Exploring the Life and Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs

FAQs, Articles, Reviews, Persona Directory, Hall of Memory
Summarizing ERB's works one chapter at a time
Shorts, Novels, Poetry, Plays, Pulps
Articles, Contributors: Tangor Responds, Edgardemain, ERB: In Focus, Nkima Speaks, Beyond 30W, Tantor Trumpets, Dime Lectures, Korak in Pal-ul-don, Public Domain novels of ERB
Worlds of: Barsoom, Pellucidar, Moon, Amtor, Caspak, Pal-u-don

"WE STILL LIVE!" ...John Carter
Copyright © 1982, 1996-2003 All Rights Reserved.


General Construction

The descriptions of Martian architecture given by John Carter in the first half of the Barsoom series gives the reader an impression of large, empty cities on the desert sea bottoms and of vital, densely populated newer cities. The building styles appear to be domes (often burnished), towers which are ornamented with elaborate carvings from the fifth story to their crowns, minarets, large low buildings and personal residences built on hydraulic systems that will elevate the dwelling at night for the protection of the occupants. In the residential areas there is much rooftop living, often under silk canopies. Construction finishes occasionally embrace vivid colors such as the Scarlet Tower. Each city has a central plaza, often with a fountain supplied by an underground source, which houses a common market consisting of temporary shelters of canvas and hides. In the later books of the series the reader gains a sense of cities more terrestrial in nature with warehouses, hotels, inns, restaurants and, in some quarters, houses of ill-repute.

Many Barsoomian cities are surrounded by defensive walls--the walls of Kaol, for example, are 75 feet in height and smooth as glass. Walled cities often have businesses or dwellings embedded in the immense fortifications. Airships generally berth in roof-top towers which are connected by elevators to the floors or street below. Air-conditioning is not known on Barsoom, but mechanical room ventilators are used; the vents are located in ceiling and floor. Buildings are often decorated with balconies featuring ornamented iron works. In wealthier cities the use of gold and gems as finishing materials can be found. Murals are prevalent in interior spaces. Level changes in buildings are accomplished with inclined ramps, stairs are not in general use on Barsoom, though they are found in the kaldane region of Mars and on Ladan (Thuria) the nearer moon.

The ancient dead cities of Barsoom can be very large. Great avenues and huge quays and wharf areas show where the vanished oceans once lay. Nearly all cities have immense underground ways, usually dungeons or manufacturing areas to produce the explosive radium projectiles that detonate in the presence of sunlight. Though the dead cities of Mars are deserted by human occupation, these areas are frequently used by green nomads and the fierce white apes because some water can usually be found and the moss, which provides moisture for thoats and other creatures, finds better soil in the crumbling ruins than upon the vast dead sea bottoms. Other plants, forgotten orchards, also provide sustinence.

