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Emerald City

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Welcome to the City of Emeralds, here in the land of Oz...

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The Emerald City is located in the exact center of the land of Oz, which can be found at the very end of Oz's famous Yellow Brick Road.

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Standing in the exact enter in Oz, which is the most greenest area in all the land, the famous Emerald City (City of Emeralds in the books) is a fictional city created by L. Frank Baum, author and creator of the Oz Legacy.

The City of Emeralds

You've got to be seen Green!

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When first writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in circa 1899, before it was finished and published, Baum was tempted to title the book The City of Emeralds. Until a superstitious friend/colleague of Baum's told him that naming stories after gems was bad luck.

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Popular artist W. W. Denslow was known for being a children's illustrator of that time. Denslow was the first to illustrate the original look of Baum's magical world of Oz, it's spellbinding characters and it's all green fantasy city. Denslow gave the city a very futuristic and elaborate 19th/20th century spanish style look, having many domed or oddly shaped roofs with tall gothic green glass windows and the quite detailed buildings all have an exotic Arabian design and look.

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The Emerald City, illustrated by W.W Denslow
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The Emerald City is a magnificent place indeed, stately, imposing and even intimidating. The equal of which has never been seen or discovered. (even in other enchanted realms and fairy lands.) In fact it is so magnificent that a bright green glow can be seen far off into the distance many miles away that shines brightly high above the city and into the sky even in broad daylight. The city also is surrounded by an extremely vast, high and handsome wall. Incredibly thick and of the finest green marble, polished smooth and set with giant sparkling emeralds that glisten and dazzle in the sun so brightly, it could easily blind one if not careful. There are four gates on each side of this wall each with two large solid gold poles on each side of the gates doors. And embroidered banners hang over the walkways entrances. These gates face each of the four vast countries in the Land of Oz. The Blue Munchkins of the East, the Purple Gillikins of the North, the Yellow Winkies of the West and the Red Quadlings of the South.

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A map of Oz, Emerald City is located in the exact center of the land.
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The main entrace in the front of the city is the only one that the yellow brick road leads into, and the entrance is said to be so wide that when the gaint emerald studded gate is thrown opened, five large horse drawn carriges could all entire at once and pass the gate and into the city with ease. The towers of the wall are all set at distances along the wall where the Royal Army of Oz's soilders can sit and watch for unwanted intruders, which is rarely, if ever. At the top of the wall there also is a marble walkway that connects these towers which are broad enough for four people to walk abreast upon which allows one to walk all the way around circling the entire city inside.

Inside the City of Emeralds

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Inside the Emerald City, the Wizard drives a saw horse drawn carrige with Dorothy the passenger, Aunt Em sits behind Dorothy and little Toto trots along infront. They say hello to a waving Scarecrow and also to Ozma, the Tinwoodman, Glinda and many other characters of Oz as they pass them all by.
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The graceful and elegant buildings are of stained green glass and built of marble as well. Some of the buildings are plated with real solid gold and silver set with splendid emeralds and gems. Hundreds of jeweled spires, domes, bridges and minarets flaunt green waving flags that all read 'Oz' which flutter in the wind in all it's green splendor. The sidewalks are of wide marble slabs polished smooth as glass, and the curbs are also set with clustered emeralds. Along these sidewalks and streets in the city are marble and glass houses, emerald studded sitting benches and light post, lovely green gardens filled with gorgeous green flowers, parks and green marble fountains that spray green purfumed water high up into the air.
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The city also has candy shops with green cotten candy and green chocolate. Green popcorn and lemonade stands. It is stated on Dorothy's first visit to the Emerald City, that once she was inside she saw rows of vendors happily selling green articles of every variety. And even a Seamstress in the green city streets stands around to sell beautiful green handmade clothing fit for an Emperor.

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The city buildings and stores are filled with green hats, clothing and shoes. Libraries with green books, and shops for children and babies filled with jolly green toys such as green dolls and green teddy bears. The city citizens purchase these green refreshments and items all with green coins and pennies.

