|City nickname: "Silver Town, Villa Buena, Ασημούπολη, Άλτα Καλιφόρνια"|
| [[Image:|200px|Location of Asimoupoli, Alta California]]|
Location of Asimoupoli
|Mayor||Stathis Xylokopakis (Στάθης Ξυλοκοπάκης)|
| Area||17.567 sq mi km²|
- Total (as of 2010)
| 25,000 (metropolitan area)|
20,000 (city proper)
| Time zone|
- summer (DST)
| Pacific Time (UTC-8)|
Pacific Daylight Time (UTC-7)
Asimoupoli/Ασημούπολη (lit. "silver city" in Greek) is a mining town.
The town is unique in that most of its homes were painted sky-blue (or white and sky blue) to remind the miners and their families of home. The city had approximately 50,000 people in its heyday in the 1940's (almost all of whom were Greeks, but with a sprinkling of Native Americans, South Slavs, Albanians, Christian Arabs, and Irish), but as of 2015 there are only 25,000 residents, of which 20,000 are Greek. The city is now home to an honorary consulate-general of Greece as of 2012, which is a purely symbolic position usually held by an esteemed senior citizen from the area.
John W. Woolley and his colonist party were originally sent by Brigham Young to build homes near the mouth of what is now called Santa Bárbara Canyon among English speakers. This was to secure the route westward, should the Louisiannans turn on them as had the North American League. When Woolley and his party were recalled, many refused to return, and over the years descended to Ouaren Gough.
Woolley explored the land, and welcomed the first Greek settlers when they came through in about 1860. Interactions were peaceful for a time, but as Woolley and his band became more desperate, they turned on the Greeks. Much fighting continued, and Woolley and his band were driven off, and their town, Echo, was burned to the ground.
At a safe distance from the smoldering ashes of Echo, the town of Asimoupoli was thrived. Initially the new village (if you can even call it that) was only called the old name in the Greek language, "Iho" (Hχώ), but over time as the small settlement grew, the old Mormon name for the area was forgotten. Eventually, after the area got rich off of the silver (and copper, gold, and zinc) trade, the city was called "the City of Silver" by the Greeks—Asimoupolis.
In 1872, the largest mine in the area (but not the first) was discovered by a Cretan named Giorgios Kastanakis, a native of Saint George in the Lasithi Plateau of Crete. He had come to the area only three weeks prior by way of Rethymnon to Piraeus to Gibraltar to Nouvelle-Orléans. Giorgios would go on to operate one of the largest silver mines in the world by 1892, and Mr. Kastanakis put much of his mine's great wealth into the area. By 1911, he sold 49% of the shares of the Lasithi Mine to a company from Louisianne that would go on to be a founding member of the Louisianian mining conglomerate Resources Terrestres, S.A. (the other 51% was entrusted to his three sons and other loyal relatives & friends), and he peacefully died on his ranch in Rocheuses, Nouvelle Cournouaille, Louisianne.
Perhaps the greatest contribution Mr. Kastanakis made to the area was building the city's sturdy walls; locally quarried boulders and locally sourced timbers were used to build walls around the city nearly a meter thick. Bandits, revanchist Mormon-radicals, and Native Americans had made numerous raids throughout the decades, attracted by Asimoupoli's vast wealth, though at times their perceptions were fantastical. Folk tales tell of a city with silver streets. The walls built by Kastanakis would serve as a deterrent for decades to come. Indeed, during the worst of the fighting between Mormon dissidents and the government of Alta California, thousands of people from the surrounding zone took refuge inside these walls. After surviving the worst of the onslaught, the thankful people commissioned a great icon of the Theotokos of Vlahernitissa, a representation of the Virgin Mary who is credited with keeping the walls of the city of Constantinople steady during an onslaught from the Persians, Avars, and Slavs in the year 626 AD. A small chapel was added to the inner wall by the main entrance, and every year the Panagia Blachernitissa is commemorated.
At first, life in this small mining colony was rough and only attracted the most adventurous of Greeks, mostly relatives of the Kastanakis family. However, after numerous accident-related deaths in the field, the men of the town (if a tent settlement can even be call that) required a priest not only as a spiritual guide, but as someone to administer last rites to the deceased and guarantee them a proper burial. Soon, after tensions between these newcomer Greeks and the nearby Mormons, Louisianans, and Californios calmed down, the miners sent for their wives and children to settle in this new land, especially after the defeat of Greece in the Second Great War (before this time, many Greeks would return to their homeland or would go back and forth, especially to enlist in the military in times of war). Likewise, men came not to mine, but to open shops to cater to the miners, who in turn brought their own families. Almost all of the Greeks of this area hail from inland Crete; who else could withstand such hot summers and cold winters? As such, the accent, architecture, and cuisine of the region is distinctly Cretan. This pattern of young, single men trailblazers who attracted their countrymen after paving the way played out in subsequent immigrations of the Albanians and Lebanese.
