New Tarajan, officially the Kingdom of New Tarajan (Tarajani Dutch: Koninkrijk Nieuwe Tarajan; Ajanic: Ultarajan Karaman), is a semi-constitutional, federal monarchy and a prominent power of Altiganta, although its colonies are spread all over the world.
Although commonly known as Tarajan, the Kingdom assumed its current name after the Declaration of Regeneration proclaimed by King Conrad III soon after his coronation in 1944, at the end of the Great Restoration War.
The Kingdom is led by King Friederick Wilhelm II, who served as both the Head of State and Prime Chancellor until 2008 when the latter was assigned to the then-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marquis Conrad Van Vinkel, breaking a policy inaugurated by his grandfather Conrad III.
Although, historically, some parts of New Tarajan have enjoyed a solid tradition as a unified political body (particularly the western part nder Ajanic domination), the final unification of the whole territory was a slow, non-linear, process, beginning in the 16th century and culminating in the 18th. Because of the Liberal Revolution of 1789 (followed by the so-called Altigantan Wars), New Tarajan became the birthplace of liberalism and the liberal values and principles which shaped the world in the 19th century onwards. Although overshadowed by the reactionary policies enacted by King Conrad III after the civil war, in the last decades liberalism has once again been the mark of Tarajani politics and society.
The Kingdom is the leading State of the Empire of Tarajan, a commonwealth uniting New Tarajan, Sdudeti-Karabak, North Ajania and Ashar. New Tarajan is a major promoter of the United Nations of Esamir, and a prominent member of the Esamir Security Council and the Court of Justice, and also a founding member of SECURS and OMNI Enforcer, one of the most powerful military alliances in Esamir.
The origins of the name Tarajan are ancient, tracing back to the first Ajan migration, which led to the first unification of the land under the rule of the Ajanic Shahs.
Indeed, the name is simply the Ajanic word for "Land of the Ajans" (the prefix "Tar-" is an abbreviation of the word "Taraaba" for "Land").
However, some scholars believe the real origin of the word lies in the pre-Ajanic tradition, conforted by new archeological findings that seem to support the first theories about an indigenous derivation of the Ajanic language.
Mainland New Tarajan is located in Middle Altaganta, bordering Sdudeti-Karabak, North Ajania, and Antanares. It is bordered by the sea on both east and west. At least two-thirds of the territory of the Kingdom are covered by mountains or hills, with the main plain in the western part being the Kashair Plain, on the north-west, mainly comprised in the Grand Duchy of Muraz, and, in the eastern part, the Great Plain of Sinai. Geographically, the whole Kingdom is usually divided in two different parts, West and East Tarajan. The dividing line between the two parts are the Ullai Mountains.
The hydrography of New Tarajan is dominated by the Shalimar River, which flows from the Ullai Mountains in the west to the Shraman Sea in the Gulf of Merlberg. Other prominent rivers are the Lokan River, which flows from the Azure Mountains down to the Lake Horat, passing through the capital city of Astana; the Muktul River, flowing from the Shaby Mountains to the sea; and the Kabal River, which flows from the same mountains down into the Shalimar. Minor rivers run almost everywhere in the country (except for Kashair, which is the most drought region of the Kingdom): the most famous ones are the so-called Seven Rivers, which flows from the Ales Mountains to the sea, giving birth to the small but incredibly fertile Plain of Alleskandberg. The most important lake of the Kingdom is the Lake Horat, famous for its role as a place for holiday of the Tarajani aristocracy, while the Andara Sea, the biggest enclosed water-body of Altaganta, is mainly comprised inside the Antanaresian Federation. East Tarajan, instead, lacks any river or lake comparable to those in the west: its hydrography is characterized by the presence of many small rivers and streams, usually (especially in the central regions) seasonally dry. Lakes are few, mainly comprised in ancient volcanic craters.
The highest mountain of the Kingdom is Mount Volhen (4.921,06 mt) which is also the highest peak of the whole continent, part of the Azure Mountains, which completely cover the northern border of the Kingdom. The Shaby Mountains constitute the backbone of the country, going north from the Lake Horat almost to the border with Antanares, and flanked to the west by the Ullai Mountains, clearly dividing West Tarajan from the East.
Thanks to its geographical position, New Tarajan enjoys a relatively mild climate, although there are significant differences among different regions of the country. Thus, the northern and western areas of the Kingdom are characterized by alpine climate, while Kashair suffers from a dry climate. The rest of the country generally enjoys a Mediterranean climate, particularly accentuated in the Shraman Islands.
