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The Incredible Story of Angliaterra, Pt 1 of 3

Like the discovery of Chin Shr Huang's tomb in China in the early 1970s, the discovery of a living city that has basically been hidden for a 1000 years comes as almost a shock. For those that have not yet heard, the City of Angliaterra in Southern France, just north of the Pyranees was recently discovered to have hidden within it another city, the inhabitants of which have had no contact with the outside world for at least 800 years. Perhaps even more fantastic than this fact is the notion of precisely how the inhabitants were able to keep themselves hidden for so long. Indeed, the more that is learned about this city, the more incredible it seems. For instance, the inhabitants of the inner city apparently speak a language that is largely unrelated to French or Spanish, and even connections to Basque (essentially a pre-indo-European language) have not yet been clearly established.

Basically, Angliaterra is a medieval walled city on a large plain at the base of the Pyrannees. From afar the view of the city is quite impressive albeit with angles and shapes that are rather more stark than other cities in the region; and the setting sun causes the city to cast long shadows on the plain in the golden light. Although fairly picturesque, the city resisted attempts by the French government to make it more tourist-friendly, and it can now be surmised why. The architecture of the city is quite dense, and in fact hides within it another city wall behind which another set of inhabitants have dwelled for all this time. The name of the inner city is not yet known, nor is it clear that it even has a name, and inhabitants of the outer city are not particularly willing yet to say much about the inner city. In fact, speaking of the inner city was more or less forbidden except in very well-defined near-ceremonial circumstances, and only by the select few that were entrusted with the full secret. (And how several thousand inhabitants of the outer city could live without being aware of the inner city, housing another 1000 or more poeple is itself fascinating and will be discussed later.)

That a large city wall could be hidden inside a city like Angliaterra may suprise some, but not those who have visited the city. First of all, the city is dense and maze-like and the inner wall is by design built into many of the buildings in Angliaterra. Also apparently by design, the shape of the wall is irregular and complex, so that it would be more or less impossible to infer the presence of a normal wall from the buildings and wall segments that it consists of. As the Angliaterrans are gaurdians of the secret, any suspicious visitors over the years that may have asked too many questions were quickly expelled from the city for a variety of ostensible reasons, giving the Angliaterrans a reputation for being quixotic at best, and unfriendly and even manacing at worst.

The origins of the inner city are emerging and mysterious, but some things can be surmised. The city seems to have begun some time during the later middle-ages, probably during some of the plague-years. Another legend has it that the city began in response to the Inquisition: It may have held some kind of ecuemenical community consisting of Christians, Jews and Moorish Moslems, though the few photos that have emerged from the inner-city indicate Sufi symbolism in the architecture, so the city may have been constructed by an obscure Sufi sect in order to hide itself from the plague and the Inquisition.

Clearly, the City has very unique roots, and its inhabitants seemed to have developed an alternative culture that in some ways is surpisingly advanced, particularly given the fact that the Inner City has been cut off from any technology developed much later than perhaps 1500 AD. (Morever, early indications are that even some of that technology may have been developed independently by the inner-city dwellers, indicating that there cut-off from the outside world may have occurred centuries before that time.) In some areas of technological development, however, they seemed to have far-exceeded the outside world. For instance, glass-making in the inner city seems to have surpassed even some 21st century glassmaking. As one single example of many, examination of glass lenses that were ostensibly produced by Angliaterra reveals that they are of a very advanced "Gradient Index" (GRIN) design, which means they could correct for chromatic and other optical abberations in a single glass element. (Contrast that with the fact that GRINs have only been manufactured in the 'outer world' for a decade or two.)

What such advanced optical elements might have been (or perhaps still are) used for is still somewhat unclear. However, the discovery of the inner city of Angliaterra can be tied directly to the artist David Hockney, and his investigation of the use by Renaissance Artists of a technique known as "Camera Lumina". A Camera Lumina is a lensed device used to project images onto a screen and that Flemish painters appear to have used in composing their pictures. Hockney was examining samples of Camera Lumina and came across one that projected an astonishingly accurate image, absent the chromatic and other abberations present in all others. Through a fairly intense effort, Hockney was able to trace the origin of the unusual Camera Lumina and its 'impossible' GRIN lenses back to Angliaterra.

That a complete Camera Lumina emerged from Angliaterra is itself something of a mystery, as the inhabitants of the outer city almost always dis-assembled items obtained from the inner city, selling off the pieces as part of simple toys, tourist objects, or even more innocuous items. This was apparently deliberate and done to hide the existence of the more advanced inner city.

When Hockney arrived at Angliaterra he was unable to find anyone who could speak intelligently about the item or even knew what it was. This caused him to eventually risk his life trying to find the individuals in the city that had produced the item. Though the full story is well beyond the scope of this small piece, the suggestion has been made that the inner city inhabitants may have deliberately caused a complete Camera Lumina to be leaked to the outside world, for reasons not yet understood but that Hockney himself is now claiming link directly to an ancient plan by the inner-city inhabitants to reveal themselves to the world.

Precisely why the inner-city inhabitants chose such an obscure route to reveal themselves is also not understood, and several theories (all of which are probably partially accurate) have emerged. One idea is that the Angliaterrans were so adapted in their lifestyles to supporting, hiding, and deriving various benefits from the inner city inhabitants, that they may have to some extent held the inner city inhabitants almost captive. Or at least, this may have been the perception on the part of the inner city inhabitants who had, to say the least, a very complex relationship to the Angliaterrans.

As for the inner-city inhabitants themselves, much can and will be said, all of it very suprising.

Great idea

Really enjoyed this, particularly the unexpected introduction of the David Hockney connection. I think his discovery of the inner city and his attempt to get into it would make a great story in its own right.

kelson.philo's picture

I wonder what google maps

I wonder what google maps might reveal of this fascinating place...

Secret locations

There are plenty of places in the UK that are wiped from the maps. I saw an article on TV only recently of an entire village that was commandeered as war began with a promise to the inhabitants that it was temporary, for practice during the war. The authorities have, of course, kept it and they keep it off the maps too. The displaced residents (actually their decendants mainly now) are still fighting to get it back. - Sorry for veering off topic slightly here.

KarnuVap - but you can call me Mr. Vap.

Google maps

Google maps is strangely blurred out over Angliatera!

kelson.philo's picture

Tricky bastids...I just had

Tricky bastids...I just had a picture of someone being a bad tourist with a megaphone walking around and projecting GIVE UP YOUR SECRETS! I'VE GOT CASH... all over the place.