Imre is located in the Belenay-Barren within the central part of the Commonwealth. It is separated from the University, which lies approximately two miles to the east, by the Omethi River. This river can be crossed using the Stonebridge.
From Imre, it is a mere two days by coach to Tarbean. Due to the stench of the large, coastal city, many of the Tarbean elite will choose to live in Imre and commute back and forth. It is also home to many other wealthy nobles, politicians, and courtiers.
Imre is considered to be a haven for the arts, and artists of virtually every description ply their craft in Imre because the city is densely populated with affluent and appreciative persons, many of whom patronize the arts generously.
Imre differs from many other large cities largely due to its proximity to the University. Although the average inhabitant of Imre generally speaks with suspicion about arcanists and other students of the University, this does not prevent them from taking advantage of the benefits of the artificery crafted there. Plumbing and sympathy lamps help to keep the air quality higher than that of other similarly-sized cities, and quality glass products are more readily available than elsewhere.
The Eolian, considered the finest showcase for musicians in Imre
Count Dennais Threpe, a cheerful and unpretentious nobleman and patron of the arts
The following etymological theories are based on linguistic patterns found in the novels, and as such are not certifiably fact.
The Adem, traveling mercenaries from the north, make their home in the land of Ademre. The suffix added to "Adem" which denotes their land is "re." Following this linguistic trend it is safe to assume that the city of "Imre" is similarly named for the people who once inhabited that area. The remaining characters, "Im-," are pronounced in much the same way as the letters "em-" or "am-". Popular theory suggests that the University is the home and base of operations for the surviving Holy Order of the Amyr, and Imre is but two miles from the University. Following this logic, it can be assumed that "Imre" is a shortened version of "Amyre" or "Amyrre," a haven for the Amyr who fled from the Aturan empire after the disbandment of their order. There are two possible reasons for the shortening of the name "Amyrre." Either time and centuries of slurred pronunciation shortened the title, or the Amyr (fleeing persecution at the hands of the Tehlin church) created the name "Imre" to both keep with tradition and keep themselves hidden. If the enemies of the Amyr (such as Iax) are "sealed behind doors of stone" (widely assumed to be the four-plate door), then the theories that the Amyr founded the University are strenghtened. The Amyr intended for the University not to be a school, but to be a line of defense against the great magics and evils sealed beneath it. Under the pretense of teaching gifted students to use their natural gifts (naming and sympathy being the most notable), the Masters of the University (whether aware or unknowing) would be assembling a powerful shield against the evil sealed behind the door. It is unclear and debatable about whether or not the Masters are a part of the Order of the Amyr, but following this theory it is clear that they are a part of an ancient scheme of the Amyr. Although the Masters may be decieved about the purpose of the University, they work as the Amyr orchestrated, ever furthering "the greater good."
This etymological theory is part of a larger theory concerning the current status of the Order of the Amyr and is not to be taken as canonical until it is either debunked or confirmed by Patrick Rothfuss.