Although it is often seen as the true birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, New Tarajan is also famous for its strict environmental policies, enacted since the reign of Conrad III (with significant precedents in the past, however).
This strong commitment to the protection of the environment helped the country recovers from the most disastrous consequences of the communist regime economic policies which, due to their emphasis on heavy industry and manufacturing, caused a dangerous increase of the levels of pollution and serious damages to many important rivers (particularly the Kabal River). Today, both the federal and the state governments carefully oversee that a delicate balance is maintained between economic development and the protection of the environment.
Government and Politics
The Declaration of Regeneration issued by King Conrad III in 1944 still works as an unofficial constitutional charter for the Kingdom.
As provided by it, the Kingdom is actually composed by thirty-two States, divided among Royal States (Koninklijk Staats) and Lordships (Heerlijkheden), together with six Free Cities (Vrije Stadt), as listed below:
Koninklijk Staat (Royal States):
- Shahdom of Astana (Tarajan)
- Principality of Merlberg
- Grand Duchy of Muraz
- Grand Duchy of Alleskandberg
- Grand Duchy of Bakran
- Duchy of Coevorden
- Duchy of Kerkrade
- Landrgraviate of Nuyern
- Landgraviate of Aaken
- Principality of Horat
- Principality of Groteweg
- Principality of Benham
- Principality of Landgraaf
- Principality of Drethen
- Grand Duchy of Middensteden
- Duchy of Ijzerland
- Duchy of Eindhoven
- Duchy of Shraman
- Duchy of Hogeberg
- Duchy of North Brandelhorn
- Duchy of South Brandelhorn
- Duchy of Drachten
- Duchy of Anneland
- Duchy of Bergen
- County of Marisah
- County of Heinrichstadt
- County of Vaandal
- County of Wittenberg
- County of Edeland
- County of Stargard
- Landgraviate of Bergenfort
- Landgraviate of Meisjecasteel
- Margraviate of Naarden
Vrije Stadt (Free Cities):
A specific political and administrative regime is provided for the oversea colonies (East Karasin, North Ienara, South Ienara and Gold Coast), while Meisjegronden, formerly the most important Tarajani colony, has been recently elevated to the rank of Grand Duchy, thus formally listing among the Royal States (although a complete definition of its position is still under discussion).
The Royal States are traditional possessions of the Royal House, and thus directly submitted to the Crown; the Lordships are the traditional fiefs of the Major Houses of Tarajan, while the Free Cities are the most important urban areas of the Kingdom, thus administered outside the frameworks of the States where they are located, enjoying a regime of full autonomy.
All the States are organized on the same pattern, with a local government (the Council) elected by the people and confirmed by the local lord (or, in a Royal State, by the Royal Governor). The legislative bodies are the Diet and the Landsraad (composed by the members of the Minor Houses of that particular State).
Being part of a federal regime, all States enjoy a great amount of autonomy in most fields, with the federal government intervening mainly in case of inter-State projects (often in case of transport infrastructures or economic projects of strategic national interest) and national security issues. This link between central (federal) and state administrations is kept by four Prefectures (five, after the recent institution of the Provisional Royal Prefecture of Stargard): their main role is to ensure the full functionality of all those elements involving two or more States (infrastructures, specific agreements, inter-State public transportation, and so on), to represent the central government in the States falling under their jurisdiction, and to resolve legal issues involving two or more States. Prefects are appointed by the King (under confirmation by the Landsraad), usually from non-aristocratic people with no links to the States comprised in their Prefecture.
The Kingdom Head of State is the King, who represents the country abroad and in many occasions. However, his role is far from being a representative one: indeed, he confirms the election of the new Prime Minister, with the possibility of personally chairing the sessions of the executive, proposing laws (Royal Decrees) and signing the acts of the Council for their coming into effect; he can also revoke his confirmation, thus leading to the fall of the government and the indiction of new elections; he appoints the Prefects. The King is also the head of the judiciary system, presiding over the sessions of the Landsraad Court, and with the power of grace and the head of the military forces, which directly answer to him, sharing the same power regarding intelligence agencies with the Council.
