Campaign of the Month: June 2014
Battletech : The Farscape Campaign
Former capital of the Republic of Sangria
San Succi is the former capital of The Republic of Sangria, and the largest city in the nation. With a population numbering around 145,000 before the civil war, many of its citizens were employed in the city’s limited industrial efforts, most of which were based on supporting the surrounding agricultural communities.
Located in the heart of The District of Cundinamarca, along the Rio Verdi, the city was once administered as the “Capital District”, and had autonomy in the management of its interests within the limits of the national Constitution and the law. San Succi today has largely lost most of its political and economic interest in the nation. It remains an important industrial center in the nation, and is very much the heartland of the local district, both militarily and economically, but beyond its population and industry, is of little interest to the international community.
In economic terms, San Succi was known for its economic strength associated with the size of its production facilities to create companies and do business. It was the main market of Sangria and the north-eastern natural region of the planet. It had the highest production income in the nation, prior to the 1000 Days War, and was second only to Ciudad Garcia in new industrial developments. It has since slumped in most of its innovation and lifestyle, relating closely to the rest of the nation.
Located astride the Rio Verdi, the city is located along a high plateau sandwiched between the Valrea and Popayan Mountains. The bulk of the city is located east of the river along the fringe of the “Sabana de Miranda”, a large stretch of open plains. At the city center, the river is 2640m above sea level. The Rio Verdi crosses south across the sabana, forming Tequendama Falls (“Salto de Tequendama”) to the south. Tributary rivers form valleys with flourishing villages, whose economy is based on agriculture, livestock raising and artistic house production.
San Succi is laid-out in a basic grid pattern, on the focal point of a square or plaza, typical of most Taurian-founded settlements, but the layout gradually becomes more modern and chaotic in outlying neighborhoods. The city has 20 localities, or “Avenida”, forming an extensive network of neighborhoods. Areas of higher economic status tend to be located to the north and northwest, close to the foothills of the nearby mountains. Poorer neighborhoods are located to the south and southeast, many of them squatter areas. The middle classes usually inhabit the central, western and northeastern sections of the city.
Pre-War Cathedral Primada, San Succi Commons
City and regional government is centered on the San Succi Square, particularly with the destruction of the Villa San Succi during the opening of the 1000 Days War. Home to the Palacio del Justice, and the National Capitol, it also houses the Cathedral Primada, home of the national Bishop of the Catholic church. Combined, the Square remains the focus of government in the city.
Today, with the dissolution of the former national government, the Square remains the focus of government in the district, still under the control of Governor-General Pierre Garza. The catholic church also holds considerable control over the rural population of the surrounding district, and they support a belief of compliance with the current regime, in an effort to reduce civilian casualties. They continue to work closely with Garza in all aspects of local and district government.
The city of San Succi has traditionally served as a commercial and financial center. The city had a thriving industrial sector for many years, but investment in its infrastructure and expansion has shifted to the rebuilding efforts in The District of Garcia some years ago, and other than its garment industry, has remained stagnant for many years, since at least 2999.
With the rise of General Pierre Garza, there has been a regionalization of both land and industry, placing an emphasis on traditional links to the church. Random arrests and executions have not helped in developing the economy following the conflict in the capital, nor has it repaired much of the damage, though the government buildings (and main commons) did receive repairs to make them habitable and capable of supporting the military junta and subsequent civilian government. All other repair and construction efforts in the city have been concentrated on surviving industry in the city.
The city of San Succi is presently dominated by open markets providing the sale of goods and services, primarily produce and clothing. The markets are controlled by various militant Tribals, who use them to support their efforts and operate them as a headquarters of sorts. Chief among these is the Koara Market, which is dominated by the sale of anything; from fruit and garments to building materials and tools. Warehouse space is at a premium, but easily acquired and cheaply protected.
Agriculture is the most important economic sector of San Succi, primarily on account of its central location in the district and the nation. It accounts for about 65% of the region’s economy, and employs 65% of the regional workforce. Livestock contributes about 40% of the district economy, and 50% of its exports. Other principal exports include charcoal and coffee; sugar, sorghum and corn are products for the domestic market. Livestock sales were also a growing interest, primarily due to the fact that local ranchers offered quality animals at very low prices.
