The city of Achrida lies on the western shore of Lake Achrida in the Empire of Makhaira, nestled among the cliffs and steep slopes that normally line the lake. It is the capitol of the Imperial province of Dassaretum.
Achrida is blessed with a wonderful strategic position. It is one of the few convenient places on Lake Achrida where a port could be built. Since Lake Achrida is the westernmost of a series of lakes connected by canals and rivers that go hundreds of miles to the east, it is a terminal point for trade crossing those lakes. Also, it is located at the closest convenient spot for a road leading from Basilopolis to Periaslavl, the Kreisens, Svellheim, and the Seven Kingdoms, especially since passes to the north and south make the terrain more accessible than in many places in the area. In other words, Achrida's prominent position on two major trade routes means it has become a wealthy and prosperous trading center.
Because of its strategic position, it began as a hillfort that was expanded in time to become the current Samiel's Castle. It remains one of the more powerful fortresses in the Empire. Beneath the castle is a series of salt mines that now serve as the Archives of Achrida, one of several repositories of the Empire.
Geographically, it slopes down from a series of ridges to the west, each getting progressively smaller as they slope down to the lake. Ridges to the north and south project into the city along the shoreline. Several small small streams feed down into the lake through the city.
The city has two main gates. The northern gate, called either Northgate or Upper Gate, leads to the North Road and all the northern countries. Once inside the city, that road becomes the Trade Road, which leads down to the other major gate, Southgate or Lower Gate. Eventually, that road leads to Basilopolis. The walls to the west, which are generally superfluous given the difficult terrain of the mountain ridges on that side, are perforated with small gates here and there as the city burrowed into the small spaces in those ridges.
Trade Road is the most important road in Achrida. It bisects the city north to south, and many of Achrida's most important locations lie along that route. For example, the Imperial building, home to both the governor of Dassaretum province and the Imperial bureaucracy in the city, lies along the Trade Road at Heartsquare.
The city is filled with shrines and chapels. It is reputed to have a different place to pray for each day of the year and more. While no one has an actual count of the gods and godlings worshiped in Achrida, the prevalence of religious buildings suggests the reputation might be true. Two of the most important deities worshiped here are Naum and Panteleimon.
Two tribes form the bulk of the population, the Enchelei and the Dassaretae. Even before the foundation of Achrida, these two tribes competed in the area. This competition continues to this day, and most of the population has some level of affiliation with one or the other tribe. Theoretically, the city is governed by the Imperial governor of Dassartae, but in practice, the rulers of the Enchelei and Dassaretae, known as zupans, are the actual rulers.