mostly of apartment towers and parkland. The uniting feature of Uclo, then, is Green Woods beach and its cool, clear waters – a feature hard to imagine surviving the full scale of the Junta’s ‘Port of Vekllei’ ambitions, should they have succeeded in displacing the Port of Vekllei.
Pharos is known as Vekllei’s ‘aviation borough’ because of it is the historical and current headquarters of many of Vekllei’s largest airlines and aircraft manufacturers. Much like aircraft in the 21st Century, Pharos is a place of both considerable industrial heritage and cutting-edge technology, facilitated by the people who live and work here.
Port of Pharos #
The Port of Pharos is a commercial port located in east Uclo. Originally founded to alleviate traffic from the Port of Vekllei, the scheme to redevelop the port was the reason for the borough’s name change in 1915. Although plans were drawn to dramatically increase the size of the port to rival those in Western Europe, financial difficulties derailed its development and only a fraction of its modernisation was realised. Today, the Port of Pharos is used mostly to dock domestic cruise ships and unload and containerise regional freight.
Vekllei Aerospatiale S.A. #
Vekllei Aerospatiale S.A. (VA) is one of Vekllei’s largest civilian air, supersonic and space transport manufacturers. Founded in 2012, it is responsible for many of Vekllei’s advancements in aerospace, and produced Vekllei’s first commercial supersonic aircraft (the VA-500 Skydart) and space transport (VA-1). VA is organised as a municipal company, owned by its workers, but is administrated by the Pharos Borough government. The VA Company Offices are located adjacent to the Pharos Jetport, and make up part of a large administrative complex of buildings centred around the manufacturie.
The VA Production Plant is the primary fabrication and manufacturing plant of the company, and is within the Jetport site. VA operates a company runway for testing and transporting completed airframes.
Vekllei World Jetport #
The Vekllei World Jetport (IATA: VEK) is an international airport in the neighbourhood of Pharos, and is the largest airport in Vekllei. It opened in 1920 as the First Vekllei Aerodrome, and was forcibly purchased by the Atlantic Commonwealth Government in 1922.
It is both the oldest and busiest airport in Vekllei, and commutes nearly 12 million passengers a year. It is also the primary hub of national carrier Vekllei National Airways. The World Jetport features two conventional 3,000 metre runways, a special wide-traffic jetway for VOA Flying Wings, and a 6,000 metre spaceway built offshore for VOA Space Transports.
The World Jetport has three terminals, all of which are operated by the Vekllei National Airways monopoly.
Terminal 1 #
Terminal 1 is designated for domestic flights, and is shaped in the image of a Vekllei Blossom. It features satellite ‘islets’ for departing international regions, connected to the central circular hub by bridges. It is used primarily by Vekllei Overseas Airways for arriving and departing international travel.
Terminal 2 #
Terminal 2 is designated for domestic travel, usually via Trans-Vekllei Airways (TVA) or the Vekllei Air Service (VAS). The terminal is situated opposite to Terminal 1, and mirrors its appearance. The Vekllei Special Charter Service, a Commonwealth airline, also departs from private gates at Terminal 2.
Terminal 3 #
Terminal 3 is a satellite terminal built for the expansion of Vekllei civilian space travel in 2049. It is connected to Terminals 1 & 2 by the Stargate Maglev, a well-known feature and tourist attraction.
Vekllei National Airways #
Vekllei National Airways (VNA) is the state-owned air carrier and bureau-level organisation of all air transport in Vekllei. It includes multiple well-known domestic and international air operators, including Vekllei Overseas Airways and Atlantic World Jetways. The subsidiaries of VNA are operated independently with seperate accounting, and operate as for-profit businesses internationally.
VNA is headquartered in the Pharos municipality, adjacent to its main hub at the Vekllei World Jetport. It also operates it primary maintenance facilities and fuel storage within the jetport, including nuclear and synthetic fuels.
Future Fission S.q.M. #
Future Fission S.q.M. is a subsidiary of General Reactor S.A. specialising in the research and production of airborne fission reactors. It is best known for contributing to sunburst-style reactor types used in civilian and military jets, as well as materials research for lightweight fission reactors.
Pharos Railway Company Museum #
The Pharos Railway Company (PRC) was Vekllei’s first railway company and operator. Founded in 1854 in the present-day council of Uclo, the PRC started Vekllei’s first passenger rail service between Pharos and Little Vekllei the next year. The company developed Vekllei’s first domestic steam locomotive, called the Atlantic Queen, which operated from 1855 to 1864.
The Pharos Railway Company was bought by Atlantic Railways in 1909, which itself was Nationalised by the Crown Junta in 1925. Some traces of the company are still visible in Vekllei’s rail network today, particularly the first and third tunnels on the Little Vekllei Heritage Railway and parts of the No. 9 Pharos Municipal Tramway.
The Pharos Railway Company Museum has preserved features of early Vekllei rail history, including wood-burning locomotives operated by the PRC and items like tickets, signage and signalling. The PRC Museum also operates short heritage rail journeys around its site in Keflavic. It is located in the Sandeyri neighbourhood.
Uclo Experimental Social Housing Project #
✿ Read more: Towers in the Park
The Uclo Experimental Social Housing Project, called The Towers colloquially, were an experiment by the Vekllei Housing Commission in rapid-assembly apartment housing. They feature several distinct features of Vekllei ‘Newda’ design, including the use of large lightwells and indoor gardens. It is these luxuries and conveniences that keep the Towers desirable even 40 years on. Although successful in their goal to prove a new form of plentiful, comfortable housing, social housing policy shifted in the years after their construction, and Vekllei rarely builds apartment towers today.