Oh yes indeed, there was a circus here! Some hundred years ago, a noble hired it, and the show worked for a while. But the noble was killed by his own children, and the family broke apart. The circus went bankrupt in turn, executions taking the most draft animals. As the lands were not claimed back by the family, all became squatters, then moved into the buildings near by, or built their own.
The oldest homes were actually built from wagons, reinforced with boards, and stones on the ground. Many attach even now wheels on their houses. Speaking of traditions, most houses are a bit weird, and use colours not imaginable otherwise.
And locals wear too strange colours, not to speak of their strange ways. People are friendlier here, and happily invite anybody to their contests. Watch out for con artists though, the second story men and slight of hand performers in this area are truly impressive. All the skills of the original performers are still around. Some peasants happen to throw knives at each other, and catch them!
The city has now a tradition of street performers in clown like make up, and nobody hurts those clowns/mimes, because the rest of the folks will come to their aid. People are proud of their oddness, even the little criminals (unlesss they do too much damage). This neighborhood alone is the largest source of comedians and street-performers, and many flashy shows.
The authorities overlooked them at first. A few years after their settling, a fire has accidentaly broken out (or maybe not...). Many wagons were destroyed, but the circus people have saved a nearby temple, and possibly the whole city from burning. This act is not yet forgotten, and helped both sides to mutual respect.
(Note that with the odd skills many have, spies for the country are likely to be recruited from the circus lands.)
Anything else worth noting?
Occult knowledge of various sorts. Fire Walking shows are regularly performed before the winter. Swordplays. Knowledge of exotic animals and cultures could stay behind. Quality tattooing is done here. Levitating mystics can be seen on the street. And art wasn't even mentioned until now...
Sadly, many exotic animals died early on, not having enough breeding pairs. The city has monkeys and parrots in it now, the way most cities have rats and pigeons. Somehow, they learned to survive even those harsh winters. The Wargs died early on, but left a legacy of the largest city dogs in the area.
Many have quite exotic genetics, so special abilities are more probable here. There is the gypsy future-teller. The family of the Wolf-man. "Robert the Great", a very strong and large man ("borrowed" by the militia occasionally, renting his services otherwise). There are human dwarves, that can pass as children. If a family practiced magics (even little magics) for a few centuries, they might be also odd. Dowsing is a common talent here, and Astrologers earn nicely.
There is also the "Ten-wheeled house", an exotic brothel very frequented in the past, still favoured these days. The name comes from its simple beginnings, of three connected wagons only.
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? Responses (4)-4
This is a really cool idea with a funky write up.
The Monkey and Parrots are a nice touch. I like the anything else worth noting section more so than the rest of the write up. That section saved this for me.
A town built upon the 'ashes' of a circus. Some excellent flavor here actually! Great location for freaks and oddness.
This is a little gem. I love the source of traditions. This would especially work for alternate history worlds where society fell back into medieval just before the 20th century.