The Fire Nation Capital, also known as Capital City, is the seat of the government for the Fire Nation. It is home to the Fire Lord, the Fire Nation Royal Family, and Fire Nation nobility. The city is located on Capital Island, a large island in the western region of the Fire Nation.
The Fire Nation Capital is one of the largest settlements in the world. It has a distinct layout consisting of the Royal Plaza, a forum located directly past the harbor; an industrial district surrounded by numerous establishments and homes; and Royal Caldera City, a residential district situated within the crater of a dormant volcano hosting the Fire Nation Royal Palace and various homes of Fire Nation elite.
Owing to its extensive defenses, the Fire Nation Capital is regarded as one of the most heavily fortified cities in the World of Avatar, alongside Ba Sing Se. This level of protection along with the prowess of the Fire Nation Navy prevented the capital from becoming a major battleground during the Hundred Year War. Despite this, it came under attack on at least one occasion, during the failed invasion of the Fire Nation on the Day of Black Sun.
The powerful Fire Nation Navy had prevented the Earth Kingdom and Water Tribe from assaulting the Fire Nation Capital until the latter stages of the war in 100 AG, when a small invasion force managed to slip through the capital's extensive defenses on the Day of Black Sun. Chief Hakoda of the Southern Water Tribe and his son Sokka led a small force drawn from the Southern Water Tribe, the Foggy Swamp Tribe, and the Earth Kingdom in an attempt to defeat the Fire Nation, while Avatar Aang attempted to locate Fire Lord Ozai in order to defeat him. The capital remained under Fire Nation control after the invasion failed, with almost all of the invading troops captured.
Several weeks later, the capital was the site of the Comet-Enhanced Agni Kai between Prince Zuko and Princess Azula for the Fire Nation throne. Azula was ultimately defeated by an intervening Katara, who used her waterbending to subdue the princess. Following the fall of his father, Zuko was subsequently crowned Fire Lord at the Coronation Plaza.
As the capital of the Fire Nation, the city is home to the administration of the nation, as well as its colonies during the war period. This relatively small administration is under the direct control of the Fire Lord and includes members such as the War Minister. The Fire Nation Capital is also home to the Fire Sages, which serve as the religious authorities of the Fire Nation.
Layout and description
The capital can be divided into several districts: the Royal Plaza, the Harbor City, and Royal Caldera City in the crater on the mountain's summit. Maps of the Capital also indicate two large urban neighborhoods in the hills north and south of the Harbor City.
First Lord’s Harbor
The harbor is large enough to hold twelve Empire-Class Fire Nation warships or numerous smaller ships at a time. The entrance to the harbor is sealed by a massive sea wall flanked by two large towers. Each tower is armed with ballistae powerful enough to fire harpoon bolts through reinforced steel, each attached to a motorized chain winch powerful enough to lift a multi-ton submarine out of the water. Several large underwater tidal culverts each protected by a rusty steel grate represent major vulnerabilities of the sea wall. The sheer stone walls of the harbor restrict movement bidirectionally, either back out through the sea gate or forward through the heavily fortified Royal Plaza.
- Main article: Royal Plaza
Located in the harbor, just below the Capital's Harbor City, the Royal Plaza is an impressive structure where Fire Nation Royalty hold inspiring rallies for the people of the Fire Nation. It is also the only way in or out of the city from the sea. If invaders somehow manage to get past the Fire Navy blockade, the Great Gates of Azulon, and the harbor's sea wall, they would have to contend with the defenses of the Royal Plaza. This plaza is a powerful setting representing the dominance of the Fire Nation, and as a natural choke point it serves as the main line of defense for the capital. Lined with numerous battlements with clear line of sight and various weapons, the Royal Plaza is one of the most heavily guarded places in the Fire Nation. The plaza is lined with facilities that hold numerous tundra tanks for additional defense. It is also home to a battle tower where speeches are held before armies. The base of the main tower has a significantly large garrison of elite domestic troops and features a narrow passageway through the walls that is the only means of access between the Royal Plaza and the rest of the capital. Ozai crowned himself Phoenix King at the Royal Plaza due to the forum's importance.
Located between the central volcano and the harbor, this district supplies refined metal to build tanks, warships, and weapons that help maintain the city's defenses. The industrial sector is also home to many criminals, as Zuko hired Combustion Man in this district.
Royal Caldera City
Located in a crater within a dormant volcano, Royal Caldera City is home to many of the Fire Nation's wealthiest and most important nobles, and many who do not reside in the capital full-time still maintain households here; Ukano had a home in this sector in which he resided until his promotion as Governor of New Ozai during the latter stages of the Hundred Year War. This area also houses the Fire Nation Royal Palace as well as the Fire Sages Capital Temple. Fire Nation commoners are not allowed to enter the city unless they receive an invitation from the Fire Lord, which are rarely issued. Due to limited space, many of the residences in Royal Caldera City are not as large as those in other parts of the Fire Nation; indeed, many nobles who keep a residence in the city often have more spacious estates elsewhere. As a result, many of the mansions in the caldera reflect considerably more vertical architectures in an attempt to maximize floorspace. Furthermore, competition to own property in the district promotes development of residences further up the spiky peaks lining the crater.
