Spira's climate is diverse with the tropical seaside islands of Besaid and Kilika, the temperate locales in the Mi'ihen Highroad and Mushroom Rock Road regions, the polar extremes of Lake Macalania and Mt. Gagazet, the deep, mystical forests of Macalania Woods, and the arid deserts of Bikanel.
Spirans operate in weaving, working in shops, bars and travel agencies, playing blitzball, raising chocobos, sailing boats, managing shoopufs, working in archaeological digs, working as mercenaries/sphere hunters, and performing in entertainment troupes. One assumes some Spirans fish and grow produce to supply their fellow Spirans with consumable goods.
Spira is covered in large part with water, having a continent that spans from Spira's south pole (viewable in the distance in Besaid) to well above Spira's equator. The official map of Spira (on the right) briefly shown as the player travels across the landscape, is labeled in Yevon script written vertically, similarly to Japanese. The map indicates the locations of various temples of Yevon, even Baaj and Remiem. The small labels indicate the locations of Besaid, Kilika, Luca, Mi'ihen, Mushroom Rock Road, Guadosalam, Thunder Plains, "Wood Macalania", Bikanel, Calm Lands, Gagazet, Zanarkand Ruins, and Omega Ruins. Some settlements on the main continent have labels too small to read. The large letters on the south read "Djose Continent" and the large letters on the north spell "Wilderia Continent".
The symbol at the southern edge of the map is an upside-down "Z", the final letter of the Yevon alphabet that is also sometimes used to denote the monster known as Sin. The oval frame is marked with the English alphabet written in Yevon script repeated, although it skips "A", which is also the symbol for Yevon.
On the southern part of the continent, Spira's climate resembles the real-world climate of the South Pacific Ocean. The climate gets colder as one approaches Guadosalam in the north (as shown by the clothing worn by the Guado and Bevelle natives). Macalania may be positioned at a high altitude, as vast icy areas surround Macalania Temple, although the climate appears to be affected by the temple's fayth, as the ice begins melting after the fayth disappears. With the exception of the snowy mountain trails of Mt. Gagazet, the northern tip of the continent has a temperate or mildly warm climate and lighter clothing is worn by the area's occupants.
The modern Spira is quite different from the one which saw the Machina War. The once abundant machina is now shunned by Bevelle's edicts, and only the outcast race, the Al Bhed, attempt to regain some of the lost knowledge. Due to the society's technophobia, using magic for battle has become commonplace, none more so than among summoners, who enjoy something of a caste of their own: help and privileges are granted to them during their pilgrimage in exchange for their coming sacrifice against Sin.
The temple of Yevon dominates Spiran life, spreading its teachings and acting as a benevolent protector of a much diminished world—a world where technological and social progress has stalled for 1000 years. Yet, beneath the surface, unity of the Spiran mainland, distrust and old anger still boil leading one to wonder if the various warring factions wouldn't blow each other to smithereens without Sin's pacifying presence. Only blitzball truly unites the world around a common passion, and annual tournaments are held in Luca, left untouched by Sin's wrath mostly due to the Crusaders' efforts.
Spira uses three alphabets that work like ciphers for the real-world Latin alphabet. The signs around the world are written in Spiran script, as is the writing in blitzball teams' logos, and the text ("nog") on Auron's keg. Tidus also wields weapons with the text "Guardian" inscribed in Spiran script.
Before Yevon became the dominant religion across the land people used to worship a different set of deities, as mentioned in the companion novel Final Fantasy X-2.5 ~Eien no Daishō~. The summoning tradition was alive in Zanarkand, but after its downfall it was adopted by Yevon.
The teachings of Yevon, said to have been left by Zanarkand's leader Yu Yevon to his daughter, Lady Yunalesca, were implemented by Bevelle to maintain order through giving the people hope that Spira may someday be free of Sin should they atone. Until Yuna exposes their lies, the temples teach machina is forbidden, that Sin is a result of humanity's pride and use of machina in the past, and that Sin can only be vanquished when humanity has attained purity and had been cleansed of past sins. Until that promised time would come, only the ritual known as the Final Summoning would provide a reprieve from Sin's terror (referred to as "The Calm").
Yuna and her guardians infiltrate Sin and–destroying each of his aeon hosts–force Yu Yevon to manifest his spiritual energy as corporeal matter, making him vulnerable for the first time in 1000 years. They destroy Yu Yevon and end his control over Spira. This severs the people's faith in Yevon.
Two years later, the moral teachings of Yevon have been revitalized in the form of the New Yevon party under Praetor Baralai. Although technically a splinter group of Yevon, the New Yevon party is not a religion, but a way of life, their motto and position on Spira's advancement being "one thing at a time". A rival faction has emerged, the Youth League led by Meyvn Nooj, and their rivalry harbors conflict in Spira until they are unified after the Vegnagun crisis.