The modest industrial sector, based on the processing of agricultural products, accounts for only 10% of the national GDP. Various commercial airlines operate from the international airport (formerly starport), though access to avgas and the generally rough nature of the city make for few tourists or business clients. Prior to the outbreak of the civil war, the city’s numerous manufacturing firms were foundering, and the conflict of the 1000 Days War largely destroyed and damaged many of the remaining facilities.
The processing of pasta, mineral water, confections, plastic bags, fabric, hides and skins, soap, foam mattresses and pillows, packaging, and stone, are all small industries in the city, with tiny production facilities that do little beyond supply the domestic markets of Sangria. Foreign and off-world investment of the city’s auto and fruit manufacturing has also long since stopped.
Today, excluding the stuttering efforts of a handful of large national industrial firms, most manufacturing in the city consists of small craftsmen operating from single room workshops. These industries produce reloaded ammunition, simple tools (such as axes and shovels), bicycles, wagons and carts, leather goods and cloth, and fuel (mostly bio-diesel fuels).
While most of the local industries were shattered or destroyed in the fires and riots of 3021, there are a handful of remaining large industries in the city. Most have since moved to concentrate on their remaining holdings across the nation. A handful, have also been “nationalized” for the sole production and support of the local military junta. Remaining industries include:
Banco Nacional de Sangria : Although not directly involved in manufacturing, the Banco Nacional de Sangria represents much of the industrial investment of the nation, and holds considerable assets in many of its industrial plants. It is also the primary “mail” service, telegraph office and operates as a land office and tax collector. Given its support of the national government in Ciudad Garcia, as well as the transport of its hard assets to the new capital, the local branches stay low, operating as a telegraph and mail service, and are allowed to continue registration of land claims and corporate taxes, but report all this information and income directly to General Garza’s district administration.
Today the company continues to provide a valuable service to the local population efficiently, and that suits the local administration enough to avoid their replacement. With the riots and fires of the 1000 Days War, they have lost large swaths of investment, but the bulk of their remaining interests are located in the other districts, and remain relatively intact. In fact, their support of the new government in Garcia has given them increasing economic strength.
Grupo Argos : A large conglomerate corporation that has extensive investments in cement and energy production. Its cement company Argos was founded in 2942, and has two plants in Sangria, and another pair in San Isabel and Buntar. With its 3016 take-over of Star Concrete’s six plants, it has largely taken over cement production in The Free-City of Von Doom’s Downport as well. Its energy company, Celsia controls a 100MW hydroelectric plant north of San Succi, and three small wind farms along the pass west of the city. Celsia also has investments in electrical plants in San Isabel and Buntar. The company has considerable financial investments in the port facilities at Ciudad Garcia, and possesses a large number of national land and sea cargo transportation assets, second only to Coordinadora Mercantil.
Its presence in Ciudad Garcia is expected to improve as the demands for electrical power and construction materials increases, particularly in the recent efforts to improve the Camino Muertos. Local district resources, however, have been making up many of the local deficits in that district, so Argos must move slowly and carefully.
Mariposa Munitions : Formerly a subdivision of the Maravillas de Sangria company founded in San Succi, “Mariposa Munitions” was originally the popular sparkler production company located south of the city in the Mosquera community. Alone of the company’s various production lines to remain intact, it was closely guarded by Garza’s Legion throughout the 1000 Days War, and rumors persisted that Garza was reworking the line to produce explosives and munitions for his district army.
In early-3027, the company began to officially produce various munitions for the district military and other interested parties, largely compatible with national small arms and support weapons. It also began producing small quantities of 60mm Light Mortars and Milkor MGLs for the district military, but not enough for outside interests.
In mid-3030, the company began ramping-up production of these weapons systems, as local needs for them lessened, and the national government was looking for support weapons. The company officially re-organized under the Mariposa Munitions brand, and halted its mortar production to improve its grenade launcher production for export to the national military and that of its international allies, as demand was increasing. In addition to its manufacture of the Milkor GL, the company manufactures various small arms munitions for its district needs.
Miguel Caballero : A relatively new clothing company that produces high-end bullet-proof clothing, Miguel Caballero is best known for its stylish and personalized business suits and dresses, and was once exported internationally. Costs for this clothing can run 2500 Cs per piece, but they provide excellent armor protection and count most corporate leaders and even former international presidents among their clientele. The company operates from a small underground factory located in the city’s core, and proved well protected from the riots and fires. Rumor has it was working on a new uniform project for the military before the civil disorder.
