For more than 4,000 years, Absalom has been the City at the Center of the World, a metropolis-sized showcase of the greatest treasures in all Golarion. of the greatest treasures in all Golarion. The importance and influence of Absalom upon the Inner Sea and the whole of Golarion cannot be overstated. The city not only holds a key strategic position for both commercial and military endeavors in the region, but encompasses the site of the ascension of four deities and claims to have been founded by none other than the Last Azlanti, the god Aroden. It is not without reason that the passage of time throughout the world is counted in Absalom Reckoning. This great city even extends beyond the Material Plane; although a pale reflection of its namesake, Shadow Absalom is the greatest city on the Plane of Shadow, inhabited by fetchlings, other humanoids, and undead.
Situated on the southern coast of the Isle of Kortos, Absalom is the largest city in the Inner Sea region and quite possibly the entire world. The ice-capped peaks of the Kortos Mounts are among the highest known in the world, stretching high above treeline. Countless abandoned siege engines and constructions of war from the numerous failed attempts throughout history to take the city by force lie scattered throughout the surrounding countryside in what has become known as the Cairnlands and the wreckage of armadas of unsuccessful attempts on the city from the sea all but block the wide harbor in a mass known as the Flotsam Graveyard.
The city itself is enormous: it stretches more than seven miles from the Starwatch Keep to Azlanti Keep and more than five miles from Westgate to Eastgate, and Absalom has three times as many residents as the capital of Cheliax, Egorian.
Absalom's great wealth is driven by trade, so the city's rulers strive to craft policies favorable to commerce (and their own interests), but otherwise take a relatively laissez-faire approach to regulation. Taxes in the city are very light, although Siege Taxes during wartime may be significantly higher. There are no property taxes, although the city charges for access to roads, sanitation, and other public infrastructure. Modest taxes on foreign merchants, fees for pilots through the Flotsam Graveyard, and docking fees, are generally sufficient to supply the city's needs.
Absalom is ruled by the Grand Council which is chaired by the primarch, a position currently held by Lord Gyr of House Gixx. The Council has twelve high seats (including the primarch's) and a variable number of low seats. Most of the city's administrative positions are filled by members of the Council, the more sought after titles going to members of the High Council. The position of primarch is held for life and decided upon by the High Council. It has additional privileges unique to the position granting the holder considerable power over the Council, and by corollary, the City at the Center of the World itself. Much of the day-to-day administration are handled by the district councils of Absalom. The district councils are headed by a nomarch, who is appointed by the Low Council with the approval of the primarch.