The concepts of magic, spiritual energy, the power of memories, and the faith of the people are influential in the world of Spira, including sporting events, religious practices, the technology, and even in some of the native wildlife. The themes and concepts, to name a few, cover pyreflies and their relation with death, aeons, the fayth, Sin and the teachings of Yevon.
The use of most kinds of machina (or machines as the Al Bhed like to call them), is forbidden by the teachings of Yevon, and thus few Spirans use them prior to the Eternal Calm (the exceptions being the Al Bhed, the temples and the Warrior Monks). After Sin's demise nearly all Spirans start to use machina to ease everyday life, and the Al Bhed, led by Gippal, form a group called the Machine Faction that specializes in the excavation and research of machina.
Spheres are devices for storing data—voice record, video, and memories. The spheres are created magically from the enchanted water found in springs in the Macalania Woods, and pyreflies are known to coalesce into spheres, sometimes containing vivid memories of past lives. Spira is littered in thousands of forgotten spheres, which are scavenged by sphere hunters.
- Cactuar - Intelligent, sentient cacti that move around Spira during certain stages of their lives. They speak their own language and only a boy named Benzo is known to understand it. The Cactuars have been the protectors of Bikanel Desert for many generations.
- Ronso - A race of anthropomorphic blue leonine creatures with a horn on their head. They make their home on Mt. Gagazet, which they believe is sacred. They are taller than humans and far stronger and speak a form of broken Spiran.
- Guado - A plantlike race of humanoids who live in Guadosalam. They have green hair and overlarge hands that resemble branches. They are spiritually connected to the forest and can make the Farplane safe for living visitors.
- Hypello - A blue amphibious race, they make a living giving rides across the Moonflow or working for Tobli. They speak Spiran but often over-enunciate soft O's and say S's as Sh's, as in "Mish Yoona" instead of "Miss Yuna". It is difficult for non-Hypello to tell apart males and females. Even though they excel at blitzball there are too few who want to play to set up a full team, according to Maechen.
- Peruperu - A diminutive humanoid race.
- Humans - The predominant race in Spira. They are widespread and live in all but the harshest of conditions.
- Al Bhed - An ethnic group of humans with a language of their own. They are set apart by their vivid swirl-laden green eyes, blond hair and love of machina.
The spiritual beings of Spira classified into three categories: the unsent who retain the forms they had in life, the monsters called fiends, and the fayth who form the core manifestation of a summoner's aeons. Ronso, Guado, Hypello, Al Bhed and humans can become any of the three types, depending on circumstance and the individuals in question. There are also the musicians of the Macalania Woods who can assume the form of a flock of butterflies.
- Mi'ihen Highroad
- Mushroom Rock Road
- Thunder Plains
- Calm Lands
- Mt. Gagazet
- Mountain Cave
- Inside Sin
- Baaj Temple
- Omega Ruins
- Iutycyr Tower
- Fiend Arena
Besaid Village composes of tents and shelters. The one stone building in the village is the temple that houses the fayth for the aeon Valefor. Years before the events of Final Fantasy X the machina city of Besaid was destroyed by Sin, leaving the ruins scattered around the island. The tropical island is verdant with palm trees and white beaches edge the shoreline with hidden coves along the cliff sides.
Kilika is a small port town built mostly on boardwalks that stretch out into the ocean, forming an ideal harbor. The buildings are small wooden shacks, but the temple, located on to the north of the village past a forest, is made of stone. The temple is aligned with the element of fire as it houses the fayth of Ifrit.
Luca is the second largest city in modern-day Spira, after Bevelle. It is a bustling city that is home to many stone buildings of varying sizes, as well as the Luca blitzball stadium and the Sphere Theater.
The Mi'ihen Highroad, Mushroom Rock Road and Djose Highroad are dirt roads summoners walk along on their pilgrimage. Ruins are scattered around the plains of Mi'ihen, but there are no permanent settlements, though military camps are set around Mushroom Rock Road, first by the Crusaders, and later by Youth League.
Djose Temple houses the fayth of the lightning-oriented Ixion. Though there are no nearby towns, many seem to congregate at the temple, especially after it becomes the Machine Faction headquarters. The temple's fayth provides the building with electricity. The temple is usually covered by the mushroom rock, but the boulders are lifted when a summoner is praying at the temple's Chamber of the Fayth.
The Moonflow is a small settlement along a wide river. Moonlilies grow on the banks and pyreflies gather on the river's surface making the water glow "like a sea of stars". The primary method of transportation is by shoopuf, a large elephantine creature native to the area.
Guadosalam is home to the Guado. The town utilizes the woods with dwellings inside tree trunks and branches and roots making up for ceilings and floors. The entrance to the Farplane is located here, guarded by the Guado, leading to a floating platform above sparkling waterfalls and flower fields, rife with pyreflies that conjure images of the deceased for the reminiscing visitors.