The company has become the center of revitalizing the national army BDU, and in mid-3027, was contracted to begin investigating possible ways to improve the basic load-out of its armed forces. The company has also been working Iron Dingoes advisers, regarding this and other matters. One of these eventually resulted in the development of the Dumassas (Advanced) Infantry Field Kit, and its deployment as the national infantry field kit after early-3030. While the local factory complex manufactures the heavy “Cermalite” ballistic plates, it largely just assembles and militarizes the rest of the kit from produced other sources scattered across the nation.
Organización Ardila Lülle : A diverse conglomerate based in San Succi, the company produces goods and services in sectors as diverse as communications, beverages, textiles, and entertainment. Locally, the company owns RCN Television, which often broadcasts many sporting events, including the popular national soccer matches. The company also traditionally sponsors “Atlético Nacional”, the highly-rated soccer team that competes internationally.
The organization’s local textile plants and automotive parts manufacturing plants were lost during the fires and riots of 3021, though it combined most of its surviving manufacturing modules with Saeta, for a sizable share of the company. The conglomerate’s agricultural interests are wide-ranging and spread across the rest of the other districts; sugar cane and corn milling plants, a bio-diesel plant, and a large number of banana plantations in The District of Cauca; also a substantial modern forestry and lumber company in The District of Antiquia, along with their Postobon factory complex that produces a brand of beverages, bottling fruit juices, water, iced teas and coffee.
Combined, these remaining resources make the company very important nationally, and it dominates the district agricultural efforts. They are firm supporters of Garza, and have a great deal of latitude in their operations as a result.
Organización Corona : Founded in 2889, Corona is one of the oldest companies in Sangria. The company produces ceramics in tile and pottery form for residential use. Its plant survived the 3021 fires, and it continues to produce its signature pots for international export. The company’s clay fields are based in The District of Guaviare.
In the past few years, it was able to fight-off outside interest in acquiring it solely due to the fact that it is largely owned by the Corona family. While it continues to operate at largely pre-war levels, there have been many problems associated with theft of its transport fleet. No one has been able to identify the culprits.
Organización Terpel : Terpel was founded in 2977 as a solution to the shortage of ICE fuels in Sangria. The Terpel Bucaramanga Company was formed when 20 service stations, with plans to expand to a national scale in the future with the creation of 6 further “Terpeles” in different Sangrian districts. In 3009, the principal shareholders of Terpel integrated the seven regional companies and created the Terpel Organization which was consolidated in 3012.
The company objective is to improve their negotiating power and smooth administrative abilities, and to generate access to better sources of fuel. Not as powerful as Solaro Oil Company, they still control many rural regions in the western districts, and have invested their profits by buying controlling shares in several fuel station companies outside the country, particularly in San Isabel’s ANCAP.
Terpel has leveraged its control over the western districts in recent years by investing its profits in bio-diesel production efforts, mostly private community efforts to process bio-diesel from urban waste. Rumors persist they have begun funding for a larger project in Armenia of The District of Cauca, using waste products from the local sugar refinery.
Ospina Coffee Company : Ospina Coffee, the oldest family-owned coffee company in existence today, was established in Sangria, by Don Mariano Ospina Rodríguez in 2843. Ospina Rodríguez was one of the pioneers of coffee growing in Sangria and San Isabel, and began exporting this luxury drink across the constellation and into Davion space. Today, the company is controlled by General Pedro Nel Ospina, a former general of the Sangrian Army Command, who also controls an extensive series of coffee plantations across The District of Antiquia, and numerous financial investments among the local industries, though some of his family investments were lost during the 1000 Days War.
The Ospina family is supportive of the new national government, exporting its crop of roasted coffee beans as a bulk good, and through its numerous coffee houses located everywhere in the nation. His family is considered the wealthiest clan in Sangria, and possesses extensive contacts and business ties. The family is also linked to the Iron Dingoes, and has become increasingly supportive of their efforts in the nation.
Productos Ramo : A popular Sangrian snack food company, perhaps the only independent national brand to offer serious competition to international brands like Grupo Bimbo_._Ramo snacks, sold in corner stores and snack stands around the country, are somewhat of an institution in Sangria, the most well-known being its “Gala” packaged pastries, “Chocoramo” square cakes coated in chocolate, and the “Maizitos” fried corn chips.
