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Republic City is home to a variety of iconic landmarks. These include a monumental statue of Avatar Aang in Yue Bay, a spacious city park, many suspension bridges, and skyscrapers. The police force utilizes metalbending for civil law enforcement. Pro-bending is the city's most popular form of sporting.
During the time of Avatar Korra, Republic City faced high levels of crime and civil unrest. Several major events which occurred in the city during Korra's time include the Anti-bending Revolution led by the Equalists, the assault of the Dark Avatar, which created an enclave of Spirit Wilds within the city, and the invasion by the Earth Empire, which devastated the area of the Spirit Wilds and the surrounding cityscape. Most notably, the invasion also resulted in the creation of a spirit portal within the ruined remains of the downtown district.
In the aftermath of the Hundred Year War, Team Avatar, led by Avatar Aang and Fire Lord Zuko, came to an agreement with Earth King Kuei on the establishment of the Harmony Restoration Movement, which would return the Fire Nation colonies to the jurisdiction of the Earth Kingdom. One of the procedures of this action was the relocation of Fire Nation citizens from the foreign settlements they had created over the past century. This order of removal had negative demographic consequences not considered by any of the parties to the agreement. A year into the operation of the movement, Zuko withdrew his support after being accused of being a traitor by his own people, precipitating a confrontation with his friend, Avatar Aang.
After a narrow avoidance of war, Aang and Zuko eventually resolved this impasse by not removing the Fire Nation colonies, but regulating the balance of power by creating a fifth nation separate from the original four. This new nation would be a society open to anyone from the four nations to reside in and be governed by a council with representatives from each of the four nations. They named this unique sovereignty the United Republic of Nations and established Republic City as its capital, situating it in a valley in the northwestern Earth Kingdom.
With the resources of all four nations, Republic City rapidly developed into a metropolis within a few decades. Despite being a city directly established for political considerations rather than an evolution of an original settlement, its population and sophistication increased beyond reasonable expectations, causing the number of vagabonds around Republic City to grow.
Despite its prosperity, the city often faced internal strife. Around 128 AG, the crime boss Yakone used the outlawed ability of bloodbending to terrorize the city, but was eventually tried by the United Republic Council and dealt with by Avatar Aang after his attempted escape from punishment.
By 170 AG, Republic City began to experience demographic and political problems as a direct consequence of its nature as a large city. Organized crime became rampant and the Anti-bending Revolution commenced as a result of growing inequality between benders and nonbenders. During the revolution, Amon and the Equalists threatened the city and its benders, eventually using a fleet of airships to bomb the city in an attempt to gain control. Following the abduction of all Council members and the destruction of the United Forces' First Division during the resulting battle, the Equalist forces assumed control of Republic City. However, due to Team Avatar's continued effort in the war, the Equalist forces were soon crushed and Amon's true identity as a bender was revealed. These events eradicated the morale of the revolution's combatants, resulting in a ceasefire and eventually ending the Equalist rule in Republic City.
In the aftermath of the revolution, it was determined that the former parliamentary political system was flawed due to the failure of the Council in representing the interests of the majority. The government underwent a major reform, in which the United Republic Council was dissolved and an elected president was placed at the head of the Republic City government.
However, in light of the Equalists' defeat, the bending triads resumed their usual criminal activities, forcing the Republic City Police Department to deal with them once more.
As the Water Tribe Civil War ignited, news of it reached Republic City and tensions grew between the Northern and Southern residents of the city. The Southerners held a peace march outside their cultural center, supported by Avatar Korra, while the event was being deplored by Northerners supporting Chief Unalaq. The same night, the Agni Kai Triad bombed the cultural center, though many, including the Avatar, assumed the Northerners to be responsible.
On the night of Harmonic Convergence, the city came under attack by the Dark Avatar, a fusion of Unalaq and Vaatu. The United Forces attempted to drive him off, but their attacks proved ineffective, and they were quickly defeated by a massive display of waterbending. Unalaq proceeded to destroy the city, toppling Aang's statue before infesting the metropolis with vegetation. Republic City was spared destruction when an astral projection of Avatar Korra intervened and managed to purify and destroy the Dark Avatar.
