The city of Solare was once extremely prosperous, but the economy has taken several very strong hits. Today, Solare has one of the largest populations of poor people in Ivona, and the situation doesn't seem likely to change anytime soon.
The town is officially run by Mayor Bernstein and a group of twelve Councilors, but outside of the more prosperous southern area of the city, they are more or less impotent, and there is nobody at all calling the shots.
Despite its current unfortunate state, the city of Solare has a long and prosperous history. It was one of the very first cities established on Reial, and was even the Capital of Ivona for a time before being displaced by Bellcius. It was renown for its beautiful architecture, and prosperous population. It was truly a wonderful place to live.
But over time, things started to worsen. Overuse caused the local natural resources to dry up, making manufacturing and mining more difficult. In addition, the gradual westward shift of the country's population isolated Solare geographically, and encouraged business to migrate to more central areas. Throw in the aging buildings that composed most of the city, and the difficulty and expense involved in renovating them, and the economy started to circle the drain.
Making things worse still was a series of some of the most corrupt administrations Reial has ever seen, culminating in Mayor Fenton being caught embezzelling millions of francs; money that was never recovered. His successor promised improvements, but they were not forthcoming, and the city's economy collapsed completely.
When things took a turn for the worse, most of those rich families got out while the going was good, selling their land and buying new land in Bellcius or Melior. However, some remained behind in the city. Some of them wanted to preserve their ancestral estates. Others were certain that the local economy would recover, and that those who left were being too hasty. And others, such as the Wisla family, were simply going through tough times and could not afford to move yet.
Whatever their reasons, they soon found themselves virtually trapped in Solare. As the price of land plummeted in Solare, and skyrocketed in more prosperous regions, it became prohibitively expensive for entire families to relocate, which was accentuated by the bottom falling out of Solare's economy altogether, impoverishing them.
Today, Solare is not even a shadow of its former self. Most of its beautiful architecture and history has been despoiled by vandals and thieves, and many fear that the city will never be restored to its former glory.
The city was founded around the Solare River, a tributary of the Ondin River. It cuts through the town, dividing it into north and south. South of the river that cuts through the city is in relatively good order: living conditions are nothing at all like you would find in prosperous areas of Bellcius and Melior, but they are quite livable. This is where all the stranded nobles and other relatively wealthy business people live, and so it is kept in as good of shape as possible.
North of the river, however, is a completely different story. Essential services have broken down here, and they have broken down hard. Unemployment runs rampant, and as a result crime is at an all-time high. What few police officers that do patrol the North are relatively impotent: they simply don't have the manpower to keep the streets safe. Sticking their necks out too far can get them cut off, so they don't, just making arrests here and there to try and keep the worst off of the street.
With little police presence, there is also very little true order. Food is scarce, and frequently fought over or stolen. Running a business means being ready to defend yourself with a weapon at any moment. The streets are filthy, and every few years some plague or another runs through the Solare slums, killing dozens and inconveniencing hundreds of others. Young men and women frequently fall into gangs for their own protection. If any place can be truly be called Hell on Reial, it is Solare's northern districts.
The surrounding area is all flatlands, although it does have a proximity to both Reial's edge and Kidal Lake.
To the south of the river, the population is fairly affluent, and live in good conditions. They generally work int he family business, or providing services for other residents of the Southern districts.
The North is composed almost entirely of unskilled workers and criminals. Poverty is rampant, as it disease and crime. There is virtually no work to be found here.
The population of the northern districts are almost entirely uneducated. Primary and secondary schools to operate, but barely, and many children eschew them, leading to mass illiteracy.
The south is in better condition than that, but there is only one post-secondary institution still operating, Solare College, and even that is something of a joke among academic circles. Most Southerners go to Melior or Bellcius for post-secondary education.
Solare has very little to see. The economic downturn has homogenized the entire city, so that to an outside observer every area is almost entirely the same as the areas around it.