The company was founded in 2958 by Rafael Molano, from whom it takes its name. Ramo was the first brand to offer prepared and packaged cakes in Sangria; the logo and packaging of its products have changed little since the early 2960s. The factory in San Succi was spared most of the difficulties of the 3021 fires, and produces most of its own ingredients, including flour and eggs through in-house contracts with district farmers. Youth delivering Ramo products to neighborhood stores by freight tricycle are a common site in most Sangrian towns.
In the wake of many international food production companies, demand for Ramo products has grown, and the company sees an increasing market share in the Buntar hyper market chain of Lider.
Saeta : Saeta International Sport Wear is a Sangrian company that operates its business in the textile sector, in the manufacture, import and export of sportswear and accessories. Founded in 2990, and noted internationally for its quality, it has clothed every national and district soccer team in Sangria with its brand. Its plant, located in San Succi was devastated in the 3021 fires, and the company amalgamated its remaining resources with Organización Ardila Lülle, enough to rebuild their manufacturing plant to continue producing an expanded line of textiles, that now includes urban “street-style” garments.
Solaro Oil Company : Based primarily on the strength of its small Baranchandra Refinery and numerous local bio-diesel suppliers, the Solaro company dominates the national energy agenda. It constantly searches for new sources of crude oil, and exploits whatever small fields it can access, but must import much of its oil, and depends heavily on bio-diesel production to fulfill its quotas. The company is constantly striving to improve its sources of fuel, and is known to invest in international production companies.
During the 1000 Days War, the company entered into a precarious relationship with General Garza, who provided them with parts and protection, in exchange for a portion of their production. Following the reintroduction of the city and its district into the new national government, the company was able to receive vital infrastructure grants, and embarked in rebuilding their plant’s manufacturing abilities. As of early-3028, the company was able to begin production at a higher rate from these efforts, which promises to increase its profits in the years to come.
Telefónica : Telefónica is a Sangrian national company that manufactures the landline systems most citizens of the planet use in day-to-day operations, their installation and their maintenance. While national communications depend on the microwave tower network deployed by ComStar, urban communications are dependent upon simpler hardwire connections. The company’s cable and phone plant in San Succi suffered serious damage, but was quickly rebuilt using substantial company reserves. Although production is reduced, Telefónica still manages to produce its signature phone systems for the domestic market.
Hamburguesas El Corral : A traditional restaurant chain serving beef burgers, El Corral was founded in 3009, and has grown steadily ever since. It serves gourmet burgers using aged cheeses, imported sausages, stir-fry vegetables and different bread options. All locations possess a range of liquors in its adult-themed bars. There are major distribution centers in each major town, and the company was not disrupted by the 3021 riots and fires. It has since expanded both nationally, and into San Isabel, where it is showing an increasing popularity.
Jeno’s Pizza : A pizzeria chain headquartered in San Succi, Jeno’s Pizza was founded in 2981. The restaurants cater to children and families, and build play areas within their franchises, making them very popular among young families.
In 3018, the company was bought-out by the interstellar firm Consolidated Foods Limited (CFL), and the following year was slated to undergo a rapid expansion. By 3021, when the riots hit, the assembly plant in San Succi was burned to the ground, and the surviving franchises were struggling to keep themselves organized. The company has moved its operations from the city, and taken over warehouse space in the southern town of Villacencio, where it now operates, though they have regional warehouses for their own distribution network. They are still struggling to improve and rebuild. They maintain more than thirty outlets across the nation.
Pollos Frisby : A Sangrian fried chicken restaurant chain founded by Alfredo Hoyos Mazuera in 2991. Frisby started as a pizzeria; however later its owners decided to finally go into the fried chicken market, and has now established more than thirty restaurants scattered across the nation. It gets its packaging from Productora de Papeles (ProPal) in Ciudad Garcia, and managed to maintain production despite the riots and fires of 3021 and the resulting civil disturbances through the 1000 Days War.. In fact, the company HQ and production facilities had a large force of “mercenaries” defended both sites and helped with the fires in their neighborhoods, engendering a great deal of good will towards the company. Its chief product is simple fried chicken with fired potatoes and a corn flatbread, called “Arepa”, served as a burger.