As a result of Korra leaving the spirit portals opened, Spirit Wilds began to overtake the city, thoroughly disrupting city life by forcing many people out of their homes, tampering with the public water service, and blocking several streets. For two weeks, Korra attempted unsuccessfully to remove the vines from the buildings and streets; when agitated, they simply regenerated quicker and stronger than before. She soon came to the conclusion that the spirits and vines should stay in their place; as a result, President Raiko ordered her to leave the city. A few weeks later, in the face of the threat posed by the Red Lotus, Raiko welcomed the Avatar, debilitated by injury, back to the city.
171 - 173 AG
In the three years following the Harmonic Convergence and the Red Lotus insurrection, Republic City began to grow accustomed to the Spirit Wilds. It eventually became a cultural tourist attraction of sorts where both the people and spirits coexisted harmoniously. Republic City Park was renamed Avatar Korra Park in honor of Korra and with the help of Asami Sato and Future Industries, Central City Station was modernized to link the city with the Earth Kingdom. With the spirit vines overgrowing many of the city's buildings and roads, the city's infrastructure underwent several changes to accommodate to this new landscape; as such, Future Industries built several elevated roads to circumvent the vines.
Feeling threatened by Kuvira's Earth Empire, President Raiko fortified the borders of the United Republic and ordered his troops to guard the rail lines into Republic City. He also agreed with Wu to start evacuating the city, entrusting the royal with coordinating the effort together with the police force. Considering it was a voluntary evacuation, it was initially going slow, with only eighteen families responding to the request. However, when Raiko made the evacuation mandatory due to Kuvira's imminent attack on the city, the citizens flocked to Central City Station and other transportation hubs to leave the metropolis. Although Mako initially created a panic by confusing the people with his evacuation instructions out of the manual, Prince Wu managed to calm everyone down and coordinate the exodus in an organized manner with Pema's help.
A week later, Kuvira and her army arrived at the city that was now largely deserted. When President Raiko ordered her to retreat, Kuvira demonstrated the power of her spirit energy cannon by destroying the United Forces' battleships, which prompted the president to surrender the city to her rule. However, before Raiko could officially turn over Republic City, Team Avatar intervened and kidnapped Baatar Jr., who was on his way to present Raiko with the Earth Empire's terms. Kuvira later blew up a Future Industries factory in an attempt to take out Korra, before marching her army into the city. Much of the city was devastated during Team Avatar and their allies' final battle against Kuvira
When Kuvira attempted to use her discarded cannon in a last-ditch attempt to kill Korra, the weapon inadvertently began absorbing energy from all of Republic City's spirit vines, and the sudden influx of energy caused the weapon to spin out of control. Korra managed to stop the weapon and the resulting reaction created an explosion that devastated the surrounding area and created a new spirit portal, allowing spirits to return to the area. When Korra and Kuvira emerged from the portal, the latter ordered her forces to stand down and surrendered to face justice for her crimes, restoring Republic City's autonomy. In the aftermath of the battle, Raiko and Tenzin agreed to expand Republic City rather than reconstruct the downtown area.
In contrast to the other major cities of the world, Republic City is a true metropolitan urban center. The city has developed the architectural and technological sophistication to construct taller buildings, resulting in significant high-rise development. Stylistically, the city generally incorporates traditional ornamentation with far more advanced structural techniques, such as the design of City Hall and the Pro-bending Arena. Despite this, there are still landmarks built entirely in a traditional style, such as Air Temple Island. Beneath the city there is an extensive tunnel network. The metropolitan area is divided into many boroughs.
The bustling center of the city, downtown, is reminiscent of all the different elemental bending traditions in both its architecture and its population. In downtown Republic City, tall, well-crafted buildings line the cobblestone streets, and a railroad track sits elevated above the roadway, offering transportation to those wishing to explore the city. This sector is representative of a cultural melting pot of shops and stands featuring goods from all three nations. It is the political, economic, and cultural center of Republic City, protected by a massive police presence operating from their headquarters and airships. Despite this security, downtown suffers from organized crime as much as the remainder of Republic City. The Triple Threat Triad, the largest bending triad of the whole city, claims the downtown area is their turf and runs protection rackets throughout it.