Fire Lord Sozin designed the pathway up to the crater to serve as an additional defense, creating a series of switchbacks that force traveling parties to proceed in single file. Sozin also heavily fortified the road with watchtowers and battlements every hundred yards, making it one of the most secured roads in the world. Additionally, the slope allows the domestic forces to retreat to higher ground from where they have a more desirable vantage point to rain fire and projectiles on approaching adversaries.
The Royal Caldera City is marked by several shining lakes, unofficially known as the Queen and Her Daughters. It is rumored that no ship is allowed to sail on them, although several lantern barges were seen sailing across in the preparations for the Festival of Szeto.
Fire Nation Royal Palace
- Main article: Fire Nation Royal Palace
At the very center of Royal Caldera City lies the Fire Nation Royal Palace, in which the Fire Lord and the Fire Nation Royal Family reside. The palace stands as the most recognizable structure in the Fire Nation, situated on a vast hill of rocky, barren scorched earth walled off from the remainder of the city and defended by the elite Royal Procession. Outside of the palace walls are several gardens and villas for use by the Fire Nation Royal Family, including the mansion in which Ozai and his family resided prior to the death of Fire Lord Azulon.
The Fire Lord presides over official business inside the throne room, characterized by an ornate throne seated on an elevated platform high above ground level. The chamber also serves as a war planning room, where the Fire Lord sits with his generals to privately discuss confidential battle operations and tactics. The imposing architecture of the throne room is designed to intimidate all who enter.
Another chamber in the upper floors of the palace holds a partly indoor Agni Kai arena complete with seating for large audiences. This arena is used to settle disputes involving the Fire Nation Royal Palace and Fire Nation nobility. The arena served as the site of the Agni Kai between Fire Lord Ozai and Zuko, which resulted in the latter's banishment from the Fire Nation.
- Main article: Royal Gallery
The Royal Gallery is a hallway containing tall, ornate family portraits of previous Fire Lords, including those of Ozai, Azulon, and Sozin. The gallery branches off to several different living quarters located within the enormous palace.
- Main article: Royal spa
The royal spa is the Fire Nation Royal Family's own private spa, which employs numerous handmaidens and servants. It was frequented by Azula during her father's reign as Fire Lord.
Located in a villa southwest from the actual palace, the palace garden is a place of relaxation and recreation for the Fire Nation Royal Family and their guests. The scenic gardens features many different flora, as well as a large central pond frequented by turtle ducks. When they were young, Prince Sozin and Avatar Roku used to practice firebending in the gardens. Princess Ursa also brought her children to play in the gardens, with Azula often inviting Mai and Ty Lee.
Garden of Tranquil Souls
The Garden of Tranquil Souls, known alternatively as the Royal Family Graveyard, serves as the burial grounds for deceased members of the Fire Nation Royal Family as well as high-ranking members of the Fire Lord's court. The grounds can only be accessed using a secret passageway located one a roof of the Fire Nation Royal Palace.
Coronation Temple and Plaza
The Coronation Temple and Plaza has been around for centuries. Located southeast of the palace near a lake, it is the ceremonial spot where the funerals of Fire Lords are held and their successors are crowned. It was here that Zuko interrupted Azula's coronation as Fire Lord and challenged her to an Agni Kai for the Fire Nation throne. The sibling's enhanced firebending damaged the building's surrounding the Coronation Temple and Plaza, but it was already restored by the time Zuko was crowned Fire Lord following the end of the Hundred Year War.
Capital City Prison
- Main article: Capital City Prison
The Capital City Prison is a large, fortified stone tower located inside a hollow volcanic crater northwest of the capital. The facility holds the Fire Nation's most high-profile prisoners, once having detained Iroh prior to his escape. After the failed invasion of the Fire Nation on the Day of Black Sun, the prison was also used to house most of the captured invaders. Warden Poon administrated the facility during the latter stages of the Hundred Year War. Ozai was incarcerated in the Capital City Prison following his defeat by Avatar Aang.
Fire Sages Temple
- Main article: Fire Sages Capital Temple
The Fire Sages Capital Temple is administrated by the Fire Sages, much like the facility on Crescent Island. Normally, Avatars native to the Fire Nation are taken to the temple prior to the start of their training in the other bending arts. The Dragonbone Catacombs lie beneath the facility and can be accessed by opening an entrance located in the temple's courtyard.
- Main article: Dragonbone Catacombs
The Dragonbone Catacombs are a series of chambers underneath the Fire Sages Capital Temple that primarily serve as the burial grounds of previous Fire Lords. It also features a series of murals depicting the history, myths, and legends of the Fire Nation, along with historical scrolls pertaining to specific points of the nation's past.
Deep within the city are a series of naturally-formed tunnels that wind beneath the Fire Nation Royal Palace. These tunnels lead to several secret, man-made bunkers, constructed during Fire Lord Sozin's reign. Lava pools and rivers provide natural obstacles to anyone brave and clever enough to enter the labyrinthine lair.
Fire Lord's bunker
Built by Fire Lord Sozin early in the Hundred Year War, the Fire Lord's bunker was constructed alongside other underground bunkers to protect the Fire Lord and important noblemen during attacks on the Fire Nation Capital. The rooms are isolated and well-hidden, and most are made of metal to prevent earthbenders from being able to penetrate them. However, through the use of metalbending, Toph Beifong was able to find the location of the Fire Lord's bunker with relative ease, which had remained undiscovered up to that point.
- Caldera means "boiler" in Spanish, which fits the Fire Nation's tropical temperatures.