Empresas Municipales de Cali : The state-owned company providing telecommunications and electricity services from Cali, Sangria in The District of Antiquia. The company operates the massive series of coal-fired power plants the rest of the nation largely depends upon, and controls the northern portion of its phone network. The company is based from Valledupar in the northern district, but maintains a contract to supply electricity to the Cundinamarca District, in exchange for fuel and regular payments of raw emeralds.
The city’s “Universidad Nacional de Sangria” is the repository of much of the former capital’s scientific and medical staff and equipment, including its hospital. Under the close guard of Garza’s Legion, they remain well-protected, but also highly supervised to maintain security for its remaining resources, in both personnel and material. The university produces, in small lots and at great expense, simple antibiotics, vaccines and anti-toxins that see wide sale across the nation. Today, most of its science and medical staff remain, but the shift in national funding and support has since passed to its branch office in Ciudad Garcia.
Antioquia Railway Formerly the national railway of Sangria was the National Railways of Sangria, connecting the major towns and cities of the nation. It was liquidated in the late-2980s, during the economic collapse of many nations in the world. In early 2994, Valledupar Metro also expanded their cargo hauling lines, backed by Cerrejón’s vested interests in shipping bulk coal. In 3004, refurbishing the old rolling stock and engines from the former NRS company, they began operations hauling cargo along the old lines, from Antiquia to Armenia to San Succi and San Jose. It also operates a short line leading from the coal mines directly to a hub at the Encali power stations in Cali.
Today, the company continues to make a little profit, but usually invests in maintenance and improving its engine fleet. It makes most of its regular shipments hauling timber, cement and coal, though the use of river barges along the Rio Verdi limits its reach into foreign markets.
Talk about expanding the rail links into The District of Garcia, following the Camino Muertos have been on-going for years, but finally seem to be meeting with fruition. The costs for such a development are substantial, equal in many ways to buying a hundred BattleMechs for the national military, but are essential as the nation needs a greater connection between its new capital district and the rest of the nation to facilitate trade, energy shipments and military unity. It is rumored that all the national companies are being canvased for support of developing the connection, and it should begin improvement soon.
Avianca Holdings : Avianca is a large airline that operates both cargo and passenger transport services, specializing in hauling goods to international destinations, though it possesses smaller regional interests as well. Headquartered in San Succi, it temporarily moved its hub in 3021 to Ciudad Garcia, but has slowly shifted some operations back to the capital as local AvGas sources became available with the improved operation of the local refinery, and stability of the city has been assured. It retains a large portion of its fleet in Ciudad Garcia, however, due to that city’s stability and access to technical services.
The company has become the largest single hauler of personnel and cargo world-wide, with its absorption of San Isabel’s national airway, and the failure of several rivals in San Marcos and Tragnar. The company has begun to look into expansion of its interstellar operations, by providing regular shuttle services to “The Factory”, though acquisition of dedicated passenger shuttles and crew remains a difficult proposition.
Coordinadora Mercantil : Founded in 2975, Coordinadora Mercantil is the oldest transportation company in Sangria. It maintains depots in each major town and city in the country, though it was never able to do more than establish a token interest in The District of Garcia, where its major competitor, Mercado Industrial Logistics (MIL) out of Mercado, holds a steady lock on business, especially with their support in the aggressive development of Bertling Logistics, and their interests in remote resource exploitation.
Satena : Satena is a government-owned airline, that operates domestic routes in Sangria. Its hub is El Dorado International Starport, from which it operates main fleet of seven (7) ATR-42-500s and -600s. Providing medium-haul duties, the company’s planes are fairly new and it is known for providing many services to the Sangrian people, such as in disaster relief and ambulance services. It also operates many smaller planes, such as modified Dragonfly (A-37) Light Attack Aircrafts on routes in isolated parts of the country.
Valledupar Metro : The Valledupar Metro is the passenger rail service that opened in 2987, as an urban rail service for the city of Valledupar and quickly expanded its service across the nation. In 3004, it had taken over all passenger rail traffic, with routes ranging from its primary railyards in Puerto Berrió, through Valledupar, and extending branches to all major towns in the bulk of the nation. Renowned for cost-effective service using modern rail cars imported from House Steiner, the company has shown a surprising profitability over the years. It has twenty-seven stations along its network, with seven more located within key urban locales, such as Valledupar and San Succi.