Avatar Korra Park
- Main article: Avatar Korra Park
Located in the city's central peninsula, Avatar Korra Park, formerly known as Republic City Park, is landscaped with small hills, deciduous trees shading impeccably kept grass, and fine stone arch bridges. Due to the poverty of a large number of Republic City citizens, the city park has also become a place popular with vagabonds such as Gommu, whom Korra met soon after her initial arrival in the city. Fishing in the ponds here is strictly prohibited by the park officials, who patrol it to ensure that all civilians bide by this rule.
- Main article: City Hall
City Hall is a center for governance in Republic City, and secondarily a venue for public press conferences and gatherings, which are held at the large square before its front entrance. It is here that Avatar Korra made her first official appearance to the city's inhabitants. While the building has an entrance typical of traditional architecture from the Earth Kingdom or Fire Nation, certain distinctive features, including the large dome and four spires at the corners, are derived from a new style developed after the Hundred Year War.
- Main article: Kwong's Cuisine
- Main article: Police headquarters
The police headquarters, often referred to simply as "Headquarters", is the base of operations for the metalbending police, and also where apprehended criminals are booked and jailed. The architecture of the police headquarters is comparable to that of standard Earth Kingdom buildings, with both the exterior and the interior being largely geometrical in design. Headquarters is overseen by Chief Lin Beifong. On the Headquarters' facade stands a statue of Toph Beifong.
Republic City's port hosts a significant amount of international commercial traffic, and serves as the terminal for a cargo steamship line to the Southern Water Tribe. Automobiles are brought to the port and loaded onto the ships, on which they are taken regions across the world. The area has road access as well as a railroad line. Several wooden piers extend into Yue Bay, some of which have structures constructed above them. One of these buildings exhibits Earth Kingdom architectural features, having brown sides, a green roof, and a dome. In addition to foreign steamers, the port also serves as a terminal for the Air Temple Island ferry. A suspension bridge is built above the area.
Aang Memorial Island
- Main article: Aang Memorial Island
Aang Memorial Island is a small islet off the coast of Yue Bay, located near Air Temple Island. It features a massive statue of a teenage Avatar Aang created by the Fire Nation some years after the end of the Hundred Year War for display in the bay of Republic City, where it would stand as a symbol of peace and goodwill. Aang is depicted in Air Nomad attire, with the accompanying necklace he wore when Fire Lord Zuko announced the war's end at his coronation.
Air Temple Island
- Main article: Air Temple Island
Located in Yue Bay, Air Temple Island is the home of Tenzin and his family, some of the most important figures in Republic City. The temple was originally built by Avatar Aang himself. Comprised of several unique facilities, including a tall tower with boasting traditional architecture, several smaller dormitories with blue roofs, and an open training area, Air Temple Island is also the residence of the Air Acolytes, who serve to carry on the customs of the now-extinct Air Nomad civilization.
- Main article: Pro-bending Arena
Pro-bending is the most popular sport in Republic City, and official pro-bending matches are held in the city's Pro-bending Arena. As a testament to the sport's popularity, this building has a golden appearance and is lit at night, making it a prominent city landmark. The arena is spacious enough to hold the pro-bending ring on which the contestants compete, a large pool of water far below the ring, and seating for the great number of spectators that attend each game. The arena is one of Republic City's most renowned cultural marvels, and people from all over the world come to visit and watch the world's greatest benders compete.
After the Pro-bending Tournament was completed, the Equalists attacked this arena, leaving the roof and the pro-bending ring heavily damaged. Following the attack, in which the championship team was stripped of their bending by Amon, the arena was closed indefinitely. However, within the six months following the end of the Equalists' revolution, the arena was re-opened, allowing pro-bending matches to resume.
Dragon Flats borough
- Main article: Dragon Flats borough
The Dragon Flats borough is one of Republic City's many residential sectors. It is known for being Hiroshi Sato's birthplace and an active triad territory. Before a successful raid by Councilman Tarrlok's task force, it hosted an underground training facility for Equalist chi blockers. Due to continued Equalist activity in the area, its residents were for a brief amount of time put under a curfew, which was unsuccessfully resisted by nonbenders.
