The best way to arrive in Dynamo, as in any island, however large, is by boat, especially since the country’s capital city, Veloxeter, is a port that opens generous arms to vessels arriving in from the Eastern Atlantic. The perfume of the island with its luscious vegetation and clean air mixes energizingly with the salt of the ocean, and the expectant traveller’s excitement at arrival is heightened as the boat approaches the port in which fishing vessels and other coastal craft (berthed on the north side), merchant ships (moored to the south) and liners (docking on the city water-front to the west) manoeuvre in a colourful regatta, joined by yachts and pleasure craft from the marina.

The city’s low but expansive architectural profile is dominated by the dome of St David’s Cathedral which sits like a grandiose soup-tureen cover over the surrounding buildings. The warehouses and depots, in various shades of grime-free red brick, that line the cobbled wharves, emit a range of exotic smells according to the merchandises they contain, so that whiffs of coffee and tea intermingle with timber and tar, and the fragrance emitted by the avenues of limes that lead from the quay-side to the city centre. In the absence of polluting cars and lorries, containers and heavy merchandise is unloaded from ships by crane onto electrically powered lighters that serve one or other of the two railway termini situated to the north and south of the harbour. Or to smaller craft that will ship commodities upriver to inland destinations. The River Crease, that enters the sea through Veloxeter harbour, is navigable inland as far as Hubcaster, 250k upstream.

The main passenger ship terminal is in the centre of the waterfront: a white art-deco building resembling the bridge and forecastle of a liner, it ushers new arrivals through customs and passport control and then disgorges them into a tree-lined square where trams are waiting to take them to any number of destinations within the city, as well as to the railways stations. There are hundreds of pedal-powered rickshaws that will deliver individuals to any specific address within a radius of few kilometres: their bronzed and strong-limbed riders are renowned for their cheerfulness and stamina, and the light bike-drawn carriages are painted in a rainbow spectrum of colours.

Though dating back to the late Roman era, Veloxeter developed and expanded in the Medieval period, superseding Hubcaster as capital of the country in the 17th century. Its cathedral, popularly known as the ‘soup tureen’ is a baroque building with a large but shallow copper dome, situated a few hundred metres upstream from the river mouth. Built of limestone quarried in Sparta, it shares with the National Library and the university, both founded in the 18th century, the same honey-coloured hue. The naval defences situated to the north of the harbour are built of local chalk, set off by the grey-blue slates, mined in the Handlebar Mountains. The great railways stations, one north and one to the south of the city centre, a built in light-coloured brick, similar to that of the National College of Design that also dates from the 19th century. The brickwork of these buildings, in a Venetian Byzantine style, is enlivened by decorative tiles and other glazed motives that enhance their festive appearance. Most of the city’s major monuments of the 20th century – the National Athletics, Boxing, Football and Rugby stadiums, the Architectural Institute, the Passenger terminal and the main cinemas and shopping streets are art deco, making the city one of the richest examples of this style in the western world. A distinctive feature of the sports stadiums and Art College is the way their façades are decorated with stylized reliefs of the activities they house, reflecting a general aim in Dynamo where the fronts of buildings aim to be an index to their functions. The Botanic Gardens that double as a city-centre park, are laid out round beautiful cast-iron glass-houses produced by the same British and Irish foundries that produced buildings for the Kew and Glasnevin gardens. A particular feature of the city is the way leisure and sporting amenities are spread out within a one- or two- kilometre radius of the city centre, thus enhancing their accessibility and ensuring many green spaces within the built-up parts of the town. The absence of cars means there is no need for car parks and the streets and avenues of the city are unencumbered with vehicles, except for the small electric taxis and the thousands of pedal-powered rickshaws. Street noise is thus that of a constant light whirring interspersed with bicycle bells and taxi hooters. The River Crease is also a busy thoroughfare with water taxis and ferries as well as passenger and cargo ships plying up and downstream to and from Hubcaster. So the sound of ship’s horns and ferry bells adds distinctively to the urban hubbub.


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Capital City of Dynamo, Veloxeter

Notable for:
National University, Architectural Institute,