Astras al-Harad (also known as the City of the Harpy) is a city located in uttermost south-west of Near Harad. The city is famous for being the first capital of the Astrasi Empire.
New City States
The city was established by Karseius III., a decedent of the last Serpentlord of the Old Empire. After the fall of the New Empire the city grew and became a powerful city state among with Ajtiaz al-Harad. The famous Harpycult started here as well and was the regional form of Southron Mythology dominant around the city. The Harpy was adopted as symbol of the city long before the creation of the Astrasi Empire. The then Serpent (ruler) and founder of the city Karseius III. rapidly increased his influence over in Near Harad by bringing Harandor back under Near Haradrim control after a diplomatic agreement. This soon after led to the creation of the Astrasi Empire, an empire which would bear the name of Astras al-Harad as it's capital city.
Early Astrasi Empire
During the reign of Karseius III. the city grew rapidly and became the center of power on the subcontinent of Harad, rivaling the once mighty but fallen Old Ain al-Harad. Astrasi culture spread throughout Near and Far Harad and the Harpycult was adopted as dominant form of Southron Mythology across Harad, leading in a sudden decrease in worship of the old Near Haradrim gods. The city peaked in power during the Astrasi annexation of Mordor. Some time after the coronation of second Astrasi Empress shamiir Astras al-Harad lost it's status as capital city to Ajtiaz al-Harad. This marked the slow decline of the city. Soon after first Astrasi Emperor Karseius III. died of old age and was buried in a tomb overseeing the city.
High Astrasi Empire
Although still an important symbol for the Astrasi Empire, the city lost most of it's population and political meaning. Only the Temple of the Harpy and the tomb of Karseius III. were the two significant locations which still drew Haradrim pilgrims to the city.
Late Astrasi Empire
During the Late Astrasi Empire the city remained desolated. Karseius IV., last decendent of the Karsassid dynasty and rightful heir to the city, gave up his titles to Astras al-Harad to focus on building a new Ain al-Harad. The city was then gifted to VeryDarkDino, who now holds the claims to the city. Although the city lost most of it's most significant meaning, it has regained a stable population since under the new rule of VeryDarkDino.
Once the capital of the Astrasi Empire, Astras al-Harad is now merely the administrative capital of the Astras Province. Still, the city has not lost it's cultural and religious importance in the Astrasi Empire. The oldest Harpy temple is located in the city and is an important destination for Harpy worshipers. Also most of the monuments erected during the early Astrasi Empire like the Emperor's Palace and the Imperial Tower are still in great condition.
The architecture of Astras al-Harad is heavily influenced by the architecture of the Ain region typical by the Karsassid Dynasty. The city features the oldest Harpy statues in Middle-Earth. The palace as well as the tomb are integrated into the mountains surrounding the city.