The executive body of the federal government is the Koninklijke Raad, Tarajani Dutch for Royal Council (or, simply, the Council). It's formally headed by King, but in practice its head is the Prime Minister (or Prime Chancellor), who's elected every four years. As mentioned above, after being elected, the Prime Minister needs the confirmation of the King. After that, he/she can proceed with the
appointment of the other members of the government. The Council has full executive powers and also some legislative ones: indeed, it can propose to the Landsraad and the Diet project of laws to be approved; it has powers of emergency decree; together with the King, the Council oversees the activity of the intelligence and security agencies of the Kingdom.
Any act of the Council must be first signed by the King and counter-signed by the Prime Minister before taking effect.
The Landsraad is traditionally the most powerful legislative organ: it represents the will of the Major Houses of the Kingdom (those entitled to the possesion of a Lordship) and of the States of the Kingdom; as such, it is both a Chamber of Lords and a Federal Senate. Obviously, it's not an elective body: representation in the Landsraad is automatically given to the heads of the single States. Until the 2010 Reform, the Landsraad enjoyed a clear superiority over the Diet, with the power of veto over laws approved by the latter and the possibility to overcome the legislative process in the Diet in case of political obstructionism. Also, laws
approved by the Landsraad didn't need a vote of approval by the Diet. After 2010, the situation changed, with the Landsraad losing any power of interference inside the processes of the Diet and some of his laws now subject to approval by the Diet as well. However, it still retains a power of veto (although limited). Also, the Landsraad (under the form of the Landsraad Court) is the highest judiciary body of the Kingdom. Landsraad sessions are presided by the Lord President or directly by the King himself.
The Royal Diet is the parliament of the Kingdom: composed by 575 members, it is elected every four years together with the Prime Minister (who is usually the leader of the political party or coalition winning the Diet elections) through a proportionality system introduced after the 2010 Reform (before, it was a simple majority system). The Royal Diet can legiferate in every field not involving the autonomies of the States, approves the laws proposed by the government, and can question the government itself over specific issues of national interest. It is chaired by the President of the Diet.
In specific situations, the Landsraad and the Diet can be summoned in common sessions: in this case, the meeting is chaired in turn by the Lord President and the President of the Diet (or, in particular cases, by the King himself). Usually, common sessions are summoned by the Council in order to inform both bodies of important developments in fields deemed of national and strategic interest, or to submit to both a law of particular interest to be approved as soon as possible.
The judiciary system of New Tarajan strictly follows its federal structure. The first level of judgment is made by the Vierschaar (Court of Justice), usually present in every major urban settlement. After that, the second level is made by the Heerlijkheid Tribunaal (Lordship Court of Justice) for Lordships, and the Koninklijk Tribunaal (Royal Court of Justice) for Royal States. Free Citiies have their own courts too (the Steden Tribunaal). A third level is then made up by the Prefectuur Tribunaal (Court of Justice of the Prefecture), which also has jurisdiction upon issues rising among States belonging to that particular Prefecture. Except for federal cases, this third level can only be overcome by a ruling of the Tribunaal van de Five (Tribunal of the Five), composed by the five most distinguished judges of the Kingdom, personally chosen by the King every six years, and which can rule over issues of procedure or violation of the established judicial pattern. It also has jurisdiction over issues between States (as a second-level judgement) or the States and the federal government.
Judging on federal crimes, every State hosts a Federale Rechtbank (Federal Court), usually in its capital city. Appeals against the ruling of a Federal Court can be submitted to the Landsraad Court, composed by seven members of the Landsraad chosen by the King every five years, and chaired by the King himself (or, in case of his absence, by the Lord President of the Landsraad or a member of the Tribunal of the Five). The Landsraad Court is also the sole judiciary body with jurisdiction over major crimes committed by members of the Major Houses or the Royal House. Also for the federal justice, rulings of this last level can only be overcome by a decision of the Tribunal of the Five.