The city of Asimoupoli enjoys a great relationship with nearby Louisianne, partially because all Greeks had come to Alta California from there, and because most goods brought in and sent out either start or end up in the neighboring country. Because of this old relationship, many people believe that they would be better off under Louisiannan rule, and one would be hard pressed to hear English and even less so Castilian. The next language after Greek is Francien, followed by the Ute Native American language, Albanian, Arabic, Dalmatian, Gaeilg, and then English and Castilian. The schools of the area all instructed students in Greek with Francien as a foreign language. It was only until a rapprochement with the government in San Diego that Castilian was to be taught side-by-side with Greek in schools, but when the government did not send any Castilian-language teachers as promised, the program in the local high school never started. A second attempt to bring Castilian-language teachers to Asimoupoli has recently been discussed in San Diego, but has not yet borne fruit.
Until recently, the silver and zinc had been mined illicitly, unfettered by the Alta Californian government. Now, it is appropriately taxed, and the miners, all of Greek extraction are more than happy to have local tranquility in exchange for a tax on the goods they extract from the earth. Most of this is taken by a private train-line through to Louisianne, and most often ends up being sold to the Greek government. This line has been in continuous use since the Greeks arrived in the late 1890s, but there have been many repairs made throughout the years, and many skirmishes with banditos, including Ouaren Gough and his followers.
The proposed routing for the transcontinental TGV would put Asimoupoli on the path of the route, and it is expected that this will cause growth in the already bustling town.
To better feed the miners and the citizens, it has been suggested that a rail-line be extended through the San Egidio Valley, along the course of the Rio de Santa Ana, and down to Mosida and Galilea, possibly including a branch to connect San Fruitos, as well.
The city is home to five Orthodox churches:
- Saint John's is the oldest and smallest. Liturgy is celebrated here in Greek and with certain parts in Ute.
- St. Demetrios is the largest and home to the diocesan bishop. Liturgy is celebrated here in Greek and Castilian plus Modern Standard Arabic, Francien, Albanian, Dalmatian, English, and Ute whenever possible.
- Saint Titos (reflecting the Cretan element of the locals) is technically the oldest building having been converted from an abandoned mission church built by the Alta Californians, however, as it was converted after remaining derelict for 15 years after they left, it's considered the second oldest Greek church. Liturgy is only celebrated here in Greek.
- Saint Katherine of Alexandria mostly caters to the Lebanese members of the community and celebrates Divine Liturgy in a mixture of Koine Greek, Modern Standard Arabic, and Francien.
- The Church of the Annunciation mostly caters to the Albanians and Orthodox Dalmato-Californians of the community and celebrates Divine Liturgy in Liturgical Greek and modern Albanian with Dalmatian on occassion, much to the consternation of the local Catholic community.
- The chapel of Panagia Vlachernitissa only houses liturgical celebrations during special holidays and feast days.
There is also a small Catholic church in the west side of the town, San Luis. The church building proper, while small, is home to a very vibrant parish. The only Catholics of the town are the Irish, Ute Indians (although some have converted to Orthodoxy), and Dalmatians (the first wave of Dalmatians did not get a church in time and most had melded into the Orthodox parish of St. John before the next wave from Dalmatia got there). Each group has their own distinctive rite (Cambrian, Isidorian, and Byzantine respectively), so it was impossible to only have one priest administer to the community. After a few years after its founding in 1919, the Californian priest was thrown out and each community wrote to parishes in the NAL, Louisianne, and Mejico respectively for assistance. The Irish in Ter Mair sent a priest, the Dalmatians sent their own from New Orleans, and the Patriarchate of the West Indies made sure to find an Isidorian Rite priest who could speak Ute. These three groups each share the building and have contributed what each would need to worship according to their rites. The whitewashed church thus has an iconostasis and faces east for the Dalmatians but is otherwise built in a western style for the Irish and Ute. Each Saturday evening is started with Divine Liturgy by a Cambrian Rite priest in Gaeilg, Sunday morning is started with Holy Mass in mixed Latin and Ute for the Native Americans, and finally at 10:45 the Dalmatians celebrate Divine Liturgy in Dalmatian and Albanian (an aim to return any formerly-Catholic Albanians into the fold). This parish is unique in the area, and perhaps in the world.
LDS/SDJ and Protestant
There is also one small parish for the Mormons located immediately outside the city walls, which caters to English speakers and Ute speakers, as well as one in nearby Parleyville which caters to the Italian community, whose ancestors arrived in the area in the 1880's and '90's. There is also a Protestant church that caters to a predominantly English-speaking community that settled in the area only very recently, attracted by the town's safety and wealth. The Mormon parish hosts classes on ending alcohol dependence, a much needed program in the area where miners turn to alcohol during their lonely and dangerous careers.
Representations in Fiction
Asimoupoli serves as one of the major settings of the comic The Fox (published under different names in the different languages of Lago Grande, Louisianne, and the NAL-SLC.