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Agna Qel'a[1] is the capital city of the Northern Water Tribe, and the traditional seat of the chiefs of the Water Tribes. Located at the shores of the Northern Sea, the city has traditionally served as a major economic hub. It is the birthplace of many prominent Northern people, including Atuat, Arnook, Yue, Unalaq, and Tonraq.


The history of the city of Agna Qel'a spans thousands of years, being founded after the North Pole's independent tribes resolved to unify. The city was built as a symbol of the unification, and to facilitate the intra-tribal relations.[2] This project ultimately failed to solve all issues of the Water Tribe people, and one group left the north for the South Pole.[3] However, the spirit of Agna Qela's foundation was maintained, and the city remained an open port city welcoming to all visitors for much of its history.[2] Agna Qel'a entered a rare period of isolationism following the Platinum Affair, after the Water Tribes entered a state of isolation after the Earth Kingdom declared its own ports closed. Instead, international trade was restricted to four shang cities.[4]

In the late 4th century BG, Agna Qel'a celebrated the official revelation that Kuruk, a Northerner, was the new Avatar with a grand feast.[5] Years later, when Kuruk wanted to marry Ummi at the Spirit Oasis, Koh the Face Stealer lured her into the Spirit World to punish Kuruk for neglecting his Avatar duties.[6] In 296 BG, the famous firebending instructor and Fire Nation ex-official Hei-Ran was brought to Agna Qel'a for medical treatment. She spent the next year in the city, nursed back to health by the healer Atuat.[7]

Agna Qel'a was walled off and isolated itself along with the rest of the Northern Tribe during the Hundred Year War as a means to keep the Fire Nation out.[2][8] In 100 AG, the Fire Nation unsuccessfully besieged the city, causing great damage.[8][9]

Following the Hundred Year War, Agna Qel'a experienced a period of substantial growth in size and population, although it also suffered from a major barbarian invasion in 151 AG. Soon after, dark spirits attacked and ravaged the city until they were stopped by Unalaq.[10]

Layout and description[]

Northern Water Tribe buildings

The city's buildings are mainly made out of ice.

Located at the southernmost tip of the North Pole, Agna Qel'a is huge and multi-tiered, built into the icy landscape. Looming over the city are giant ice cliffs from which it was originally built. The city rests on the shores of the Northern Sea, and behind it is an enormous frozen tundra.[11] Despite its size, the capital is built almost completely using ice.[2]

Unlike the obliterated Air Nomads and their southern sister tribe, the Northern Water Tribe survived a century of war with the Fire Nation, primarily because they were congregated in larger areas instead of being spread out too thin. Resting on the shores of the Northern Sea, Agna Qel'a is protected by high walls of ice and an ice gate as well as canal lock system passable only by the use of waterbending. As the capital of the Northern Water Tribe, Agna Qel'a hosts the chiefs' royal palace and much of the tribe's population, including its most skilled healers. The city also contains the Spirit Oasis which houses Tui and La, the Moon and Ocean Spirits.[2][8][9]


Agna Qel'a posseses a sophisticated canal system.

Canoes steered by waterbenders are used to navigate the city's expansive system of canals.[12] These interconnecting waterways play a crucial part in the tribe's defenses. Water-locking chambers act as the only entrances into the main city; boats travel through the gates, and, once the boats are in, waterbenders raise the water levels, lifting the boats until the vessel finally reaches the waterways of the Northern Water Tribe. This special entrance ensures that no unwanted ships can make it into the city. Because of these special security features and the city's location, the Northern Water Tribe was able to fend off numerous Fire Nation attacks.[2] After the Hundred Year War and the city's expansion into the surrounding ice cliffs, the canal network was also expanded to support the new suburbs.[10]


Located on the warrior training grounds, the Water Tribe armory was where Water Tribe weapons were stored and kept in pristine condition during the Hundred Year War. The armory doubled as a war planning room where orders were given to the warriors. Some Fire Nation uniforms, which were captured during the Great War's early phase, were also kept there.[8]

Healing huts[]

The healing huts are small classroom-like structures, housing mannequins with human chi paths carved into them that were used during healing lessons.[11]

Northern Water Tribe Royal Palace[]

Main article: Northern Water Tribe Royal Palace
Northern Water Tribe Royal Palace

The palace.