Until 2010, New Tarajan had a two-parties system, with the political spectrum equally divided among the liberal Blue Party and the conservative White Party, the only third party being the small, reactionary (and, thus, aligned with the latter) Royal Tarajani Party (KTP). After the reform of the 2010 and the introduction of a proportional system for the Royal Diet, the political world of New Tarajan significantly changed: after more than a decade of dominance by the Blue Party (which enjoyed the support of the King), and under pressure by the new, extreme Right, Regenerati Partij (RP), the White Party has been dissolved. As for today, the political arena is divided among the RP (now on more moderate positions), the Blue Party, the Tarajani Social-Democratische Partij (TSDP), the KTP (in close coalition with the RP), and the Republikeinse Partij (RKP), representative of the old guards of the RP who didn't accept its new moderate leadership. After a period of dominance inside the Diet, the RP lost the majority in the 2016 elections, which saw a renewed strength of the Blue Party, led by Duke Bernhard Van Aardenne-Gliefen. The scandal arisen by Tarajani participation in the war in New-Zealand, however, forced the Prime Minister to resign, and the King, in cooperation with the liberal leadership, chose Margrave Ulrich De Witte-Beulen as his successor at the Palace of Government, and new leader of the Blue Party. However, absolute majority inside the Diet was definitely lost, and the new political storm opened by the Religious Interference Prohibition Law of early 2017 risks to open a serious divide among the liberals, leading to a very precarious situation.
Due to its prominent role as a world power since the XVII century, old Tarajan always enjoyed a strong network of relations with many countries. New Tarajan built upon this legacy with extreme success, becoming the centre of a new network of international organizations, treaties and agreements, well known for its strong commitment in the development and respect of International Law. Actually, the major partners of New Tarajan are Antanares, Duresia, Aloia, Arveyres and, after the end of the disputes over the contested territories of Sdudeti-Karabak and North Ajania, also Zackalantis. Strict relations are also kept with other powers. Since its rebirth the Kingdom enjoyed strengthened ties with Antanares, its major neighbor and, thanks to its role in the support of royalist forces during the civil war, leaving behind a controversial history of conflicts among the two countries, now replaced by a stronger emphasis on the common cultural and historical heritage linking them (it's not to be forgotten that many Major Houses and the Royal House itself are of Antanaresian origins). These ties were the pillars for the birth of the Security and Economical Union of Royalist States and of OMNI Enforcer, which merged the military forces of New Tarajan and Antanares (and, later, of other countries), in an effort to counter-balance what was perceived by many as too-aggressive policies of the International Confederation of Free States in the aftermath of the devastating Ienaran War between SECURS and the UPS. Despite OMNI and the ICFS soon became a dividing line among world powers, New Tarajan still kept relations with many members of the Federation, and always refused to acknowledge the existence of a sort of cold war between the two groups, also trying to boost cooperation with prominent ICFS members on security and economic issues as a response to the climate of distrust created by the Ienaran War and still existing after many decades.
After the disappearance of this cold war divisions in the new century, the foreign policy of New Tarajan became more flexible, but also more ambiguous. As a result, the country even participated to the first stages of the Invasion of New Zealand, led by Eurasia and Duresia, ostensibly as a support force to the removal of President Naveen Garagen, accused of being responsible for the sinking of an Eurasian battleship. When truth came to surface, that New Zealand was, in fact, not to blame, Tarajani forces withdrew, and the Kingdom strongly participated to all attempts to bring the war to its end. In the aftermath of the bloody conflict, New Tarajan and New Zealand sealed new agreements in all fields, de facto creating a new all-round alliance, with Tarajani capitals heavily employed in post-war reconstruction.
New Tarajan also recently established strong ties with the Sultanate of Morea, through a military and political alliance, strongly supported by Sultan Ioannis IX Kallergis in order to protect the country against possible aggressions by its more powerful neighbours. However, the approval of the Religious Interference Prohibition Law became a serious issue between New Tarajan and catholic Morea, leading to a fierce political fight between the Tarajani government and the Morean Bishop Akakios Doukas. After the murder of Sultan Ioannis, Tarajani pressure on the Morean government to take action against the bishop and his followers reached unprecedented levels; few analysts fear such a move could mark the slow abandonment of the neutralist and non-interventionist policy followed by Astana until now, although those fears didn't receive confirmation by Tarajani behavior after the Morean events.
As already said, although usually following a non-interventionist policy, New Tarajan has been increasingly active in participating in conflicts and wars all around the globe, usually in order to protect strategic interests of the Kingdom or to counter threats to its own national security, always under the aegis of the UNE, to which the Kingdom is a major contributor. Tarajani foreign relations are today characterized by few fundamental principles: liberalism, free trade, cooperation on most important issues, the protection of the environment and the upholding of International Law.