At the center of the city, the glorious Royal Palace of Oz can be found which is the biggest and tallest tower in the entire city. This is the most important and noble place of the city, for this building alone is where the legendary King Pastoria himself once dwelled long before the Wizard arrived in Oz and chose to overthrow Pastoria and build his all green city around this Palace.

Now, the Palace is where the Wizard/Princess Ozma and all the royal green court of Oz's high society resided within. The Wizard eventually came back to Oz after resigning as the Wizard, and after Glinda found King Pastoria's long lost daughter Ozma, she now is ruler of the city and the land itself. The Palace is said to be three stories high, having seven passages which lead to the court room and it's Royal Chamber of the Throne Room of Oz. Before entering this room one must always wipe their feet on a green rug before allowed any further inside the Palace. Inside the vast and spacious Palace, the decor is decorated to accompany the spanish architecture design. The rooms are filled with rich green carpet, solid gold antique furniture and delicate pottery, such as all green marble vases that are said to be filled with neatly arranged green flowers or soft peacock feathers. The floor is marble also with green carpet, yet some parts of the Palace consist of all mirrored glass as well as the floors, walls and high glass ceilings with emerald chandeliers that gracefully light up the rooms and hallways aglow.

Emerald City Interior
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And there are many green maids and green servants who are happy to cater to the green court or it's guest. The most popular lady in waiting is the green maid Jellia Jamb who is in charge of assisting the Palace's private suites and bed chambers.

There are other buildings of importance within the Palace, such as the only prison in all the Land of Oz, which is hardly ever used.

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It is mentioned in the Oz books that when Dorothy Gale and her little black dog Toto moved from their rundown old farm in Kansas to live in the land of Oz permanently and into the Emerald City with her aunt and uncle, there were 9,654 buildings and 57,318 residents who reside there.
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Anyone who visits the Emerald City is more than welcome to come and live there if they wish. The people who already live in the city are very well off, prosperous and of good fortune. They dress in only the green finest garments of lovely silk, satin, and velvet with silver and gold buttons.
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These citizens are quite a fashioniable bunch, wearing elaborate fine accessories, all green of course. They all wear precious emeralds neatly sewn into the green embroidered outfits and always dressed to impress. They also are all extremely happy people and content, and free from care. There is no crime, violence poverty or death in the city. The residents of the city rarely ever venture beyond the marble wall and step foot past the golden gates outside, because the Emerald city is the most beautiful place in Oz.
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It is so comfortable and peaceful that no one truly wants to ever leave or live anywhere else.
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Inside the Emerald City, citizens walk and talk politely while shopping or working in the busy shops and streets.
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Although work is necessary to maintain the city and keep it looking flawlessly beautiful and glowing, to also provide food, electricity and fabric. It is said that no one works more than half of his or her time each day and the work is just as much fun as the play.

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The city has it's very own orchestra, known as the Emerald City Cornet Band, who entertain people or guest while the citizens throw splendid celebrations and rich banquets on important occasions such as the ruler of the Emerald City's lovely child Queen of the land in Oz, Princess Ozma's birthday which is August 21st of every year, even though Ozma herself never ages.