The Thunder Plains is uninhabited save for a lone travel agency that provides shelter for travelers who cross the plains of eternal thunderstorm. Lightning towers scatter the plains to draw in most of the lightning strikes to allow safer passage through the area. Mysterious Qactuar stones are found on the plains.
The Macalania Wood is an enchanted forest, and although no permanent dwellings are apparent, a mysterious tribe of musicians makes it their home. The woods have springs with pyrefly-infused water used to make spheres, and the tree trunks criss-cross the area in labyrinthine ways. West of Macalania Woods lies the perpetually frozen Lake Macalania, with the sole landmark being the temple standing atop a spire of ice.
Bevelle, the capital of Spira and the center of the Yevon faith, lies past the Macalania Woods. The church headquarters that also houses the Bevelle Temple with its aeon Bahamut, is at the center of the city and the Yevon building reaches up to the skies. Underground lie deep dungeons with many hidden secrets of ages past, as well as the Via Infinito dungeon with its sewers.
The Calm Lands to the east of Macalania Woods is a vast open plain with a scarred surface, mementos of summoners' past battles against Sin. Chocobos roam the open plains and there is a travel agency to provide for passersby. The reclusive Remiem Temple lies on the outskirts of the Calm Lands with a mysterious summoner called Belgemine making her home there with the fayth of the trinity aeon Magus Sisters. At the northern edge of the Calm Lands lies the Cavern of the Stolen Fayth, a dark fiend-infested cavern that houses the fayth for the aeon Yojimbo.
The snowy mountains of Gagazet are inhabited by the Ronso who view the icy slopes as sacred and protect the mountain pass from anyone but summoners and their guardians on pilgrimage. On the summit lies the Fayth Scar, a formation of hundreds of fayth summoning at once, and higher still among impenetrable mist lie the Gagazet Ruins, long since abandoned and their builders unknown. The mountain caverns house springs, some of them hot springs.
Past the mountains lies the ancient city of Zanarkand, left abandoned for a millennium. Once called the city of light, the ruins house but crumbling highways and collapsed buildings. The largest building, the ancient blitzball stadium, now known as the Zanarkand Dome, still stands abundant in pyreflies that react to the visitors' memories and project vivid illusions of past summoners' pilgrimages.
Out on the sea lies the remote island of Baaj where the Guado once sent their exiles. It is all but in ruins now, long since abandoned. The illusory city of Dream Zanarkand lies somewhere in the oceans off Baaj, its whereabouts only known to Sin. It is a city that never sleeps, forever preserved by the will of Yu Yevon.
Behind the scenes
In Final Fantasy X-2, Square Enix dropped hints of a connection between the planet of Final Fantasy VII and Spira, as Shinra and Rin discuss the potential of the Farplane as an energy source, though Shinra states the technology to safely and successfully refine energy from the Farplane would not be developed for generations. The connection is confirmed in the Final Fantasy X-2 Ultimania where Scenario Writer Kazushige Nojima states Rin would fund Shinra's efforts to refine energy from the Farplane using the Vegnagun's remains, but fails. His descendants, a thousand years later when space travel is developed, would travel to the Planet and found the Shinra Electric Power Company.
In an interview with a French Final Fantasy website Finaland Nojima commented on the link thusly: "This story is a bit of a joke. When we created FFX-2, we wanted to create something, a totally new world. Except that when I created it, I realized that it looked a lot like FFVII... But without realizing it. Afterwards, when it was officially said in Ultimania, it took a completely gigantic proportion when it was just an anecdote."
The name Spira refers to the word "spiral", alluding to one of the main themes of Final Fantasy X: continuity. spaɪɹəl.The word "spiral" has multiple meanings depending on context. In geometry, it is a curve acting as the focus of a point rotating around a fixed point that continuously extends from that point. Informally, it can be used to refer to a helix. It is also used to refer to a high-momentum, self-sustaining process that can't be stopped or accelerated instantly. Generally used as a noun, the word is derived from the the Middle French word spirale, itself derived from the Medieval Latin spiralis, in turn derived from the Latin spira
Auron mentions the "spiral of death" when Tidus asks why everything in Spira revolves around people dying. Also, in Italian the verb spirare is a synonym for the verb morire, "to die".
- "Kazushige Nojima: '...After quitting the Gullwings, Shinra received enormous financial support from Rin, and began trying to use Vegnagun to siphon Mako Energy from the Farplane. But, he is unable to complete the system for utilizing this energy in his generation, and in the future, when traveling to distant planets becomes possible, the Shinra Company is founded on another world, or something like that....... That would happen about 1000 years after this story, I think."Final Fantasy X-2 Ultimania Interview with FFX-2 creators, Page 723. Final Fantasy Forums
- Paris Manga : Interview Kazushige Nojima (EN) (Accessed: October 22, 2018) at Finaland