Such a marvel proof not only that the gods exist, but that they love, and that profoundly.
- —Orrick Ballard, explorer and map-maker
Comprised of Aldenard, the westernmost of the Three Great Continents, and its surrounding islands, the realm of Eorzea has been the cradle of several unique civilizations throughout history. Towering mountains dominate the north, their peaks forever lashed with icy winds; to the south, a bleak expanse of unforgiving desert holds sway.
Yet these inhospitable lands hold irresistible lure for man and monster alike, for wide and deep flow the currents of aether, and rich are the veins of power-infused crystal. In this harsh though vibrant region, the people of Eorzea have carved out their histories—a cycle of prosperous Astral and disastrous Umbral eras. The First Umbral Era brought an end to the age of the gods, and there have been six such eras of calamity since the First Astral Era ushered in the age of man. Each of the Umbral catastrophes has, in turn, borne the characteristics of one of the six elements. With all the elements now represented, it was believed the current Astral era would last into eternity.
But in the seventh verse of the Divine Chronicles, Mezaya Thousand Eyes prophesized a less fortunate fate. The "senary sun," or Sixth Astral Era, would indeed end, and the "septenary moon," or Seventh Umbral Era, would cast its shadow upon the land.
The vast realm of Eorzea, comprising the continent of Aldenard and its outlying islands, has seen the rise of a civilization with peoples as diverse as its environs. Throughout its history, the landscape has played home to a number of city-states—the tenuous relations among them fluctuating between friendly and hostile.
The pantheon of the Twelve is followed devoutly by most, and doctrine holds that the past wars of the realm were the wars of the heavens, with the gods and goddesses laying their favor with nations to champion them. In this way, war spread throughout the realm, discouraging unity and peace.
As a result, years passed without the lay of the land and its borders ever being mapped in their entirety. It was not until some 70 years ago, when an intrepid soul set out to wander the land, at great peril to himself, that the first map of Eorzea was completed.
Since then, the original rendering has been amended and improved by others, and the form it takes today is used by adventurers across the realm as an indispensable guide on their travels.
For the most part Eorzea's climate ranges from temperate in the north to sub-tropical in the south, with the southernmost part of Aldenard being a harsh desert.
However, the aetherial disturbances at the start of the Seventh Umbral Era brought about a number of sudden changes to the climate in the few years since the Battle of Carteneau. For example, more rainforests have appeared in La Noscea, eastern Thanalan has begun shifting to a more semi-arid savannah biome, while Coerthas has experienced a perpetual winter.
Eorzea is comprised of five major city-states:
Located on the southern coast of the island Vylbrand, Limsa Lominsa is spread out across numerous surrounding islands, all connected by bridges. The marine city-state is a thalassocracy, currently under the power of the ruling party and its leader, the Admiral. Limsa Lominsa's economy is driven by shipbuilding, fishing and blacksmithing, but largely by the lucrative shipping industry.
Gridania is located in the east of the Aldenard continent, within dense woodlands and coursing rivers. It is well known in Eorzea for its forestry, agriculture, carpentry and leather working trades - a product of Gridania's emphasis on harmony with nature and the forest's Elementals.
The city-state of Ul'dah is located in the deserts of southern Aldenard. It is a popular location for visitors to partake in its fighting arenas and gambling halls. The Ul'dahn culture is known for its affluence. Despite historically being claimed sovereign by the sultan, it is under the rule of the Syndicate, an elite group comprising of the six wealthiest and most influential members of society.
The Holy See of Ishgard is found in the central region of Abalathia's Spine, the highlands of Coerthas. The archbishop of the Ishgardian Orthodox Church rules as the nation's sovereign. For a thousand years, they have waged war with the Great Wyrm Nidhogg and his Dravanian Horde.
This city-state is located in the region of Gyr Abania, situated upon the eastern highlands of Aldenard. Though this aggressive nation frequently sought to conquer its neighbors in the west, at the same time it repelled countless invasions from the east in Ilsebard. It finally succumbed in the Year 1557 to incursions from the mighty Garlean Empire, and now is reduced to an imperial province.
- Square Enix has a Final Fantasy XIV-themed cafe in Tokyo named Eorzea Cafe.