Tarajani miitary is divided in three branches: the Tarajani Koninklijke Leger (Tarajani Royal Army), the Koninklijke Tarajani Marine (Tarajani Royal Navy), and the Koninklijke Tarajani Luchtmacht (Tarajani Royal Air Force). They still exist as part of OMNI, where they're merged with the military forces of the other member States. The Tarajani army traces its origin back to the birth of the Kingdom itself, and during the centuries it has been deployed all over the world. It saw a significant increase in both numbers and quality during the Altigantan Wars which followed the Liberal Revolution, when it was used against the great coalitions which tried to contain the spread of liberal values. By contrast, the civil war marked the darkest period of the Tarajani military, which was divided among royalists and communists. As a result, after the restoration of the monarchy the country had to rebuild almost from scratch its military apparatus.
Since 1978, New Tarajan also has its own nuclear arsenal.
The organization of the Tarajani military is extremely complex, being it divided into layers corresponding to its federal structure: thus, every State of the Kingdom keeps its own military (often defined as State Militia, although the official name can vary from place to place), often deployed in emergency situations and for relief and special police operations inside the State territory; on the federal level, the military follows the abovementioned organization, but it should be noted that it still keeps the old division between Royal Guard troops (élite regiments, recruited on special requirements and often composed by foreign members, the most famous being the Duresian Royal Grenadiers, answering solely to the Royal House) and Line troops, only made by Tarajani citizens and answering to the normal military hierarchies, although such a division is now mostly formal. A special regiment, not falling inside the previous categories, is the Landsraad Guard Regiment.
Conscription has been officially abolished in 1980, and service in the military rests exclusively on a voluntary base since then. A great care and attention is given to the discipline and physical, psychological and material preparation of the enlisted personnel. As such, today New Tarajan has one of the most advanced, well-equipped and professional military forces of the world, with prominence traditionally given to the Navy and the Air Force.
Every State of the Kingdom maintains its own police force. However, the federal government also keeps a national police corp, the Federale Politie, which has jurisdiction over all federal crimes. Another federal police corp is the Koninklijke Marechaussee (KMar, Royal Marshals): a part of the military until 1990,
since then it has been moved to the same level of the federal police, with jurisdiction over the borders of the Kingdom and white-collar and custom violation crimes, together with illegal immigration and international crimes.
Both the federal police and the Marshals contribute to the Korps Koninklijke politiediensten (KKPD for short; standing for Royal Police Services Agency), an agency with the duty of overseeing and coordinating the activities of all police forces, both at the State and federal level.
New Tarajan is famous for the quality of its intelligence. Until 2011, responsibility for all intelligence activities outside of the military fell under the RIB (Royal Investigation Bureau), while every military branch kept its own intelligence service as well. In 2011, the Intelligence Reform Act completely changed the framework of Tarajani intelligence: as a result, the RIB was dissolved and the military intelligence unified. Today, Tarajani intelligence is composed by:
- Koninklijk inlichtingendienst (or KID, standing for Royal Intelligence Service): one of the two successors of the RIB, its main duties are the coordination and direct conduction of intelligence operations, information gathering and threat analysis and protection in foreign countries. It answers to the Ministry for Homeland Security and Justice, and its director is Count Michael Van Aardenne-De Meyster.
- Koninklijk Veiligheidsdienst (or KVD, standing for Royal Security Service): the other successor of the RIB, it has the same duties of the KID, but with sole jurisdiction upon national soil (including member States of the Empire). It answers to the Ministry for Homeland Security and Justice as well, and its director is Adrienne Van De Meester.
- Militaire Inlichtingen- en Veiligheidsdienst (MIVD for short, standing for Military Intelligence and Security Service), is the new unified military intelligence agency of the Kingdom. Its main duties are: military intelligence gathering and reconnaissance; counter-terrorism; and counter-espionage. It answers to the Minister of the Military and to the Council of Chiefs of Staff, and its director is Gen. Bey Hedyat Taher.
Although traditionally listed among the intelligence agencies, the RHIELD (acronymn for Royal Hazard Intervention and Enforcement Logistics Department) has a more ambiguous and comprehensive role, half-way between a traditional joint civil-military intelligence agency and a special military organization. Due to its ambigous nature and to its peculiar role, the Department has often been labelled as the "secret police of the Kingdom", particularly by communist outsiders. It's the only agency to possess its own specific military equipment and arsenal (including a submarine carrier, three skycarriers and one traditional carrier), and it's entrusted with the most delicate interventions in hazardous environments or for cover operations in foreign territory.
