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Architecture of Neopia: Neovia


by arkwright

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Neovia is a small town geographically associated with the Haunted Woods but quite a walk North Easterly past the gypsy camp. It is similar, but separate, and as a result displays proudly its own township and vastly unique culture. Alongside the interesting fashion and speech patterns its residents have, and the occasional music and theatre performances, the architecture is probably the most important aspect of cultural life in Neovia and it displays its own unique style unheard of before: It is modest, sombre and elegant. This essay will be exploring these trends and also focusing on specific examples of the architecture, such as the central hall, and some further afield ruined asylums, or even deep beneath the earth where over a hundred floors of vast labyrinths twist and turn.

What makes the architecture in Neovia particularly interesting is its recent construction, unlike most areas of Neopia (with the possible exception of some regions in the Lost Desert, and Faerieland), Neovia has been rebuilt from ruins in year 8. When a town, especially one with such a homogenous community, is given the chance to ultimately design and build their own homes, we as scholars get a rare glimpse into the psyche of a population. The land originally belonged to an aristocratic family, centuries ago and gave the land its spooky stigma by practising magic. There is some debate as to whether the land exhibited magical properties before this family’s residency (such as rumours of Neovia being the site of leylines), or whether it was the result of years of spell making and concoction brewing that seeped far into the soils and remains in the veins of the very buildings that stand on the site today.

Today, in place of the swamp that the Haunted Woods is infamous for being seated upon, instead is a vast expanse of catacombs. Having such a solid foundation certainly had many stylistic effects on the eventual reconstruction of the town. In order for the town to rest comfortably on the ruins of the old, the style would have to be more or less similar. The stones originally used are exactly the same: a type of bluestone found near the Grand Neovian Mine. A further lesser-known fact is that the mysterious fog clinging to the cobbled streets of Neovia is actually a by-product of these stones interaction with the rain. The ancient nature of the gravestones in the graveyards that surround the town mean that these areas disproportionally produce the unusual, but harmless gas. Furthermore, it cannot help that if Neovia’s second largest industry (stone production) produces an eerie gas, that its main largest (coal production) more or less paints the atmosphere grey with generally quite unnerving levels of coal pollution. To the untrained eye, it may seem like Neovia is always in night time. This is not the case, but instead a build up of some harmful, some not harmful fumes merely blots out the sunlight during daytime hours.

The first noteworthy landmark this essay comments on is that of the town hall in Neovia. It is slightly raised on an earthy hill, and is visible from streets away with its towering, glowing clock tower- and if in the unusual occasion it is not visible, it is certainly audible with its crisp chime on the hour. On the exterior, the town hall is traditional bluestone with a green slate tiling most likely imported from the Haunted Woods, or dyed to match the surroundings. It has three floors including the bell tower. On the inside however, it has the traditional large open chamber where denizens of the lands converge and discuss- or during the Tale of Woe, plot riots and go out protesting from. It is indeed a flexible building. These days, the calm lull of everyday life means that often there is little cause for civic meetings, and instead the biweekly Neovian Faire will set up stalls, or put on performances. The town hall is as much a cultural icon that symbolises Neovia than a practical building. But in order for Neovia to retain its township, it needs a town hall.

The second landmark, which this article would not be without exploring more deeply (no pun intended) are the subterranean catacombs. As previously mentioned, the original owners of the land, a group of aristocratic Neopians initially built them. For what purpose however, this is lost to time. These days the labyrinth is home to monsters and treasure. The average Neovian will not go into the catacombs in their lifetime, but they are an ever-present mysterious danger without which Neovia would not be what it is today. The shadowy halls are examples of negative architecture. Originally hollowed out of the damp soil, the catacombs are propped up in some sections by stone of varying types, and in other places where the earth is more solid, nothing more than tufacious soil. Built into the walls are several alcoves found on every single one of the floors (of which we have only explored a small percentage), originally designed to house treasure chests and urns and pottery. Near the surface, there is less treasure, merely hollowed out window spaces, but the further down, the rumours speak of bowls of overflowing coin spilling out onto the ground so that the floors are cobbled with neopoints.

In conclusion, Neovia’s architecture is one of the most interesting for many reasons, and definitely worth a visit. There is no better place than to observe the fascinating building structure sitting on one of the cast iron chairs outside the Crumpetmongers, or even for the more brave scholars- to venture down into the catacombs themselves. As a final footnote, for those interested in further reading surrounding Neovia’s architecture, some of the best books on the topic purchasable from the Neovian Press Include “Guide to Dilapidated Homes”, “Neovian Town Guide”, “Dark Alleys of Neovia”, and also the “Grave Digging Manual”, with its unique insight into soil types and rocks. Whilst not specifically about Architecture, I also found the “Behind the Rusted Door: The True Story of the Meepit Oaks Sanitorium” very useful in providing information as to the construction and eventual dereliction of one of Neovia’s landmarks.

 
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