A civilization in Centra 4000 years ago. These Centra people immigrated to other continents and founded the Dollet Empire to the west and Esthar to the east. Centra was destroyed 80 years ago by the Lunar Cry."Centra Civilization", FFVIII Info Corner
Centra (セントラ, Sentora?) was a flourishing civilization in Final Fantasy VIII, which was destroyed by a Lunar Cry. The Centra Ruins, Edea's House, and the mobile shelters are the only remaining artifacts of Centra's civilization.
Architecture and technology
From information based on the few remaining structures the Centraian architecture was similar to real-world ancient Rome. Built with prominent white stone, intricate murals and stone pillars were abundant, particularly seen in the example of Edea's House. The Centra Ruins, however (the only other reasonably intact structure) reveals a more mystical structural plan.
Although the Roman influence still remains present, the structure — or at least the remains — is of a diamond shape that rests solely on a point. What is more is that the installation's stonework is threaded with wires and piping alluding to technology that matches that of the real-world's 1970s to 1980s period, yet it's also supported by mystical powers.
As seen from examples of Centraian ruins the Centra held the sorceress and the sorceress power in high regard. Whether they regarded her as a holy or malevolent force is unknown, however, flattering statues and murals have been erected in her image. Such images can be prominently seen in the Centra Ruins. It is possible that the story of the Great Hyne, the origin story of the sorceress power, originated from Centra.
Four thousand years ago, the Centra civilization spanned the southernmost reaches of the world map. What little is known about their technology and influence suggests they were a highly mobile people, who would travel distances to explore the world. The modern-day civilizations of Dollet, in the west, and Esthar, in the east, are remnants of the Centra civilization.
The Centra built mobile shelters the size of small cities, able to hover and cross gentle terrain, and which are also capable of planting themselves in the ground. Only three are known to have survived until the present day, in the form of Balamb Garden, Galbadia Garden, and Trabia Garden.
The game gives conflicting information on when exactly Centra was destroyed by the Lunar Cry. The Information section in the menu says 80 years, but an NPC called Operator in Lunar Base says it happened over a hundred years ago. The Final Fantasy VIII Ultimania also places the event at having happened over a hundred years ago. The Lunar Cry annihilated the entire Centra civilization and wiped it from the world map. The only structures left standing were the Centra Ruins and the building that would become Edea's orphanage.
Behind the scenes
There is a clearing near Almaj Mountains amid a forest on the Centra continent. If the player inspects it, Squall says there is rubble there but nothing else. It may be in relation to what the shadow of the Obel Lake quest says: "Back in the day, south of here, there used to be a small but beautiful village surrounded by deep forests. Everyone lived a happy life there."