New Tarajan has a substantially mixed economy, with a strong private sector standing alongside a massive presence of the government inside the most vital economic sectors, although statal intervention often takes the appearance of legislative control more than direct administration.
Despite the anti-communist ideology that often characterized the Kingdom policies in the recent past, it is not uncommon to see a suspect attitude toward private initiative behind some legislative acts of the government or the Landsraad; particularly, the government of New Tarajan was always against indiscriminate privatization, especially in areas of strategic and social interest. Also, the Kingdom has a strong tradition regarding labourers protection (collateral heritage of the era before the Communist Revolution, when the government had allowed an indiscriminate exploitation of the lower classes) as much a very strong eco-friendly attitude.
A sort of divide in ecominic prosperity has often been identified by scholars between the Western and the Eastern part of the Kingdom, with the former more industrialized and developed and the latter often lagging behind.
The official currency of the Kingdom is the Tarajani Prand.
Agriculture has been for centuries the most important economical resource of the Kingdom, even during the modern era.
Since the final years of the reign of Conrad III, and with an uninterrupted process, the sector knew a noticeable contraction in the number of labourers, thanks to the extensive mechanization; actually, only the 4% of the active population is employed in the agricultural sector.
Also, the Kingdom saw (especially in the latest years) a relevant specialization of the agriculture production, now more focalized on few, most famous and economically profitables, products, such as wine (particularly in the Horat region, birthplace of some of the most famous wines of the entire world, such as the Horat Red Wine), tomatoes, olive oil and vegetables.
However, agriculture remains one of the most important sectors of Tarajan economy, providing the 5% of the national GDP, with a total income from agricultural products of 30,5 billions Prands about.
As a result of the economic reforms undertaken during the reign of Conrad IV between 1981 and 1984, New Tarajan saw an incredible increase of its own financial market. That was the beginning of what has often be called by economists as the Tarajani Financial Revolution: the creation of a new, stable and incredibly free financial market in the country. Centered on the new Stock Exchange of Eindhoven, which soon became (and still is) the true financial and economic capital of the Kingdom, the financial sector has steadily increased its share in Tarajani economy. Groups as the International Business Group, the Royal
International Bank and others have shaped the economy of the Kingdom, and also of the rest of the world. Tarajani financial and banking firms are believed to participate in some way or another to at least three quarters of global economy, with no regard for political or ideological boundaries. Infrastructure or strategic projects all around the globe can often count over substantial contributions by Tarajani firms, or the recently-founded New Tarajan Investment Authority, the agency which coordinates and controls the Tarajani government investments abroad.
Although old Tarajan was one of the birthplaces of the Industrial Revolution, its first wave mainly involved only few notable cities (Astana in the north, Alleskandberg and Nuyern in the south), leaving the rest of the country industrially poor.
During the years of the Communist regime, the government enforced a massive industrialization policy, leading to the creation of many industrial centers near other relevant cities of Tarajan, such as Eindhoven and Heinrichstadt. This policy was brutally interrupted after the monarchical restauration, leading to a period of industrial crisis and stagnation during the first decade of the reign of Conrad III.
The new industrial revival was carried out thanks to a new orientation toward high technologies, which rapidly led New Tarajan to a prominent position in the production and distribution of technologically-advanced products. The modern space exploration program carried out by the Kingdom is probably the most famous result of such a policy, together with the incredible development of Tarajani civil and military aerospace industry. Today, New Tarajan produces some of the most advanced aircrafts in the world, for both civilian and military purposes.
With a total income of almost 230,5 trillions, the industrial high-tech sector is the spearhead of the entire Tarajan economy.
As for the agricultural sector, manufacturing saw in the last decades a stronger orientation toward the production of more sophisticated products for a luxury market as well.
The main industrial fields are information technology, aeronautics, electronics, automobile manifacturing, space technology and vehicles and defense systems.
Tourism is probably the most important pillar of Tarajani economy: thanks to one of the most beautiful natural environments of the world, a rich and ancient cultural and artistic heritage, and an incredibly long history, New Tarajan has been always a good choice for tourists.
The most recent statistics report that nearly one hundred millions of tourists visit New Tarajan every year. But New Tarajan is not a place for everyone, and its strong aristocratic legacy influences also the categories of tourists it draws. Thus, while it is possible to meet every kind of tourist on its streets, New Tarajan is the favourite destination of the riches, from billionaires to aristocrats, to diplomats and government high officials. Casinos, yachts, luxury hotels: this is the life of Tarajani tourism, strongly supported by one of the best production of luxury commodities of the world.
