The Fire Nation Capital, also known as Capital City or Imperial 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 First Lord's Harbor; Harbor City, a large district consisting of industrial areas and the homes of mostly lower-class people; and Hari Bulkan, also known as 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, 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.
Avatar Kuruk first met his companion Hei-Ran in First Lord's Harbor. Almost immediately, he made his feelings known to her, but the firebender coldly shut him down, which Jianzhu and Kelsang laughed about. Privately, Hei-Ran clarified to Kuruk that romance was only forbidden while they were on duty.
In 295 BG, Avatar Kyoshi traveled to the Fire Nation Capital to celebrate the Festival of Szeto at the palace. After Yun's vicious attack on the palace, the entire capital was locked down. After Fire Lord Zoryu produced a double of Yun who confessed to conspiring with the Saowon clan, a purge of the clan began in the capital.
During the early reign of Fire Lord Sozin, the Fire Nation Capital hosted the Four Nations Summit & Technological Symposium, where academics from all four nations sought to present different technological innovations from their nations. Unfortunately, diplomatic tensions began to rise after crates of valuable meteorite ore were stolen. Minister Khuchtei was enraged at the theft of the Fire Nation's resources, though Taqukaq of the Northern Water Tribe contacted Bo, Chegu, Ema, Sherab, and Norbu, who had been sent by the Southern Air Temple to maintain peace at Avatar Roku's request, and trusted them to bring a peaceful resolution to the crisis.
The powerful Fire 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 Hari Bulkan 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 First Lord's 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 chokepoint, it serves as the main line of defense for the capital. Lined with numerous battlements with a 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, Harbor City houses much of the capital's population. Most of the capital's commoners live there. It is a much less prestigious area than Hari Bulkan, and living in Harbor City consequently entails a stigma as it conveys a lesser social status. Fire Nationals who have managed to rise in the ranks or gain great wealth accordingly often move their homes from Harbor City to Hari Bulkan. Harbor City is a sprawling settlement extending into the hills and consists of residential as well as industrial districts. Harbor City's industry supplies refined metal to build tanks, warships, and weapons that help maintain the city's defenses. In the west of Harbor City, one can find the large Zoryu Park, where the capital's inhabitants often spend their free time.
Harbor City is also home to many criminals. By the late Hundred Year War, it was dominated by the Burning Ember Gang, and Zuko also hired Combustion Man there. In contrast, Zoryu Park was the traditional turf of the Fire Finches, a gang of street children who operated as pickpockets and tricksters.
Located in a crater within a dormant volcanic crater, Hari Bulkan, also known as 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 High Temple and the Coronation Temple and Plaza. 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 Hari Bulkan 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.
Caldera City used to be protected with a group of stone watchtowers and bunkers built into the lip of the dead volcano, but after ascending to the throne, Fire Lord Sozin designed a 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.
Hari Bulkan is marked by several shining lakes, unofficially known as the Queen and Her Daughters outside the Fire Nation. 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 Lord Izumi and many of her officials currently plan to invite the other nations to establish embassies within Hari Bulkan to continue fostering peaceful and cooperative relations with the rest of the world.
Fire Nation Royal Palace
- Main article: Fire Nation Royal Palace
At the very center of Hari Bulkan 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 main gates of the palace walls lead to an iron passageway that is lit with torches, and guarded with a troop of firebenders that situated on the other sides of the walls, which is full of small holes. The floor of the passageway is hollow that can be opened with a lever, allowing the defenders to drop their passengers down. The passageway leads to the palace garden.
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 feature much 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 on a roof of the Fire Nation Royal Palace.
Coronation Temple and Plaza
The Coronation Temple and Plaza have 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.
- Main article: Zoryu Hall
Zoryu Hall is a part-school, part-meeting hall, and part-auditorium located in eastern Hari Bulkan. Named after Fire Lord Zoryu, it is dominated by a a giant lecture hall, though also has a full assortment of smaller rooms for meetings and classes.
- Main article: Tako Dormitory
Tako Dormitory is a dormitory located in eastern Hari Bulkan. It is a square three-level building with a lush garden in the center. Due to its proximity to Zoryu Hall, it has been used to temporarily lodge visitors staying for large academic conferences.
- Main article: Summit Storehouse
The Summit Storehouse, or simply called the storehouse, is a single-story structure in Hari Bulkan destined to store the various supplies, equipment, exhibits, and other items of each nation's delegations for the Four Nations Summit & Technological Symposium.
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: High Temple
The High 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 High 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.
Royal Fire Academy for Girls
- Main article: Royal Fire Academy for Girls
The Royal Fire Academy for Girls is a prestigious military academy educating female youths in combat and strategy. The school is renowned and elite, as enrollment is exclusive to the daughters of Fire Nation nobility.
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. This network of tunnels has been used to conduct secret operations.
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 seismic sense and 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.
- Harí Bulkán translates to "king volcano" in Filipino.