Sharon Bayliss is hosting the Worldbuilding Blogfest from 28 January through 1 February. Everyone who signs up and completes at least one post on the various topics will be entered to win one of the following:
A full manuscript critique from Sharon will be given to the writer of the best excerpt demonstrating worldbuilding on the final day of the blogfest.
The topic for the first day is geography and climate. Posts can include pictures, drawings, weather reports, description of flora and fauna, sightseeing guides, maps, etc.
My current WIP is my third Russian historical novel, which spans 15 years (1933-48) and 3 continents (North America, Europe, Asia). Settings include Minnesota, Manhattan, Moskvá, Minsk, Kyiv, Poland, Kutaisi (Georgia), Armenia, Isfahan (Persia), Shanghai, Toronto, France, Germany, Bulun (Siberia), and Sweden. I’m now hovering a bit under the 200,000-word mark, and my guesstimate for the final length is 450,000 words.
Since I’m in the thick of my Soviet chapters during the Great Terror, and now starting the stories of the former orphanage girls from Transcaucasia, now adults, who have since been repatriated, I’m going to focus on Kutaisi, Georgia.
Rabble-rouser Alina Petropashvili finally realized her dream of coming home in April of 1927, shortly before her 19th birthday, and left Kyiv for Kutaisi, Georgia’s second-largest city. She’s happily lived there for a decade, but won’t for much longer. Her unjustly imprisoned husband Amiran Koridze has ordered her to escape to Isfahan, Persia (which has a large, historic Georgian community) to save her life, and says he’ll come find her when he’s out of prison. Amiran doesn’t know that she’s finally pregnant with their first child after ten childless years.
Kutaisi was the home of many Georgian rulers throughout history. One of the city’s landmarks is the Bagrati Cathedral on Ukimerioni Hill. It was built during the early 11th century, during King Bagrat III’s reign. In 1692, it was blown up by the invading Ottomans, but the ruins have remained as a central landmark of this ancient city.
Another nearby landmark is the Gelati Monastery, which contains the Church of the Virgin, the Church of St. George, and the Church of St. Nicholas. Many ancient manuscripts and murals are preserved there, and it once had an Academy that was home to many of Georgia’s greatest writers, scientists, philosophers, and theologians.
The ruins of Geguti Palace are another landmark beacon of Kutaisi. The city also contains Sataplia Cave, which has dinosaur footprints; the Meskhisvili Drama Theatre; three synagogues on Gaponov Street, part of the city’s historic Jewish neighborhood; Motsameta Church; and the Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. It’s also believed that Kutaisi was home to the Golden Fleece stolen by Jason.
Kutaisi is situated on the banks of the Rioni River, and bordered by the Northern Imereti Foothills, the Colchis Plain, the Samgurali Plain, and many deciduous forests. The city has a humid, subtropical climate, and because of all the nearby mountains, rain can be expected in any month. It’s also very windy, and snow can be wet and heavy.
These are public domain pictures. I only wish I’d been to Georgia. It’s kind of embarrassing that a Sagittarius, the traveler of the Zodiac, has only been to one foreign country t0 date (three trips to Israel), plus an emergency middle of the night landing in Vienna. Someday I do intend to finally visit all these countries I’ve wanted to visit for so long, and make up for lost time.
By the banks of the River Rioni.
The Ukimerioni Fortress ruins.
The Gelati Monastery.
The main synagogue of Kutaisi, the only shul in the city that’s still in use today.
The ruins of the Bagrati Cathedral, as they would’ve appeared in 1937. In the early 21st century, the cathedral has been renovated and restored.