Curau [tsu ˈraw] is the second-largest city of Xurno, with over 500,000 residents; it was the capital of imperial Xurno. It's located in the middle Xengi, and it's the capital of Šuzep province. The town of Šinj lies across the river and about a kilometer to the east.
In ancient times Šinj was the larger city; Curau was originally a religious complex (dedicated largely to the owl-goddess Nejimexi), and then a retreat for the nobles of Šinj. Its growth only took off after a bridge was built over the Xengi in the 1500s.
Curau was a large city by the time of the Gelyet conquest in the 2470s, but not large enough that the Gelyet felt it worth destroying. As was their custom, they appropriated country estates for themselves, but the cities were left under local rule-- though they often deposed or killed experienced rulers. King Sorárus of Curau died in battle, leaving the city to his son Murujusu (2481) and grandson Rejabriš (2518).
Rejabriš observed the barbarians' strength, which was immense speed, and realized that their corresponding weakness was impatience. He therefore set out to make Curau and Xiau into impregnable fortresses, with fields and springs within the city to resist long sieges. The initial fortifications, built far from the city, were explained as aqueducts and irrigation works; they were quickly linked together to encircle the cities while the Gelyet were conquering Sarnáe.
When the city-fortresses resisted the Gelyet counter-attack, Rejabriš proclaimed a new empire of Xurno 'the dawning (nation)' (2530). He extended the system to the rest of Šuzep; his son Miudis liberated the delta.
Curau remained the capital of imperial Xurno, and its complex of imperial palaces, courts, and Endajué seminaries remains highly impressive. Though its intelligentsia embraced Revaudo, the city did not fall to the revolutionaries till 3017, ending the first phase of the Revaudo civil war. However, the new govering Academy was set up in Inex.
The city's residents continue to describe Curau as the heart of Xurno, and in many ways it is the most Xurnese of cities: rich, conservative and confident, disinclined to trifle with foreign ideas.
The standard dialect of Xurnese is Corauši, that is, the speech of Curau-- though since the capital is now Inex, its speakers and writers greatly influence the standard. The government's Language Agency, the Šundaus, is in Curau, charged with defining the language and publishing authoritative dictionaries.