The Belkan Empire (Belkan: Белка Империя) is an Imperial state spanning across southeastern Europe covering the Balkans and straddling the crossroads of Asia, the Eurasian steppe, and the large trade routes of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.
The Belkan Empire consists of eight major subdivisions correlating with the ancient historical states which used to exist within said borders. There is some discrepancy left over from the Bulgarian Empire due to its pre-eminence in establishing the Belkan State, however, of this nation's eight Principalities they are further subdivided by regional lands and cities to for more effective governance as well as preventing an easy break off any of the Belkan constituent principalities from the empire.
The South Slavs in particular migrated from the Eurasian steppe and are speculated to have originated in the Ukraine region possibly further back when tracing the origins of the Bulgars in particular. The South Slavs spent a rather long time period establishing khanates, kingdoms, principalities, all under the influence of the Byzantines. In varying points in History, the Balkans was more or less traded between the Two Bulgarian Empires and the Byzantine Empire before finally succumbing to the Turks for decades followed by the relative conquest of much of the Byzantine empire.
Effectively beginning in the 1300's Belka was not a true entity until the 16th century following the integration of Serbia, Vlach, and Moldavia as Slavic brothers in arms against encroaching islam as well as beating the nascent Greek cities and one minor kingdom for dominance in the Balkans. The Bulgarian Empire finally gave way to the Tsardom of Belka following a very clear transition from a Bulgar dominant state to a melting pot of the South Slavic and the Vlach cultures most of which had already adopted huge amounts of Bulgarian culture and ideals from the previous ottoman conquest of the region. The rise of "Vasili the Great" also known as Vasili the Impaler or Vasili-Kaloyan after his adoption of Bulgarian titles, in now the Provinces of Vlach and Moldavia led to the outright conquest and destruction of the Ottomans in Europe and the restoration of the Bulgarian empire under the Dynasty Dracultesti-Asen.
The state was known as both the kingdom of the Bulgars and the Vlachs in both instances with both the original iteration of the Second empire as well as the Restored second empire, however following the relative decline of the Greeks and the settlement of Bulgars and eventually Serbs, Slovenes and Croats the region has become a more unified group of the South Slavs which achieved unity through various ideas as well as the dominant concepts of South Slavic unity adopted by the Higher nobles, as well as the Ruling Dracultesti family. On top of this a very concrete form of national identity was established and fostered by the the nearly 350 years of conflict between Muslims and the Orthodox Christians. Followed up by extremely militant actions taken by the Orthodox Church against Islamic incursion and conquest, the Bulgars, Serbs, Slovenes, Vlachs, and Moldavians adopted a common attitude and after fighting alongside in multiple wars. The Great Turkish War also known as the Great Crusade did a lot of work towards solidifying a common Belkan identity specifically by mobilizing nearly a half million men into the war and bringing an unprecedented amount of people together in new ways to fight a desperate and massive war against the Caliphate.
For the next 150 years the Belkan state formed and solidified under its new national identity formed out of the Orthodox-Islamic wars which ran back and forth as well as the solidification of the State under successive powerful Tsars who solidified the state absolutely.
Up until recently, Belka has been for better or worse, a Kingdom or Empire. However under the revolution of 1754 the Belkan state officially ceased to exist as an Imperial order and was reorganized as a Federal Republic. While technically elected to five-year terms, the weak constitutional limits places on the Vozhd has essentially allowed the leader to assume nearly direct control of the country. While this can be beneficial in wartime or in directing an economy a certain direction, it is not conductive to the freedoms and rights outlined in the Belkan constitution and since the Creation of the Federation in the 1750's Belka has been almost in a state of constant war preventing the Republic from truly taking any full control back from the Vozhd.
While technically the case, the last three Vozhds have in fact been elected almost unanimously for their deeds or services to the state in times of need. Vozhds Kamarov, Sakharov, and Dracultesti have all managed to not only greatly enlarge the influence and territory of the Federation, but have brought an end to the unstable Italian League to the West, and have for better or worse brought down the Holy Roman empire bringing Austria, Czechia, and Bavaria into Belka's Sphere as client states or an ally. On top of this Vozhd Dracultesti has been personally responsible for the first instance of a Belkan Colony, the Viceroyalty of Tunisia which is ruled much like a state of the Federation albeit overseas.