The Northern Water Tribe Royal Palace is a large structure built on top the highest tier of Agna Qel'a and is one of the most recognizable landmarks. It can be seen from most anywhere in the city and stands like a monument, representing strength and power. In here, the chief and his advisers sit and make decisions regarding the tribe.[11][13]

The palace's design mimics that of a multi-tiered pyramid. Leading up to the front entrance is a large staircase that is bordered on either side by totem poles depicting animalistic spirits.[14] A pool of water and a number of artificially designed waterfalls surround the building, giving it a unique ambiance; the liquid for this system is supplied by various pipelines that pour water into the pool from directly below the temple. During special events after nightfall, the interior of the temple is lit up, so that light shines through the front entrance and the central windows up to the top floor of the structure. When Team Avatar arrived at the Northern Water Tribe, a celebration was held in front of the palace.[13]

The interior of the building is intricately designed, featuring a decorative arch with four pillars, two cauldron-shaped ice sculptures, carvings of Water Tribe symbols, a rug adorned with the insignia of the nation, and an artificial waterfall behind the arch.[3]

Notable figures[]


  • The canal system in Agna Qel'a was inspired by the canals found specifically in Italy.[14] The design of the bridges connecting the two sides of each canal resemble that of Venice, and the architecture of most of the city is strikingly European.
  • Special goggles are required to move around the brightest parts of Agna Qel'a without going snowblind.[15]
  • "Ummi Bridge" and a "Qana Square" are locations in Agna Qel'a mentioned by Pakku during his retelling of Team Avatar's adventures.[16]
  • Though Agna Qel'a first appeared in 2005 in Avatar: The Last Airbender,[11] the city's name was only revealed 15 years later in The Shadow of Kyoshi.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 21, 2020). Chapter Two, "The Invitation". The Shadow of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com. Encyclopedia now broken, archived at The Lost Lore of Avatar Aang - Location: The Northern Water Tribe.
  3. 3.0 3.1 From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com. Encyclopedia now broken, archived at The Lost Lore of Avatar Aang.
  4. Yee, F. C. (author). (July 19, 2022). Chapter Nine, "Theater". The Dawn of Yangchen. Amulet Books.
  5. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 21, 2020). Chapter Fourteen, "The Message". The Shadow of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  6. Escape from the Spirit World: Avatar Kuruk Online Comic Book
  7. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 21, 2020). Chapter Seven, "The Headmistress". The Shadow of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 O'Bryan, John (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (December 2, 2005). "The Siege of the North, Part 1". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 19. Nickelodeon.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & Filoni, Dave (director). (December 2, 2005). "The Siege of the North, Part 2". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 20. Nickelodeon.
  10. 10.0 10.1 DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Graham, Ian (director). (September 27, 2013). "Civil Wars, Part 2". The Legend of Korra. Book Two: Spirits. Episode 4. Nickelodeon.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (November 18, 2005). "The Waterbending Master". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 18. Nickelodeon.
  12. Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game. Core Book, Version 1.0, 2022, p. 20.
  13. 13.0 13.1 From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com. Encyclopedia now broken, archived at The Lost Lore of Avatar Aang - Location: Chief's Temple.
  14. 14.0 14.1 DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan & Ehasz, Aaron (September 19, 2006). "The Waterbending Master" commentary. Book 1: Water, Volume 5 DVD.
  15. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 21, 2020). Chapter Five, "Cultural Diplomacy". The Shadow of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  16. Avatar: The Last Airbender: Quest for Balance. Bamtang Games (September 22, 2023). GameMill Entertainment.