Gijirokastra

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Gijirokastra
Federal City
Skyline of Gijirokastra
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Location ofGijirokastra in Luziyca
Location ofGijirokastra in Luziyca
Country  Luziyca
Federal City
State
Federal City of Gijirokastra
Gijirokastra
Founded 1955
Government
 • Mayor Adam Rybakseen
Population (2015)
 • Federal City 13,248,581
 • Rank 2nd in Luziyca
 • Urban 13,248,581
 • Metro 35,040,000
Time zone GMT-8 (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) -7 (UTC-7)
Area code(s) 01

Gijirokastra is the largest city of Luziyca and until 1990 was known as Erov Haclav City. Prior to 1945, it was a small port city of little significance, which was founded in 1514. In 1945, it was razed and a planned city by Laurent Orpik was designed and put into place, completed in 1955 as the capital, before in 1972, it also became the largest city in West Luziyca and surpassing Yerevan. From 1955 to 1991, it was the capital of West Luziyca before it reunified with East Luziyca.

History

Gijirokastra clock tower in 1988

For many years, Gijirokastra was a small port town which was insignificant: Semprihevosk had been more dominant in the Chadan Bay, while Gijirokastra was insignificant. After the 1870s, Gijriokastra began slowly growing and in 1888, with 6,150 people, the State Government of Gijirokastra (the capital in Donskoy at the time) declared it a city. By 1920, it had 13,000 people and was a minor port city. However, after the communists took power in 1935, it fell in West Luziyca and by the late 1930s, a site for a new capital was found. Thus, in 1941, the government provided incentives for the 20,000 people to leave and move elsewhere: many moved to Semprihevosk, but a few thousand stayed put. By 1945, they were forcefully evacuated and almost all of the city save for a small clock tower was razed to the ground. It was designated off-limits and only construction workers were authorized to enter.

Construction

In 1944, an international design competition was chosen to design the new capital city of West Luziyca to replace Yerevan (shared between capital of West Luziyca and thus, Luziycan SR, and the Arazei SR). Quebecois Laurent Orpik won the competition and by 1945 after razing of the port city, construction began. It was slated to be completed in 1955, and had a lot of grand buildings, from the Palace of the Supreme People's Assembly (today Gijirokastra State Legislature and City Hall), to the Erov Haclav University (today Gijirokastra University and Polytechnic).

Wide avenues were envisioned, each to divide a chunk of the large area into microdistricts with smaller roads within, and monumentalism was the key aspect. In the heart was Foreman's Square, with the Supreme People's Assembly at one end of the square, with lots of magnificent housing and offices surrounding it, as well some stores, notably People's Department Store No. 1.

The avenue of which the Supreme People's Assembly was on, the February 7th Boulevard was meant to be the main center of government activity, with many ministries being housed there and all embassies were along the avenue.

By 1950, some microdistricts were completed and opened to people to live there, mainly construction workers and their families (until then, they lived in tents or in incomplete hulks), as well as some government officials including Erov Haclav himself. By 1955, the city was completed and on May 1, 1955, Erov Haclav declared the capital to be at Erov Haclav City, officially moving from Yerevan to this planned city. The metro system opened on that day.

Communism

Palace of the Supreme People's Assembly from 1955 to 1990, Congressional Palace from 1990 to 1991, State Legislative and Municipal Hall from 1991 to the present as seen in 1980

With Erov Haclav City set up and designed to house 3 million people, population grew rapidly. By 1960, it became the second-largest city, displacing Semprihevosk with 5 million and urban expansion quickly was underway to increase housing. By 1975, it became the largest at seven million and kept on rising.

During that time, Erov Haclav City was a major political, cultural and economic center. While Yerevan continued to get more trade, Erov Haclav City maneuvered itself to become an economic center due to political influence. Cultural life flourished as state propaganda encouraged the development of a socialist culture. The political center was due to extensive centralization and thus, it had a higher standard of living than much of the rest of West Luziyca. There was some medium and heavy industry, but it was mainly a service economy.

However, by the 1980s as living standards declined, corruption increased and a stronger cult of personality around Erov Haclav and more monumentalism occurred with larger buildings on neo-Stalinist lines. By the downfall of communism in 1989, many viewed it as a once-great city and that when it falls, it will become a large ghost town since it was only held together by the fact that much of central government was concentrated in Luziyca.

Present-day

After the downfall, the city began a rapid makeover. On January 3, 1990 after Adam Chernenko repealed many regulations, the Gijirokastra Stock Exchange was set up. On February 1, 1990, it was renamed Gijirokastra after the town that once existed on the site.

After the only free and fair elections in West Luziyca were held in November 1990, Gijirokastra was the capital of the short-lived Republic of West Luziyca before reuniting with East Luziyca in 1991. Rapid reconstruction occurred and demolition of many micro-districts, especially in the urban centers occurred and replacing them with modern condos, apartments and office buildings, at the cost of creating a massive homeless population.

During the 1990s, Gijirokastra was the center of the dot-com boom and the Chadan Bay area was seen as a "Silicon Bay" due to the heavy concentration of technological companies. After the dot-com bubble burst in 2001 (after peaking in 2000), many technological start-ups went belly up, but by 2005, the recession ended with an influx of new businesses.

However, in 2008, an economic crisis due to a housing bubble bursting caused many businesses to close and the stock exchange fell. By 2010, the economy there began recovering, and it is today prosperous.

Culture

Due to how recently it became a major city, it doesn't have a lot of culture of its own, but despite that, it is home to lots of theaters, museums, and art galleries.

Architecture

Being a new city, little of the old village remains due to it being mostly razed by Erov Haclav's regime when setting a new capital. Thus, for a long time, it was dominated social realism, but since 1990, modernist and international architecture have replaced them. Older structures are being torn down to make way for trendy new developments.

Education

Gijirokastra has two school systems: the Gijirokastra Public Schools, with 2,502 schools, of which 1,905 are primary schools (K-8), 527 are secondary schools, 28 magnet schools and 42 special education schools, serving 1.7 million students, making it the largest school division in Luziyca. The other is the Gijirokastra Catholic School with 1,042 schools: 800 primary schools, 240 secondary schools, a magnet school (to encourage children the Lutheran Catholic priesthood) and ten special education schools, with only 0.6 million students attending.

For higher education, it has the Gijirokastra Polytechnic and the Gijirokastra University, both being private.

Transport

Gijirokastra is served by Central Station, connecting it to Bethlehem, Yerevan, and Jerusalem. It also is at the western end of Highway 1, with its official end at the intersection with State Highway 3 at the harbor (forming a ring road around the Gijirokastra Metropolitan Area).

It is also served by the Gijirokastra Transport Authority with 35 bus routes and three subway lines in the Gijirokastra Metro which since 1995 is the only subway system in Luziyca.