It’s a long, long way to Ba Sing Se, but the buildings in the city they look so pretty. Or at the very least, they look like the model of an ancient Middle Eastern city. Fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender are comparing Baghdad to the Earth Kingdom’s city of Ba Sing Se after Twitter user @iamafroze tweeted a picture of a 3D model of what the capital city of Iraq looked like in the 8th century A.D.
To harp on the comparison between the real-life city of Baghdad and the fictional world that Avatar fans love, @ErikW03442863 posted a picture of the same model of ancient Baghdad and inserted the Cabbage Man, the recurring NPC of the Avatar series whose cabbage crops always get unintentionally destroyed and Aang and the gang.
Other Twitter users have also compared the architecture of ancient Baghdad to the walled cities of Paradis from Attack on Titan, but most of them maintained that it bears a striking resemblance to Avatar’s Ba Sing Se because they’re both insular cities that walled themselves out from the rest of the world. The difference is that the walls of 8th century Baghdad were built with symmetrical rings shrinking in diameter and proximity to Mansur’s palace — hence its nickname, the Round City — while Ba Sing Se’s walls had asymmetrical rings.
The comparison between 8th century Baghdad and Ba Sing Se also resurrected the fan theory that the creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender cited the architecture of Baghdad as inspiration for the creation of the Earth Kingdom’s capital city. While comparing the circumferential city of Baghdad to Ba Sing Se is a grand gesture from Avatar aficionados, there is no evidence that Ba Sing Se was actually inspired by that.
The Round City was built on a moat by the Abbasid caliph, Jafar al-Mansur from the summer of 762 through 766, with the outer wall rising 80 feet from the banks of the Tigris and his palace sitting at the very heart of the city — a remarkable feat of Islamic urban design. The design of Ba Sing Se takes after Beijing, China, whereas the walls separated people based on their social and economic class, the Royal Palace was inspired by the Forbidden City, and the Outer Wall takes after the Great Wall of China due to its magnificent size and scale.
Next: Korra Makes For A More Exciting Avatar Setting Than Last Airbender
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Cristina Alexander is a writer who can transform her pen into a Keyblade and has been head over heels for Sonic the Hedgehog from the age of 9. Her work was previously seen on Mega Visions (formerly SEGA Nerds), KeenGamer, and Twinfinite. Find her on Twitter @SonicPrincess15.
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