History

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Green Spectacles, which everyone in the city was forced to wear.
When the Emerald City was first built for the Wizard of Oz, after King Pastoria was overthrown by him, the people who were Pastoria's royal subjects in the land of Oz became the Wizards citizens. The thick skyscraper wall of marble that surrounded the entire city was completely green and covered in giant emeralds, but the city itself, while mostly all green, was not. However, the Wizard forced anyone who passed the city gates and entered into his Emerald City, to walk amoung it's buildings and streets was made to wear green-tinted spectacles/eyeglasses with two golden bands that went all the way around the head of the person who wore them. The bands are then connected and meet in the middle of the back. Then they are securely locked on and are unable to take off even if one wishes to do so. There is only one key that can unlock the gold bands which the Guardian of the Gates always has. The Guardian of the city gates is the one responsible for adorning people who wish to enter the city to put the glasses on which he keeps in a large bejewled treasure chest. Inside this chest are glasses of every size for the specific person to fit on or any animal even as big as the Cowardly Lion or even little Toto. The chest that contains these glasses is also locked with a giant golden key owned by the city Guardian.
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The Wizard later explains this as an effort to protect the peoples eyes from the "brightness and glory" of the city and for ones eyes would not be dazzled and then blinded by the magnificent emeralds, but it really just made everything appear green. So the people who lived in the city believed it really was all Emerald. This was a "humbug" and illusionist effect created by the Wizard to fool all of his subjects so they all would think he really had magical powers. (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz)
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After the Emerald City was conquered by General Jinjur and her Army of Revolt, the use of green spectacles was discontinued, although the city itself is still primarily green. (The Marvelous Land of Oz)
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Soon after Jinjur's revolt, Ozma, the rightful queen of Oz, came to power, greatly reforming the city. Many of her friends moved into the palace with her, as trusted advisors. ("The Marvelous Land of Oz")

When the Wizard returned to the city, Ozma made him her close advisor and a prominant figure in the city, one of the few individuals in Oz allowed to perform magic. ("Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz")

Over many years of Ozma's wise rule, the Emerald City became modern utopia of a city, with cars called Scalawagons filling its streets and a variety of magical and technological shops bustling with activity. It was sometimes called the Wonder City of Oz. ("The Wonder City of Oz")

Non-Canon Events

When Ozma accidentally changes the past of Oz, the Emerald City is transformed into a dark alternative metropolis, the Obsidian City. ("Paradox in Oz")
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In The Wicked Years

In Gregory Maguire's revisionist Oz novels, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West and Son of a Witch, the Emerald City is a much darker place than in Baum's novels. It does have splendid palaces and gardens, but also sections beset by crime and poverty. Son of a Witch introduces Southstairs, an extensive political prison located in the caves below the Emerald City. The hit Broadway Musical also portrayed the city as slightly more darker as well.


The 1939 MGM Movie

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The Emerald City in the classic MGM version starring Judy Garland is most likey the most well known look out of all the other Emerald Cities. The city is seen only from a great far off distance upon grassy, flowery hills beside neighboring mountains.

Unlike in Baum's descriptions of the city, this city has no gate, only a giant door. All of the buildings are constructed out of hundreds of skyscraper cylinder domes and thin towers crowded together. Inside of the city the domes have windows and doors and splendid gardens with green watered ponds.

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The Emerald City, seen from across the Poppy Field.
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The image was selected by MGM Art Department head Cedric Gibbons, from a tiny photo of a sketch in the studio's library. The work of a pre-1914 German artist, the picture suggested a city of upside-down test tubes — more abstract than the Moorish, Spanish styled version of the City that Denslow provided in the original book. Assistant art director Jack Martin Smith later explained that the MGM personnel chose the look because it did not resemble any known buildings in any style; "It looked like some strange thing we had never seen before."

Return to Oz

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The ruined Emerald City, as Dorothy finds it in Return to Oz.
This Emerald City stays much more faithful to the books in appearance than the 1939 version. Even though it is in Apocalyptic ruins throughout the majority of the film, the viewer gets a tantalizing veiw of what all of the city looks like on the inside during the Celebration scene towards the end. That scene was shot throughout the silver and gold hallways and mirrored Throne room.
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Minuture model of the Emerald City in Return to Oz.
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The Wiz

The Emerald City in the 1978's musical The Wiz, staring Diana Ross, is actually used (along with all of the land in Oz) as a metaphor for New York City. And the Twin Towers are used for the Palace of the Wizard played by Richard Prior. The city's residents are a group of aristocratic, stuckup, shallow and sophisticated phonies who are fashion foward and materialistic, only caring about how they look and whats in or out of style.

