Svitansk’s permanent population includes roughly 1000 full-time residents.
Around 200 students attend the famous architectural college, plus ~35 custodians and faculty.
For most of the year, at least 500 visitors, including migrant labor, traders, boatmen, pilgrims, and other travelers. This number drops significantly during the winter months.
Economy and Industry
Svitansk has been known for many centuries for its builders – despite its small size, the town generates a disproportionately large pool of talented architects, masons, sculptors, and artisans. It’s been around for nearly as long as Stadislav; many of the capital’s most impressive and prestigious edifices were designed at Svitansk, and it is the center of new innovations in stonework and architectural inspirations for all of Kirupilov.
Part of the reason is the important architectural college, built on the site of the first and oldest major marble quarry. However, situated at the confluence of two major rivers, where the Blackwash flows into the Tigoda. Svitansk is positioned at an ideal spot for loading stone – including raw quarried blocks, pre-cut building-stones, and sculptures made to-order. When the original quarry was closed down, and the college founded, additional quarries nearby were opened and stone production steadily expanded for at least three centuries. Additional exports include timber, raw and prepared foodstuffs from surrounding farms and orchards, preserved meats, and goods brought down the Eastern road from towns and cities in that direction.
The area around Svitansk is a patchwork of rocky but serviceable pasture land, steeply-sloped hills dotted with forests, smaller farmholds squeezed wherever flat soil can accommodate a few furrows, and many small villages and hamlets. There is one major active quarry bringing much-desired marble a few short miles down the Blackwash on wide, massive barges. Other, older quarries are occasionally revisited; while largely exhausted, they can still be used to pull smaller stones for accent work or carving.
One of the nearby villages, Lyuban, has been providing high-quality timber to Svitansk for ten or fifteen years now. Logs are floated down the Tigoda, pulled from the river well back from the falls, and then lowered into the town from a large pulley mounted on a stone platform at the top of the cliff.
History and Geography
Originally little more than a worker’s camp surrounding the old quarry, Svitansk expanded around 1000 years ago to press against the newly-founded college. At that time, the Blackwash had shifted its course slightly; then, as now, it flowed over a low cliff just outside the college, filling the basin of the old quarry before joining the Tigoda. Rather than abandon the town, the many channels and ponds that formed in the old digs and between the piles of tailings were gradually spanned with dozens of bridges, ranging from tiny footbridges scarcely three yards across, to the startlingly high and graceful arc of the Swan Bridge, which joins the town to the East Road.
Both the Blackwash and the Tigoda are prone to irregular flooding. Moreover, the bedrock that forms the foundation for many of the bridge’s footings was split and cut in the old days when it was a working quarry; occasionally, a section of stone may shift or collapse, particularly during flooding. Thus, while some of the town’s bridges are quite ancient, there is almost always a new bridge being built on or near the site of a recent collapse. Rather than regret the loss of old structures, local tradition holds that this cycle of renewal is representative of Melora’s aspects of natural destruction and rebirth, a better harmony with the natural world. Moreover, it’s an opportunity for students and faculty at the college to innovate and experiment with new styles and structures.
Some of the longest-lived bridges have been added-to so much that they are now actually buildings; public guildhalls and markets straddling waterways, with still-used tunnels beneath high pillars passing below work and living space on the 2nd and even 3rd stories.
Although he holds no specific noble title, the dean of the college is unarguably the most influential figure in Svitansk. The college’s graduates tend to become wealthy people in Stadislav; their clients tend to be from the largest and richest families throughout Kirupilov. The Dean wields a lot of influence over who is allowed to attend, the subjects of study, and it is rumored that the college is instrumental in determining how much new construction costs throughout the Kingdom. Deans of the college are traditionally named by the Sheremetevs, one of the noble families whose head is an Elector Count. The Sheremetevs control the land on which Svitansk is built, as well as many of the surrounding villages.
The current dean is an enigmatic Warforged, who calls himself “Kulachok.”
Above Svitansk, a hundred yards or so beyond the cliff where the Tigoda flows into the town, there is a famous sandstone spire surrounded by an ancient grove. Every year, hundreds of pilgrims come to Svitansk to pray to Melora there, for it has been known since antiquity as an oracle. Rarely – perhaps once in a decade or two – someone will receive a vision or visitation or revelation while praying at the shrine; more often (but still infrequently), visitors have reported miraculous healing, prayers answered, and so on. Most commonly, many visitors claim the spire granted them a newfound sense of peace or belonging.
Melora has no organized priesthood in Kirupilov, but rites are occasionally conducted by visiting clerics, and the town has an annual festival dedicated to her. Locals are proud of “their” shrine, warning visitors about expected behavior, keeping the site clean and well-tended, and in the past the village has rallied against more than one overeager noble who proposed to resume quarrying of the marble that underlays the monument.
Moradin is the patron god at the college; there is a small but well-appointed church to him on the college grounds, open to the public.
The best place to get a good drink in Svitansk is The Waving Stone.
Frequently debated about the town is the current controversy over the desire of the Sulyevs to re-open a marble quarry further up the Blackwash that hasn’t been used in nearly a century. Any labor force working that quarry would have to come from Svitansk, but drawing labor – and thus, money – away from Sheremetev holdings in favor of the Sulyevs is a matter of high-level politics. Additionally, a group of engineers at the college have examined the record-books and indicated the Sulyev quarry was originally closed because of some kind of risk of collapse. Supposedly, further quarrying could cause a sudden surge of water to rush downstream, putting Svitansk itself in danger. Or, perhaps a collapse could divert or shut off the flow of the river entirely? Depending on who you ask, the exact nature of the danger seems to differ.