"Caldeum was once the proudest city in all of Kehjistan, the trade capital of the entire world. Caldeum was never seen as the heart of the empire, even though it rivaled Viz-Jun, and later Kurast, in size, and those who called Caldeum their home liked it that way. Even when the Mage Clan Wars erupted, the battles were never tolerated to affect trade in Caldeum, for while politics and magic may be important, trifling with trade is a serious matter."

Abd al-Hazir(src)

Caldeum

Caldeum, Jewel of the East is a major city in Kehjistan, and one of its former capitals.

Lore

"The Jewel of the East! Caldeum is really quite amazing. I have never seen anything quite like it, and I have seen so many things in my life."

Covetous Shen(src)

Caldeum

Caldeum is run by the Trade Consortium Council, though became the seat of power for the emperor of Kehjistan after the fall of Kurast.[1] Under the emperor, a tribute system existed between the emperor and his subjects. Caldeum is dependent on trade to survive.[2]

Caldeum is surrounded by wastes known as the Borderlands,[3] and is situated atop a long, flat plain that rises above the rest of the desert. The plain ends in sheer cliffs.[4] The city itself has a sewer system, and is surrounded by walls.[5] Its libraries overflow with undeciphered tomes of arcane knowledge. Outside the city's walls are slums (which include the Caldeum Bazaar), where crime is rife.[2] In better times, trade tents were set up outside the walls, and were a hub of activity.[6]

Unlike many other locations, the Vecin were welcome in Caldeum.[2]

History

"Most commoners know Caldeum by reputation if not direct experience. The trade city has existed for thousands of years, predating even the Mage Clan Wars."

An Abridged History of Caldeum (excerpt)(src)

Caldeum is an ancient city—By the 13th century, it had been a hub of trade for thousands of years.[7]

Early History

The walls of Caldeum

Caldeum was built thousands of years ago, even before the Mage Clan Wars.[7] It was a major hub of trade, serving as "the trade capital of the entire world." However, while it rivaled Viz-Jun and later Kurast in size, it was never seen as the heart of the Kehjistani Empire (and the people who called it home liked it that way). While Caldeum was technically part of the empire, it behaved as if it were a free entity for much of its existence,[1] and declared itself neutral in regards to conflict within and/or without the empire.[7] In its prime, it was easily able to hold its own against the savage inhabitants of the Borderlands.[3]

When the Mage Clan Wars erupted, the battles were never tolerated to affect trade in Caldeum.[1] It has been opinioned that Caldeum's neutral stance during the conflict saved it from the same kind of destruction that visited Viz-Jun.[7]

Centuries later, the aftermath, the Trade Council saw an opportunity in the rapidly growing Zakarum faith, and allowed its followers to build their enormous cathedral, Saldencal, within the center of the city. Not content to reign supreme in commerce and religion, the Council aspired to make Caldeum a nexus of learning as well. It proposed to unite the Mage academics in a massive new structure - the Yshari Sanctum - which remained a center of learning even over a millennium later.[7]

Golden Years

Caldeum had a string of good fortune in the later centuries of the first millennium. With the establishment of the town of Alcarnus and the creation of the Dahlgur Oasis, Caldeum had a supply of ore and water respectively. With this trinity, Caldeum's dominance over the Borderlands was complete, and it was able to maintain its power through the Dune Guard.[3]

Decline

In 1264, Kurast suffered the deprivations of Mephisto. A good number of the city's nobles fled their homes and took residence in Caldeum. All manner of horrible rumors as to what had exactly happened in Kurast followed them,[1] and soon afterwards, Emperor Hakan I joined them and made Caldeum the new capital of the empire.[7] Whatever sympathy the people of Caldeum may have had soured quickly, as the nobles' relief turned to entitlement, and then, arrogance. They had no trouble demanding their "rightful" place on Caldeum's Trade Consortium Council, and were prepared to use their wealth to hire the mercenaries needed to see their ambitions through.

Hakan stepped in to confront the situation, and managed to resolve the dispute between the council and nobles. The people came to support him as emperor, and catastrophe was averted. However, Abd al-Hazir would reflect years later that perhaps Hakan wasn't as successful as first thought, that the tension remained under a veneer of civility.[1]

When Hakan fell ill, his influence started to wane, and the mood in Caldeum changed with his health. As he declined, so did Caldeum.[1] When he died, Zakarum priests procured an infant from the north as his spiritual successor. After the Zakarum priests' rituals were complete, they employed the Iron Wolves, to retrieve the child. They dubbed him Hakan II and installed him on the throne despite his scant years. Caldeum fell into decline immediately afterwards.[7]

The End of Days

"The philosopher Kadus said 'If you want to know the truth of a city, you need look no further than the state of its infrastructure.'"
"Then Caldeum is rotting."
"Yes. And built on secrets."

Leah and The Nephalem(src)

Caldeum and its surrounding wastes

By 1285, the situation at Caldeum had become dire. Its infrastructure was crumbling.[8] Emperor Hakan II withdraw the support of Caldeum from the wastes and leave those who live there to their own devices. Caravans became vulnerable to attack, and refugees streamed towards Caldeum, beating against the gates. Rumors spread of a secretive cult summoning demons.[3] The Imperial Guard refused to let people into the city.[9] Hakan II, becoming increasingly paranoid, ordered all of his staff to leave the city, lest they be thrown off the walls.[10] Many of Hakan's former staff fled for Lut Gholein, heading west in caravans. People outside the inner city began to die from hunger and thirst, but the Imperial Guard refused entry.[5]

After The Nephalem's escape from the Imperial Palace, the spirits of some of the people began to rise. One villager claimed that there was an underground movement with the aim of deposing the emperor.[11] Food and water was again supplied from the Dahlgur Oasis,[12] and the flow of refugees had ceased.[13]

When The Nephalem returned to Caldeum with the Black Soulstone, Belial rained fire upon the city. Alongside the Iron Wolves, The Nephalem helped the people flee into the sewers for shelter.[14] After Belial's persona as Hakan II was unmasked, and the Lord of Lies defeated, the real Hakan resurfaced. Asheara and the Iron Wolves remained in the city to rebuild it.[15]

Recent Events

People still lived in Caldeum decades after Malthael's attempted genocide. Things were now even worse than they were during Belial's reign.[16]

Known Locations

Known Inhabitants

A Caldeum noble

Trivia

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This section contains facts and trivia relevant to this article.

Caldeum blueprints

  • Caldeum might be inspired from the city of Istanbul. Since both Caldeum and Istanbul connect the west & the east and were once capital trade centers. Architectural similarities do also support this claim as the Caldeum structures strongly resemble the Ottoman era architecture, although they do lack certain attributes like quad minarets.
    • Yellowish adobe houses are also common in Arabic cities like Cairo, adding similarity with that style as well.
  • As well as being a popular Turkish name, "Hakan" is a Turkish title for a sovereign or military ruler. The title is derived from the old Turko-Mongol title for sovereign ruler, Khan.
  • A Caldeum Market attraction features in the Blizzard World map in Overwatch.

References

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