Oz the Great and Powerful

In Disney's 2013 film, Oz the Great and Powerful, the city is a copy cat replica pf the 1939's city with a more modern interior design.
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Oz arrives to the Emerald City via Hot Air Balloon.
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Emerald City Confidential

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The Emerald City as seen from the air.
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The video game Emerald City Confidential give the Emerald City a film noir feel and was described as "Baum meets Raymond Chandler."

Tin Man

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Central City, as seen in Infinite Oz.
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At the center of the O.Z. is a massive city known as Central City. This city is where the Mystic Man can be found. It is a dangerous city filled with corruption. ("Tin Man")

It is revealed that the O.Z. is actually the same Land of Oz visited by Dorothy Gale hundreds of years after her visit. As such, Central City would presumably be a much changed version of the Emerald City -- though the city shows no sign of its original Emerald coloring.

The Muppets Wizard of Oz

In the 2005 Disney made for TV movie, starring pop singer Ashanti as Dorothy, the Emerald City is more modern and electrified in the night.
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Wicked: The Musical

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The Emerald City appears Wicked: The Musical, serving a similar role to the one in the book. It is prominantly featured on the Map of Oz shown in the musical.

Background

Although at one point, the character Tip describes the city as being built by the Wizard, at another, the Scarecrow explains that the Wizard had usurped the crown of Pastoria, the former king of the city, and from the Wizard the crown had passed to him.[1] The story, however, reverted to the Wizard having built the city in Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, with the usurpation of the king's power being done by the four witches before his arrival.[2]

In the first book, one scene of the Emerald City is of particular note in the development of Oz: Dorothy sees rows of shops, selling green articles of every variety, and a vendor of green lemonade, from whom children bought it with green pennies. This contrasts with the later description of Oz, in which money does not feature. Interpreters have argued that money may been introduced into the city by the Wizard, but this is not in the text itself.[3]

Insperation

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It is rumored that Baum was inspired to make his fantasy city of Oz an alternative version of the "'White City'", which was one of the most magnificent places built for it's time. It is said that he was so enchanted and impressed with the fine and detailed architecture of the place when it was opened to the public as the World's Fair, on his visit he fell in love with it's glowing bright lights that lite all of the big buildings up so beautifully. He wanted his Emerald City to be much like it when writing his book, but instead of naming it White, he chose to call it Emeralds instead.
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when he went to Chicago for the World Fair, many Historians and Oz Scholars who interpret The Wizard of Oz as a political allegory agree that the Emerald City was used as a metaphor for Washington, D.C. and unsecured "greenback" paper money. In this reading of the book, the city's illusory splendor and value is compared with the value of paper money, which also has value only because of a shared illusion or convention. It is highly likely that the Hotel del Coronado influenced its description in later books, as well as in the artwork by John R. Neill.
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Allusions in popular culture

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Seattle has been long nicked named the Emerald City due to all it's green night lights that makes the city appear to be all green just like in Oz.

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The Yellow Brick Road and the Emerald City, from a brosure for the 2012 Philadelphia Film Festival.
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David Williamson (whose brother-in-law wrote the Oz-inspired musical Oz) wrote a play in 1987 called Emerald City. The term is used as a metaphor by the character Elaine Ross, describing Sydney as "the Emerald City of Oz", where people go expecting their dreams to be fulfilled, only to end up with superficial substitutes and broken dreams.

The 2006 Sydney New Year's Eve Festivities were entitled "A Diamond Night in Emerald City" also in reference to Williamson's play and the "Diamond Night" alluding to the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 2007. (The bridge was the centrepiece of the celebrations). Subsequently "Emerald City" has occasionally been used as an unofficial nickname for the city of Sydney.

The city of Seattle, Washington, in the United States uses "The Emerald City" as its official nickname, on account of how green it is in that region of the world. (Note: Washington State is also known as the "Evergreen State.")

Gallery

References

  1. Riley, pp. 106-7.
  2. Riley, pp. 145-6.
  3. Jack Zipes, When Dreams Came True: Classical Fairy Tales and Their Tradition, New York, Routledge, 1998; pp. 175-6. ISBN 0-415-92151-1
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