Chi blocker training camp
- Main article: Chi blocker training camp
The chi blocker training camp was a secret Equalist facility used for instructing nonbenders on chi blocking. It was hidden in a secret cellar underneath a bookstore, and was successfully invaded by Tarrlok, Korra, and the remainder of the task force. Several people who had been participating in Equalist activities at the time were captured by the task force and arrested.
- Main article: Rally building
The rally building is a large convention hall formerly operated by the Equalists. It is located near an industrial sector of Republic City's waterfront, at the intersection of two minor roadways and is the place where Amon's revelation rally was held.
Republic City power plant
- Main article: Republic City power plant
The Republic City power plant is the main source of electricity for the city. It is operated by firebenders through the use of lightning generation. According to Mako, the pay for the job is decent.
Republic City underground
Republic City tunnel network
- Main article: Republic City tunnel network
The Republic City tunnel network is a system of subterranean passages located underneath Republic City. It is a heavily complex network of tunnels, but upon first glance, the system seems to be largely unused. However, due to growing unrest among the citizens of Republic City, it had at one point become the primary site of operations for Equalist activity. During this time, the tunnel network hosted Equalist prisons, training camps, and garages.
- Main article: Spirit Wilds
Following Avatar Korra's decision to keep the spirit portals open in the aftermath of the Unalaq Crisis during Harmonic Convergence in 171 AG, the Spirit Wilds partially reemerged over the city. The proliferation of spirit vines brought destruction to large parts of the city, prompting many citizens to evacuate from boroughs which became virtually uninhabitable. This vegetation became home to spirits that migrated to the physical world. At first, the citizens struggled to cope with these changes, but they eventually learned to coexist; roads were built around the vines and the spirits eventually became a tourist attraction. After Kuvira's attack on Republic City, the explosion of her spirit energy cannon resulted in a slight expansion of the spirit wilds in the downtown area and the creation of a new spirit portal.
Central City Station
- Main article: Central City Station
Central City Station is the city's main hub of transportation, though in recent years, it has hosted less ridership due to the advent of the Satomobile. Nonetheless, it remains a busy commercial center, which is symbolized by the monumental statue of Fire Lord Zuko at its front entrance. By 174 AG, with the backing of Future Industries, the station had been renovated to include a new rail-line system allowing for travel to the neighboring Earth Kingdom.
- Main article: Harmony Tower
The Harmony Tower is a tall lattice structure located north of the downtown area that allows citizens to see a clear, panoramic view of Republic City.
Little Ba Sing Se Fashion Mall
- Main article: Little Ba Sing Se Fashion Mall
Narook's Seaweed Noodlery
- Main article: Narook's Seaweed Noodlery
Narook's Seaweed Noodlery is a restaurant in the Little Water Tribe neighborhood of Republic City. It serves traditional Southern Water Tribe cuisine, and its noodles are advertised as the best in the United Republic.
Republic City prison
- Main article: Republic City prison
The Republic City prison is a large, fortified building located in Republic City. After the Unalaq Crisis, it became covered with spirit vines, though with the necessary repairs made to the building, it continued to house various criminals.
Silk Road Bridge
- Main article: Silk Road Bridge
Southern Water Tribe Cultural Center
- Main article: Southern Water Tribe Cultural Center
The Southern Water Tribe Cultural Center is a cultural center in Republic City hosting cultural activities. It acts as an immigration for the Southern Water Tribe. A statue of Sokka marks the building. A protest was held in front of the center to convince President Raiko to aid the Southern Water Tribe against the Northern invaders.
Triple Threat Triad headquarters
- Main article: Triple Threat Triad headquarters
The Triple Threat Triad headquarters is the base of operations for the Triple Threat Triad, Republic City's most notorious organized crime faction. It is disguised as a restaurant and located on a minor roadway near Central City Station.
- Main article: Cabbage Corp
Cabbage Corp is a leading automobile manufacturer. One of its most popular models is the Cabbage Car, a cheaper and more compact alternative to vehicles produced by Future Industries, the company's main rival. Cabbage Corp's current owner is Lau Gan-Lan. The company is also the airship supplier for the Earth Kingdom Air Force.