The company is also interested in the expansion of the Camino Muertos, and has expressed interest in assisting the development of this project, provided there is an extension of the rails along this route as well.
Garza’s Legion : The primary source of military protection within the city is Garza’s Legion, a large force of infantry and armored assets that protects both the city and The District of Cundinamarca. Although lacking close order and discipline, they are quite loyal to General Pierre Garza and the region as a whole. They are also well-supplied, though invariably lack heavy support weapons.
“The Alliance for the Restoration of Peace” (ARP) : When the nation first descended into chaos, the underground criminal organizations came to the fore, first with random attacks on food and water supplies, and later began to systematically raid others with anything of use to their survival. Looting and senseless violence slowly gave way to organized crime once more, and the territories of civilian government not under the control and protection of the government quickly became organized to supply the needed means of long-term survival.
Often simply referred to as “The Resistance”, the ARP were initially little more than organized rebel bandits. Individual groups lashed-out against the local military, Garza’s Legion, and conducted uncoordinated raids on supply convoys and patrols. Things took a decidedly different course in the wake of the Council of Tribes in mid-3024, a resistance group leader named Belisario Betancur convinced several gangs to discuss goals, organization, strategy and coordination. Although the bands continued to operate independently, resistance began to take on a more diplomatic form, though still punctuated by raids and simmering guerrilla-style resistance.
Today, this somewhat united force of rebels call themselves “The Alliance for the Restoration of Peace” (ARP), and it is well-known that many of the leaders of this group were former military officers and government officials in the Sangrian government. They are indifferently armed, and lack organization above the squad level. Initially called “Tribals” by many in the government, these units have managed to hold together despite the reunification of the local districts and city once more under the banner of a united Sangria.
Little more than independent criminal bands, these gangs continue to supply themselves with arms and equipment from raids on government sources. Though lacking in an organized structure as a whole with coherent planning, they are intelligently lead by personal goals too diverse in tactics to do more than operate a black market and oversee various private criminal agendas, such as smuggling, theft and protection rackets.
The city was first officially founded in 2541 from the “Quesada Expedition”, a number of colonists who came aboard the aging Aquilla-Class Transport JumpShip, “Quesada”. They came with the intent to build a lasting urban settlement under good order.
The settlement progressed for some time, despite the Reunification Wars, until a census in 2797 placed it at a population of 18,100. By 2827, the population was over 30,000. As industrialization increased, so too did the local population; poverty and violence soon followed.
The civil wars, starting in May of 3021, brought an end to an increasing prosperity in the city. The first night of rioting following the assassination of President Miguel Tazeal, was known as “San Succitzo”, wherein at least 5000 civilians died. In the riots and open warfare that continued afterwards, the industrial sector of the capital burned-down, taking a great deal of its new industry with it, including much of its infrastructure.
Great portions of the financial and industrial districts of the city have been devastated by low-level warfare between various new factions Existing markets and industry persists solely under the control of private armies and the local government’s military, who act largely like mercenary troops; they tend to protect only those organizations that pay “taxes” directly to their commanders, and don’t care too much about what happens outside their direct control. This means that trade still occurs, but usually under the guns of either these mercenary troops of the government, or under the “protection” of one or more local “tribal militia”, who collect the profits to fund their own personal agendas. The government, of course, thus controls the most guns and the largest of the industries.
In the years since the start of the 1000 Days War in 3021, the city has gone from being a city of neighborhoods, to a series of small, interconnected nations with vague, constantly shifting boundaries. It’s impossible to list the entire collection, as they come and go with the latest internal conflict, but they are collectively known by the government as “Tribals”, though this is a misleading term, as they refer to themselves as the ARP. Tribals want security above all, with their stable neighborhoods as unaffected by the outside conflicts as much as possible. They keep their forces mobile and active and often get their supplies from rival Tribals, or government shipments, who have what they want.
Today, though somewhat disorganized, the former capital of Sangria continues to develop itself despite recent losses in industry and economic investments. The city, as a whole, remains firmly under the control of the district government, though its individual neighborhoods might be disorganized and somewhat uncontrolled. The influence of the city on the district as a whole, however, is undisputed, and the Church assists with the rural areas, bringing in much-needed agricultural produce and income. Though largely fallen under the shadow of Ciudad Garcia, the city remains one of the most important urban centers in the country.