Knidola is typical of many urban areas on Kassidor with multiple centers and many great locks. The contiguous urban population is 31 million today, but no single center looks anywhere near that large. There is very little area where the inhabitants grow less than they eat, narrow bands along the major roads and waterways. The urban population is very urban however, and those who live in the city usually live totally urban lifestyles. The city is quite diffuse, the entire Zhlindu city map, with almost twice the population, fits easily into the southwest corner of this one without covering any of the labels.
The city is so tenuous it barely shows on the basin map because the bands of urbanization along the shore and canals are so narrow. Unlike Trastrab however, the inhabitants are aware of the city of Knidola, though a few still call it 'The Kingdom'. The city is a cultural and economic unit with scheduled passenger service on the waterways and roads, a single currency, city wide magazines. Since the starship age there have been city-wide music and video networks. There is a single tube line from the lake to the Knidola River following the lockway, with another one under construction along the lakeshore.
The city today barely fits in what was the whole kingdom of the West Sylvan Elves for the first thousand years of it's existence. That has probably helped the residents feel more of a sense of place than in other diffuse cities such as Trastrab or Lumpral.
Like Kassidor Yakhan and Korsto, Knidola is at the outlet of a large lake. The original capital of the kingdom of Knidola is almost a hundred miles downstream on the river, and today there is a contiguous urban connection all along the lockway and its lake shores all the way to Knidola lake. There are over a hundred miles of seaports and beaches along the lake with contiguous urban connection.
Knidola along the lockway looks more like a collection of old sylvan cities built together than a big new one. They look like the Yakhan did in the 40's with a lot more stone buildings and pedestrian and keda-drawn traffic mixing on the biggest thoroughfares. Most streets are narrow and lined with four to six story townhomes with the clan's business in the first one or two and residence above. Most of the heavy industry is along the canals or the locks themselves, but there are many shops powered by cordwood alone, and like Zhlindu, Kyeb and Hrrst, much of the industry is actually muscle driven.
Culturally, the city is the center of the central part of the basin only. There are few bonfires and tent festivals in the city, but because the city is such narrow bands of urban settlement, most urban residents have been to them on numerous occasions. Economically the city is the center of the whole basin. There is no other city of over a million in the basin, and to the west there is no other large city for ten years travel for the average resident. Knidola has more industry than either Prvest or Platicivetri, though both are larger. It is not because of water power, the lake level is only 172 feet above the river and was raised only 107 feet to create the lake. Most of the industry is along the lockway.
Most cultural opportunities are along the lake. It is very common for residents of the 'Lower City' as they call the centers down the lockway, to 'vacation' along the lake. For many of them it takes a week to get there and a week to get back if they don't have the means for a coach or liner. On the lake they may stay in any mode from rough camping to swank resorts. Most residents of the lower city stay for a year. Those who have come farther may stay longer.
The lakefront is spectacularly beautiful with white crescent beaches walled in by lush green hills. The seaports rollick with clubs all along the docks. The architecture is completely different than along the lockway, it is more grown and planked, less stone. What stone there is, is usually rough. Signs are painted, not carved. Many back streets are paved with sand. The lanterns are brighter in the dark and the music is louder.
There are resorts here with a sport called 'toog' which involves kicking a soccer ball thru a series of wickets with the fewest possible kicks. The more adventurous also allow a player to kick an opponent's ball, but must count two kicks. The courses are very much like golf courses with wide lawns and beautiful landscaping (maintained by grazing animals, lentosaur will kick the ball back to you at times if you get it near them,) and delightful views.
Because so many women are on the shore on holiday, the Knidola beach scene is the best place for sexual encounters in the basin. They are just as naked as any other beach scene on Kassidor, but unlike the Highlands, they will not make an issue of your clothing in casual conversation. Sitting at a beach bar in Knidola is the most common place on the planet for a clothed guy to converse with a nude woman (and vice versa). Since they are more often than not cute and perky, this can be pleasant. If you want to move beyond casual conversation she is going to need to see your skin to proceed.
There is a row of taps, cooks, inns and curio shops backing just about every urban beach, there half the people are dressed, the others have walked over from the beach. Some taps have seating in the sun, most have awnings. There's a well-worn path along the front of the stalls between them and the beach. Most beaches are backed only by walk-ups in archwood, most of them are short term residents. In the more built-up areas there are some twelve and twenty story growth, but there is hardly any crystal in Knidola anywhere until now.
The city is the heart of the upbeat, twangy, foot stomping brand of Elvish music that the basin is known for. Because Knidola was not a well known basin until recent times, some think their music was influenced by that of Platicivetri, but it is the other way around. The Eastern Sylvan Elves brought this music with them when they migrated from East Brierland just after The Fall. There are lots of bands in lots of small to medium sized venues, usually on the waterfront of the lake. The biggest venues are in the cities of the lockway however.
In music there is a tendency for one band to dominate one city along the shore. Touring is somewhat impractical because of the travel time, except along the tube line. There will be more than one band in each beach town, and sometimes contests at the big resorts. The biggest popular magazines are the arbiters, and some say they are partial in some cases. The magazines are shot and laid out in the beach cities but printed in cities down the lockway and shipped back up.
There are some bands that tour the shoreline on their own boat. They play the smaller beaches out away from the towns. That boat is home, studio and stage for the musicians. If a girl band invites you to their boat, and the boat doesn't smell bad, go for it. Don't worry about the other guys, they won't invite more than they want.
The tube system is having a great impact on the city. It has already enlivened the cities of the lockway and construction is already booming along the route of the beach tube. Because getting to Knidola is such an arduous journey, it may be complete by the time you can get there.