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Merchants Bank (St Paul, Minnesota - 2008)

Tropes! Get your tropes here! Tropes for sale!


If it can't be had here, it can't be had on any world.
High Market flavor text, Magic: The Gathering

A city populated mainly by merchants, or known for its shopping opportunities. Tends to be a port or somewhere financially strategic. Usually has a Black Market and/or a Bazaar of the Bizarre. You can buy the best available items there, or at least have the most variety to choose from.

This is often, but not always the Capital City.

On many occasions it will be the hometown of a Proud Merchant Race, and will be the favorite hangout of the Intrepid Merchant.

Examples of Merchant City include:


Video Games! You want 'em, we got 'em!

  • Mirage, a city in the Cleft of Dimension in Final Fantasy V. When it reappears in the real world it's full of merchants and some of the best items in the game can be bought there.
  • Byzel/Baizel in Seiken Densetsu 3 -- a port city full of merchants, and has a Black Market that you can access by waiting for it to become night.
  • Illium in Mass Effect 2 is a capitalist heaven: It is an independent planet outside the jurisdiction of any major government and while the planet is extremely rich, there are almost no rules on anything. During your stay, you are constantly bombarded with cheesy comercials and merchants making ridiculous claims to their customers.
  • Tradefair, Rogurd's hometown in Black Sigil, is a Merchant City and also has a Black Market.
  • In The Legend of Zelda games, the Capital City is usually like this, often named Castle Town or Windfall Island.
  • Pokemon has Celadon City, Goldenrod City, Lilycove City, and Veilstone City. One big department store for each region.
  • Constructable in Medieval II Total War is the Merchants' Quarter, which turns over an entire section of the city to trade.
  • Hong Kong in Deus Ex.
  • Varrock city in Runescape is this for players, as it's where the Grand Exchange, a big facility that lets people put their items for sale or buy from other players without direct contact, is located. Ardougne, another big city with lots of stalls in the middle is this for NPCs.
    • Before the Grand Exchange was added, it was Varrock for free players and Falador for members, but only on certain merchant worlds.
  • Gadgetzan in World of Warcraft.
    • Dalaran, given its portals to all the other faction cities and the berth of stores throughout would also count (And as of a recent patch, Engineers can access the Auction House without having to go back to the 'old world' cities). In fact, any of the racial Capital Cities could technically be this; but its the Goblin owned cities which really drive home the mercantile aspect of their race (Gadgetzan, Booty Bay, and Everlook being the main places where you can shop AND get access to the faction-neutral Auction House).
  • The Carcino region from Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones comes to mind; it's the only nation of the six in the game that doesn't house a Mineral MacGuffin, in favour of being a mercantile state. That said, it doesn't have any particularly special items for the player party purchase ingame...
  • Secret of Evermore has Nobilia.
  • Guild Wars: In-universe, the Kodash Bazaar is considered this, being the capital of a merchant nation. In gameplay terms, though, it has a pretty average selection of merchants.
  • Breath of Fire I: Prima, which is also an Underwater City.


Fiiiiilm! Get yer film here!

  • In Star Wars, "Mos Eisley was built from the beginning with commerce in mind".
  • Bartertown in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.


Literature, for free, and that's cutting me own throat!

  • The entire dimension of Deeva in the Myth Adventures series.
  • The Free City of Braavos from A Song of Ice and Fire.
    • Also Vaes Dothrak, the sacred city of the Dothraki where merchants come from across the world to trade with each other under the protection of the Horselords who themselves have no concept of money.
  • Jackson's Whole from the Vorkosigan Saga.
    • Arguably, Komarr also.
  • The aptly named Trading Cities in Invisible Cities, although they play with the idea. One particular city trades stories, another, character roles.
  • Discworld's Ankh-Morpork is without compare. Invaders often find that within a few days they no longer own their weapons and are just absorbed into the general ethnic character of the city.
  • Gayjur in The Sparrow, and while it's due to his unfortunate life circumstances, Supaari is definitely a Proud Merchant Race Guy.


Tabletop Games, wouldn't you like some?

  • Dungeons and Dragons
    • Forgotten Realms has Waterdeep, Calimport, Raven's Bluff... Amn in general is known as "Merchant's Domain" -- people there call the god of death "Black Forecloser" and that's not even a joke. Its capital city Athkatla (nicknamed "City of Coin") is so much of a merchant city, it's a Holy City of the trade goddess.
    • Syrania in fourth edition of Eberron.
    • The City of Brass, the Efreet capital. In Fourth Edition The City of Brass is stated to be the largest mercantile city in the multiverse.
  • Tredroy in GURPS.
  • The capital city of Mercadia, Mercadia City, from the Magic: The Gathering set Mercadian Masques.
  • Katapesh, and to some degree Druma, in Pathfinder.


Webcomics! I got yer webcomics right here!

  • In Order of the Stick, Sandsedge. A town of tents, but one gathering traders from the whole Western Continent.
  • In Drowtales, "Chel'el'Sussoloth was built around the Klar'bol, the market section is literally the heart of the city".


Real Life! While supplies last.

  • New York City.
  • Tokyo.
  • Dubai.
  • La Serenissima, or for those of you for whom history is a foreign country, Venice.
  • Name a city-state from medieval Italy and it's probably a Merchant City.
  • The Mall Of America, but not really the rest of the city around it.
  • The Grand Bazaar of Istanbul.
  • Most famous Arab and Central Asian cities were this. Stuff was coming through all the way from China and India to the Meditteranean.
  • Singapore. Originally a British Crown Colony that thrived on entrepot trade between the East and West, today it is a cosmopolitan metropolis full of shopping centres and features one of the world's busiest ports.
  • An upmarket area of Glasgow directly adjacent to the city centre is called actually called the Merchant City. (Commemorating the fact that before it was an industrial center, Glasgow was a commercial center. Let's not dwell too much on the fact that the commerce it specialized in was the transatlantic slave trade.)
  • Novgorod, in Russia, before Ivan the Terrible burned it down.
  • Although not full-fledged cities at first, many settlements, towns and cities in North America (and presumably other countries founded during the age of European colonization) were initially trading posts that grew with the prosperity of the colonies/countries.
  • Paris, back in her early days. That's why the city's coat-of-arms displays a trim merchant ship in silver (representing money by commerce, not through the royal mint.)
  • Most major American cities will have a couple suburbs that are known in the area as shopping havens--often in safer, upscale towns--which can lead to tense political relations for drawing shoppers and their money out of the city proper.
  • Amsterdam
  • Lübeck, Danzig and the rest of the Hanseatic League.
  • London specialises in merchant banking these days, but is still a busy port.
  • Liverpool in the heydey of the cotton trade, much less so these days.
  • Vancouver is home to a massive port and ships almost all of the goods passing from Canada to Asia and vice versa. As such, you can buy almost anything if you know where to look.
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