From the wonderful and elegant aristocratic estates on the Lake Horat, the legendary ruins of Muraz and Bakran, to the ancient and prestigious casinos of Merlberg, and the beautiful beaches and the blue waters of the Shraman Isles, New Tarajan offers to its cultured visitors the most interesting and unforgettable experience.
There's nothing more surprising and interesting that New Tarajan has to offer to its visitors than its own culture. The result of centuries-long interbreeding between the ancient Ajanic, Sinaic, and Planitan cultures, the one brought by the Antanaresian conquerors in the west and, finally, the heavy Aloian influences in the south-east, Tarajani civilization still surprises those who touch it.
Art and architecture
Very few remains of pre-Ajanic settlements are still to be seen today in Tarajan, although these remains are surely not to be underestimated: the Bakran Ziqqurat or the ruins of Old Muraz still have a great power on the imagination of those who see them, as they had on the visitors of the past centuries.
However, Ajanic architecture is one of the most iconic symbols of Tarajan: the Temple of the Seven Gods, the Ajanic Citadel of Astana with its long walls and beautiful gardens, the temples of Bakran, the tombs of the Shahs, are only some of these famous monuments. Ajanic art is also well represented by the miniatures of their books: although many were destroyed during the Antanaresian invasions of the XVI century, many others survived, and it's now possible to admire them in many museums (not only in New Tarajan). Ajanic art of miniature did not end with their own dominance over Tarajan, and many exemplars were designed in their strongholds in what is now Sdudeti-Karabak, until the XVIII and the XIX centuries. Planitan and Sinaic cultures, instead, never reached the same level of sophistication as their Ajanic neighbours, but they nonetheless left interesting remains, particularly in funerary architecture.
Obviously, the arrival of the Antanaresian knights deeply shaped the original Tarajani artistic world. The new conquerors brought with them a totally different style, although they felt since the very first time a strong attraction toward the more ancient Ajanic civilization an its products. The true birth of Tarajani architecture and art is traced to the so-called Sigismundian Period, also defined by many as the Tarajani Renaissance. It was during this period, lasting approximately from 1632 to 1669, that the Kingdom finally developed its own artistic and cultural style, in full independence from its Antanaresian legacy, although examples of grand architecture were seen also in the previous decades (such as the Royal Palace of Merlberg). This renaissance was mainly seen through paintings (such as those of Hans Bollongier, Jan van de Cappelle or Aelbert Cuyp), at least at the beginning. Since Sigismund VI's Edict of 1656 Christianity was officially abolished in the Kingdom, and persecuted by the Crown: this means that most of the artistic activity was spent under commission of the nobles or the Crown itself. This led to the extraordinary spread of elegant architecture which characterized the XVIII (the Heinrichian Period, true golden age of the Kingdom) and XIX centuries. Leading examples are surely the Royal Palace of Astana (in its New Wing), Palace Van Geldern, the Royal Estate of Vieneskel, the many villas and palaces built around the Lake Horat by Tarajani aristocracy, and the most famous of them, Palace Van Sondenburg-Sorenberg, entirely built on a tiny island in the middle of the lake. Tarajani archiects of the period (like Ludwig van Wittel, designer of the Royal Palace), were called all around the world for their ability.
Ajanic literature is most famous for its philosophical works and its epic tales. The mythology of the Ajans (which is the fundamental mythology of Jahanism) has been kept and transmitted in some of the most famous tales: the Song of Jahan is a leading example of that.
The new conquerors of Tarajan didn't bring with them a true literary culture. This led to a lack of significant works until the beginning of the renaissance of the Sigismundian Period, except for chronicles or other kinds of strictly historical books. During the late XVII and the XVIII centuries, a new literature slowly emerged. mainly composed by poetry (often under the form of epic poems such as the Sky and the Abyss, specifically made to honor the renewed power of the Kings) and theatrical works. From the end of the XVIII century, a new romanticist literature developed, led by figures such as the famous poet and writer Johann Wolfgang Van Goethe. He and his followers gave new fresh air to Tarajani literary culture, which finally exploded in the middle of the XIX century and more at the beginning of the XX century, with writers such as Gabriel Van Aanmelding, who shaped the new Decadent culture. The Revolution of 1919 brought a sudden end to these currents, and the People's Republic was characterized by a deep control of the government over literature (and all other fields of artistic activity). However, a development of realist literature began in this period.