Belka is divided into 10 States or also colloquially known as Principalities. Bulgaria, Vlachia, Moldavia, Transylvania, Albania, Greesaya, Serbia, Croatia, Kreta, and Slovenia. The Majority of these provinces barring Croatia and Krete have been part of the Empire for well on multiple centuries and a high level of ethnic mixing of the South Slavs has led to the creation of common culture (Belkan/Jugoslavic) with a language bearing the same name. With its Capital in Belgrad the country has a centrally located city in which to govern and generally this had led to the previously smaller city of Belgrad to grow into one of the nation's largest cities boasting nearly 600,000 people. This leave Belgrad as the second largest city in Belka with Vasiligrad being the front-runner with nearly 1.1 million inhabitants which also puts Vasiligrad as one of the largest cities in Europe as well as the World.
List of Heads of State
Vozhds of Belka:
- Mikhail Kamarov, 1747-1753 (6 years), assassinated in the Gunpowder Plot
- Nikolai Sakharov, 1753-1767 (14 years), died of syphilis
- Petar Dracultesti, 1767-1771 (4 years), removed in a coup
- Georgy Brusilov, 1771 (6 months), term set by the Supreme Soviet
- Boris Tuchevsky, 1771-1774 (3 years), voted out
- Mikhail Paraskevka, 1774-1782 (8 years), retired
- Vladislav Milosevic, 1782-1805 (23 years), voted out
- Vdlaislav Asen, 1805-1814 (9 years), voted out
- Boris Broz Tito, 1814-1826 (12 years), voted out
- Nicholae Andronov, 1826-1839 (13 years), voted out
- Jorji Cosova, 1839-Present (incumbency)
The Culture of Belka is very diverse and bears much heritage from the many south slavs which composed it. While some regional identities remain, the overall Belkan culture has adopted many aspects from all the the states of the Federation from cuisine, to music, as well as art, and even work ethic.
A number of ancient civilizations, including the Thracians, Ancient Greeks, Romans, Ostrogoths, Slavs, Varangians Bolghars, have left their mark on the culture, history and heritage of Belka,. Because of this Belkan nation has one of the richest folk heritages in the world. Thracian artifacts include numerous tombs and golden treasures, while ancient Bolghars have left traces of their heritage in music and early architecture. Thracian rituals such as the Zarezan, Kukeri and Martenitza are to this day kept alive in the modern Belkan culture.
Belka functioned as the hub of Slavic Europe during much of the Middle Ages, exerting considerable literary and cultural influence over the Eastern Orthodox Slavic world by means of the Preslav and Ohrid Literary Schools also becoming the progenitor of the old Rus, Serbian, Croatian, and Slovene cultures via the Diaspora of the late 1300's. Bulgaria one of Belka's forerunners also gave the world the Cyrillic script, the second most widely used alphabet in the world, which originated in these two schools in the tenth century AD. It is currently used and written by a population of nearly 50 million people being the primary literary script of Belka, Russia, Poland, and Czechia.
The tradition of church singing in Belka is more than 1000 years old. In the Belkan Orthodox Church there are two traditions of church singing - Eastern monodic (one-voice) singing and choral (polyphonic). The Eastern monodic singing observes the tradition of Greek and Byzantine music as well as the requirements of the eight-voices polyphonic canon of the Orthodox Church.
Being home to some of the most prominent classical and baroque composers, Belka has been a hub of musical culture for hundreds of years if you include the musical cultures of the pre-Belkan cultured Slavs such as the Serbs, Croats, Bulgars, and Slovenes.
More Recently into the Enlightenment a more sporadic and popular form of music played on newer stringed instruments originating out of Russia. This has been one of the most active forms of musical production in Belka and many pieces are shared between the Russian and Belkan musical cultures due to extreme similarities in language and culture between the two nations.