Aisle of Hope
-- leads to the Throne of Righteousness in the Temple of Reward, Greater Helium. (GODS)
Atmosphere Plant
-- originally created by the ancient Orovars, a small monk-like group of red men now operate the vast mechanism which maintains a breathable atmosphere for the inhabitants of Barsoom.
Avenue of Ancestors
-- a street in Helium leading from the Gate of Jeddaks to the Temple of Reward (Gods)
Avenue of Gates
-- a street of Manator which encirles the city behind the defensive wall.
Avenue of the Green Thoat
-- a street of Zodanga where Vandor (John Carter) dueled with Uldak. (Swords)
Avenue of the Jeddaks
-- ran though the ancient city of Horz until it met the Avenue of Quays. (Llana)
Avenue of Quays
-- Aanathor; lined by great monoliths leading to the plaza (Thuvia)
Avenue of Quays
-- Horz; connects with Avenue of Jeddaks (Horz) LLANA
Avenue of Warriors
-- Zodanga SWORDS
-- man-made waterways transporting water from the polar caps into the inhabited regions of Barsoom. Generally bordered by trees and agricultural areas, often accompanied by a broad roadway.
Chamber of Mystery
-- in the Golden Cliffs (Chapter title in GODS).
Chamber of Reptiles
-- in the Golden Cliffs
domed cities
-- in the frozen north lie the domed cities of the yellow men.
East Tower
-- Tjanath
Fields of Jetan, by Tangor
Fields of Jetan
-- a stadium in Manator where the Barsoomian game is played by living pieces. Every ten years the great games are played. Bordered by buildings collectively known as the Towers of Jetan.
Garden of Jeddaks
-- located in Salensus Oll's palace at Kadabra, Okar
Gates of Enemies
-- one of the many gates of Manator; here are displayed the mummified remains of honored enemies.
Gate of Jeddaks
-- main gate of Helium; opens onto the Avenue of Ancestors, which runs five miles to the Temple of Reward. (GODS)
Golden Temple of Issus
-- located in the city of First Born, south pole. (GODS)
One may speak of scarlet sward and ivory-stemmed trees decked with brilliant purple blooms; of winding walks paved with crushed rubies, with emerald, with turquoise, even with diamonds themselves; of a magnificent temple of burnished gold, hand-wrought with marvellous designs; but where are the words to describe the glorious colours that are unknown to earthly eyes? where the mind or the imagination that can grasp the gorgeous scintillations of unheard-of rays as they emanate from the thousand nameless jewels of Barsoom?
   Even my eyes, for long years accustomed to the barbaric splendours of a Martian Jeddak's court, were amazed at the glory of the scene. (GODS)
Great Plaza
-- the central square beside the dator's palace in Kamtol.
Guardian of the North
-- a magnetic device in Okar that is used to destroy airships; built over the north pole. (WARLORD)
Hall of Chiefs
-- herein are displayed the past jeds and jeddaks of Manator; a long, wide hall ornately decorated. (CHESSMEN)
High Tower
-- the tallest turret overlooking the Field of Jetan, Manator. (CHESSMEN)
Kaolian Road
-- Kaol (WARLORD)
Laboratory Building
-- where Ras Thavas worked and was held prisoner; located in the island city of Morbus
Lesser Games
-- In Kamtol, Valley of First Born
No. 4 Vat Room
-- Room in the Morbus Laboratory Building where Ras Thavas' artificial life culture ran wild. (Synthetic)
Palace of Peace
-- government building, Ptarth. Location of the embassies of foreign nations, though the ministers of these detachments reside in palaces in the district occupied by Ptarth's nobility.
Pedestal of Truth
-- located in the Temple of Reward, Helium. (GODS)
Pit of Plenty
-- elaborate torture pit located Kadabra, Okar (WARLORD)
-- Hotel located in Virginia.
Reclamation Laboratory No. 3
-- where disabled or dysfunctioning hormads were returned to the vat for regeneration; located in Morbus.
Scarlet Tower
-- Greater Helium (destroyed by the terrific sandstorm described in Chessmen)
Southern Road
-- in Dusar. Connects the farming areas along the canal.
Tarid castle
-- constructed of precious stones and gems, the remnants of the Tarid nation occupy only a small portion of this vast and many towered edifice. (Swords)
Temple of Beauty
-- a premier art gallery in Helium.
Temple of Issus
-- see Golden Temple of Issus.
Temple of Knowledge
-- Helium
Temple of Reward
-- Helium
From the deck of the Xavarian we four, Carthoris, Tars Tarkas, Xodar, and I, were transferred to a lesser flier to be transported to quarters within the Temple of Reward. It is here that Martian justice is meted to benefactor and malefactor. Here the hero is decorated. Here the felon is condemned.(Gods)
   A vast circular 10,000 seat domed coliseum; central is a platform, the Throne of Righteousness, where judges sit in a circle about the periphery of the platform; a small platform in the exact centre of the larger one is the Pedestal of Truth from which an accused hears or gives testimony. (GODS)
Temple of the Sun
-- in the Temple of Issus.
   It lies far within the inner court of the Temple of Issus, a little temple that raises a thin spire far above the spires and minarets of the great temple that surrounds it. Beneath it, in the ground, there lies the main body of the temple consisting in six hundred and eighty-seven circular chambers, one below another. To each chamber a single corridor leads through solid rock from the pits of Issus.
   "As the entire Temple of the Sun revolves once with each revolution of Barsoom about the sun, but once each year does the entrance to each separate chamber come opposite the mouth of the corridor which forms its only link to the world without.
   "Here Issus puts those who displease her, but whom she does not care to execute forthwith. Or to punish a noble of the First Born she may cause him to be placed within a chamber of the Temple of the Sun for a year. Ofttimes she imprisons an executioner with the condemned, that death may come in a certain horrible form upon a given day, or again but enough food is deposited in the chamber to sustain life but the number of days that Issus has allotted for mental anguish.
Temple of Tur
-- Phundahl; a major fixture is a gigantic statue.
Throne of Righteousness
-- located Temple of Reward, Helium (GODS)
Tower of Diamonds
-- tallest tower of the Tarids' castle, Ombra (Ladan)
Tower of Jetan
-- borders the Fields of Jetan, Manator
Tower of Luud
-- Bantoom. Where Tara was held captive.
Tower of Moak
-- Bantoom
Tower of Thavas
-- Toonolian Marsh
Thurian Tower
-- a turret in the Towers of Jetan, Manator.
tree houses
-- the Masenas of Ladan build houses with thatched roofs high in the trees of the Barsoomian moon Thuria. These open constructions are linked by walkways fabricated with branch and vine and each house may have as many as 50 occupants.(Swords)
Turquoise Tower
-- a tower on the Tarid castle at Ombra (Ladan)
Yellow Tower
-- Lesser Helium

Zoo, Amhor
-- A fantastic collection of beasts, creatures, and humans from all parts of Barsoom, maintained by Jal Had, Jeddak of Amhor.