Ajanic music is pretty famous in our world today, but it already exercised a strong appeal even on the new conquerors coming from Antanares. The chief instrument of Ajanic music is the so-called Ajanic Flute, or Arezoo. Very ancient (archaeological evidence traces its origins back to the very beginning of the Ajanic settlement in Tarajan, and even before), a popular tradition states its creation by the hands of Jahan himself. Today the Arezoo is still the primary instrument of Tarajani traditional music, with many famous composers having adapted it also inside modern orchestras (like the famous Tarajani composer of Arveyran origins Franc Poulenc). Tarajani music was further developed from the Heinrichian Period onward, with the birth of Tarajani classical music, represented by composers like Ludwig Van Beethoven, the Van Strauss family and others. Romantic music developed during the second half of the XIX century with authors like Gabriel Van de Faure.
Philosophy and lifestyle
One of the most interesting legacies of the Ajanic people to modern-day Tarajan is their philosophy: developed since their first migration and the birth of their Empire, it came to us through the works of intellectuals such as the Emperor-philosopher Humyat Jahan Shah (V century) and Tariz Qin Firuz (XIV-XV centuries), one of the most prominent scholars of all times, who also was architect, painter, historian, geographer and astronomer. The so-called School of Firuz directed by him is responsible for the transmission of most part of Ajanic culture to us.
It is from those premises that modern Tarajani philosophy and life-style developed: Tarajani citizens today are extremely liberals, individualistic, open-minded, and non-religious, elements which are reflected at every level of society. Liberalism is born in the Kingdom, and its heritage has been preserved, despite the
difficulties. As such, a primary concern for Tarajanis is individual freedom: unjustified ingerence in the life of others is deemed by many to be one of the most terrible faults, and even the government, through its legislation, assures maximum freedom to its citizens in their private affairs. A completely unrestricted right to marriage, legalization of light drugs, comprehensive sexual education, State-controlled prostitution are all aspects of this peculiar view, strengthened by the extremely open attitude of Jahanism (in theory, State religion of the country) and by a strong suspect against any possible religious interference in the public arena.
See also: Jahanism
Religion in New Tarajan is a private matter. However, in theory the Kingdom has its own State religion: Jahanism, the ancient Ajanic religion, officially adopted in 1654 by King Sigismund VI after the abolition of Christianity (formerly State religion of the young Kingdom).
Until 1946 Christians were persecuted in the Kingdom. Anti-discrimination laws were only implemented after this date, in an attempt by Conrad III to pacify the whole country after the civil war. However, as a result Christians represents only the 2% of the whole population (mostly members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of New Tarajan, an offshoot of the Church of Aloia).
Majority of the Tarajani citizens (60%) profess themselves to be non-believers (either atheist or agnostic), while a 20% is Jahanist, and the rest is divided among different faiths. Prominent religious minorities in the Kingdom are composed by Electranists, Jews, and even Maiorists.
Education in the Kingdom is compulsory between the ages of 5 and 16 when HAVO, VWO or MBO level 2 or higher completed or 18.
All children in New Tarajan usually attend elementary school from (on average) ages 4 to 12. It comprises eight grades, the first of which is facultative. Based on an aptitude test, the 8th grade teacher's recommendation and the opinion of the pupil's parents or caretakers, a choice is made for one of the three main streams of secondary education (after completing a particular stream, a pupil may still continue in the penultimate year of the next stream):
- The vmbo has 4 grades and is subdivided over several levels. Successfully completing the vmbo results in a low-level vocational degree that grants access to the mbo.
- MBO ("middle-level applied education"). This form of education primarily focuses on teaching a practical trade, or a vocational degree. With the mbo certification, a student can apply for the hbo.
- The havo has 5 grades and allows for admission to the hbo.
- HBO ("higher professional education"), are universities of professional education (or applied sciences) that award professional bachelor's degrees; similar to polytechnic degrees. A HBO degrees gives access to the university system.
- The vwo (comprising atheneum and gymnasium) has 6 grades and prepares for studying at a (research) university.
- Universities offer of a three-year bachelor's degree, followed by a one-, or two year master's degree, which in turn can be followed by a four-year doctoral degree program. Doctoral candidates in New Tarajan are generally non-tenured employees of a university.