Gaoling is a large town located within a mountain range in the State of Gaoling, southern Earth Kingdom. An old and well-established town, Gaoling has a broad spectrum of citizens, ranging from the very rich, such as the Beifong family, to the very poor. It was also the location of the Earth Rumble tournament.
The town was untouched by the Hundred Year War. However, following Earth Queen Hou-Ting's death and the fragmentation of the Earth Kingdom in 171 AG, Gaoling became the center of the State of Gaoling. It subsequently fell under the control of the Earth Empire, and following the latter's collapse, was chosen as the location of the first democratic elections in the Earth Kingdom.
Aang, Katara, and Sokka visited this town in the spring of 100 AG and attended an Earth Rumble tournament hoping to find an earthbending master for Aang. The search was successful, and Toph Beifong joined the group to teach the Avatar earthbending, defying her father and mother's wishes by doing so. In the decades after the Hundred Year War, the town grew in size, becoming more sprawling and built up.
After the fragmentation of the Earth Kingdom in 171 AG, Gaoling became the capital of its own state. Sometime before 174 AG, Gaoling was annexed by Kuvira and became part of her self-declared Earth Empire. Following Kuvira's surrender in 174 AG, the State of Gaoling was chosen by King Wu to host the first democratic elections in the Earth Kingdom. Mayor Rhee consequently prepared Gaoling town for the democratic transition, and voting booths were set up in the City Hall.
The town was visited by Wu and Team Avatar in 174 AG to oversee the elections and prevent an Earth Empire holdout under Commander Guan from interfering. Shortly after their arrival, Guan's forces marched into the town, resulting in a tense standoff until the Earth Empire commander revealed that he was there to announce his candidacy for the upcoming gubernatorial election. This developed into a major crisis. In secret, Guan brainwashed many Gaoling natives; the victims consequently paraded through the town, proclaiming their loyalty to the Earth Empire and mass voting for the commander, granting him an overwhelming election vitory. However, his deeds were exposed and the Earth Empire remnant disbanded through the intervention of Team Avatar, Kuvira, and the Beifong family. Guan's victims were treated Gaoling's City Hall, and Wu later held a speech at the town.
Layout and description
Gaoling lies in a valley surrounded by steep, rocky hillsides, and is located near the Foggy Swamp. Most of Gaoling's residents are middle-class people whose families have lived in the town for many generations. The center of the village features a bustling marketplace with ornately decorated buildings. The area serves as the village's center of commerce, and as such, it is filled with merchants, barkers, and shoppers. On the outskirts of the settlement are large, expansive estates where the wealthiest families, such as the Beifongs, live.
Master Yu's Earthbending Academy
- Main article: Master Yu's Earthbending Academy
Built by Master Yu as a school for his students, the Earthbending Academy is a large building with a walled central courtyard. Before each class, Master Yu placed different sized rocks in the courtyard to be used by the students to practice earthbending. This large courtyard is an ideal place for the young earthbenders to train, as here, they can sling rocks around without accidentally hurting any passersby.
The Beifong Estate is a large home owned by one of the richest families in the southern Earth Kingdom. The estate is surrounded by a large garden, with a symbol of a flying boar over the front gate. It is guarded by at least two guards whose uniforms are similar to an earthbending soldier's, save that they are colored with white and green instead of the usual green and brown.
Earth Rumble stadium
A large underground wrestling stadium, known as Earth Rumble VI, is owned by its host, Xin Fu. It consists of a large rectangular stone platform on which earthbenders battle. Surrounding this are rows of seats in which spectators may sit, though many seating areas are dangerous due to the rocks that are occasionally hurled into the audience. The rest of the stadium is lit with glowing green gemstones hanging on the ceiling. Residents pay admission to see powerful earthbending masters fight in a ring for the title of champion.
- In the Avatar world, Gaoling is located in the south, which coincidentally suits Toph's knowledge of Chu Gar Southern Praying Mantis Kung Fu.
- The clothing and hairstyles in Gaoling resemble those of the Tang Dynasty of ancient China.
- The name Gaoling is written as in Chinese; the word translates as "high", while translates as "mausoleum".
- This page about Gaoling was used as reference point in the draft of Ruins of the Empire Part One.