- Main article: Future Industries
Future Industries is a manufacturing company founded by Hiroshi Sato and led by his daughter, Asami. Using state-of-the-art technology and the assembly line, the factory is able to produce over a hundred luxury Satomobiles on a daily basis. Although the automotive industry is where the company primarily does its business, it has the resources to also manufacture weapons and airplanes. Despite high demand, Future Industries' only known competitor is Cabbage Corp.
The Republic City firefighters form an official organization recruited from waterbenders that provides fire protection, technical rescue, and the primary response to fire hazards in Republic City. The firefighters typically wear distinctive carmine red and dark gray protective clothing as well as helmets. Operating in teams of four, the waterbenders have access to fire trucks to reach their destination, where they use their bending abilities to extinguish the fire. In doing so, the fire engines, hydrants, and water ponds around the city serve as sources for firefighting water. The Republic City firefighters also have their own logo, depicting a red flame that is to be extinguished by a blue wave.
The population of Republic City is large by world standards, and the mass influx of immigrants from the four nations has caused considerable demographic challenges. The foremost of these challenges is inequality: the gap in wealth is considerable. Newcomers to the city appear unaware of these phenomena until their arrival, when they are presented with a considerable surprise. The Avatar herself believed its citizens to all be "living it up" and was shocked to discover vagabonds in the city park. With these difficult conditions, the populace seems ready to be stirred into a revolt against the perceived bending elite. A protester expended relatively little effort in arousing anger in a crowd against an annoyed Korra.
As the center of commerce throughout the nations, organized crime appears to be very common in Republic City. Gangs such as the Triple Threat Triad lay claim to certain boroughs of the city, which they call "territories". In these areas, the control of triads appears to be considerable, with shopkeepers forced to pay them in order to secure their safety. This power over local business is significant considering the regular and frequent airship patrols by the city's police forces.
The use of modern transportation methods such as automobiles, motorcycles, and airships is widespread in Republic City. The city also has invested considerably in advanced transportation infrastructure, with feats of engineering such as an elevated mass transit system and several suspension bridges connecting the city center with its outlying boroughs.
- The concept of Republic City is inspired by several real world past and present locations from the late 1800s to the 1930s. This includes Shanghai circa 1920s, Hong Kong, and Western cities such as New York, Chicago, and Vancouver. In particular, the statue of Aang in Yue Bay, Avatar Korra Park, and the Silk Road Bridge are inspired by the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, and the Brooklyn Bridge, respectively, in New York City.
- The rapid urbanization and technological advances of the World of Avatar mirrors that of the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century in the real world, in which automobiles, towering buildings, trolleys, and other great engineering feats came to be.
- The park in Republic City resembles Hyde Park in London, with its "Speaker's Corner", where anyone can stand up and speak to the public. In Avatar Korra Park, a man is speaking to the public with a megaphone about the Equalists' views against benders.
- Similarities can also be traced with other European landmarks; the Harmony Tower is reminiscent of Paris' Eiffel Tower, and City Hall closely resembles Berlin's Reichstag.
- The city is divided into boroughs. The only one known is the Dragon Flats borough, home of Hiroshi Sato's family.
- Of the six members of the original Team Avatar, four of them are known to have statues located in Republic City.
- Republic City is located near Makapu Village and Taku.
- The elevated railway transportation can be compared to the elevated railway system, or EL, built in Chicago during the early 1900s, and the street trolley system can be compared to San Francisco's street trolleys also built during the early 1900s.
- Tarrlok's seizing of control of major law operations and using the police to oppress nonbenders makes Republic City appear to operate like a police state, just as Ba Sing Se was before the end of the Hundred Year War.
- It appears that during the time of Yakone's trial, Republic City's citizens were still using animals for transportation, as evidenced by the lack of motor vehicles and Yakone utilizing an ostrich horse carriage as a method of escape.
- In "And the Winner Is...", a Cabbage Corp advertisement on the radio describes the company as "Republic City's trusted name in technology for over fifty years". This would mean that Republic City was, to some extent, up and running by 120 AG, a mere twenty years after the end of the Hundred Year War.
- In the German dub of The Legend of Korra, Republic City is called "Republica"; in the Greek dub, it is called "Democracy City"; and in the Dutch dub it is called "Republicasia".
- Republic City has three newspapers, two of which are The Elemental Times and The Republic Reporter.