Life on Venus
Using floating islands covered in plants, which converted carbon dioxide to oxygen through photosynthesis, Venus had a breathable atmosphere. Venus did not have any natural seas, so most of its surface was a vast desert.
The atmosphere of Venus had a high content of helium, which caused people to speak in a high-pitched voice, but was otherwise harmless. Pills could be taken orally to counteract the voice modulation.
Some of these plants had an adverse side-effect in humans called Venus Sickness. The airborne disease caused blindness in some people who came into contact with the spores. The Grey Ash plant cures Venus Sickness, but it is extremely rare and expensive to purchase. It is thus a valuable part of the black market trade on Venus.
The surface of Venus is depicted as very dry and characterized with flat plains, highland regions, and depressions. There are very few impact craters, in contrast with Mars, the Moon and Mercury.
Civilization on Venus is modeled after 19th century Istanbul, Turkey.
Homages and references
The architecture of the city has Arabic-Farsi and Turkish-Islamic architecture.
Most of the signs using Arabic script are Farsi (Persian) and some of the stores have Turkish names (Gül market, Aile pazarı, Erdal....... ). There are small nods to Persian and Turkish culture in the episode as well, such as when Stella prepares tea for Spike in the Persian-Turkish style (with sugar cubes and in the proper glass, the estekhan), or when she is wearing what appears to be a Persian headscarf when she [Stella] first meets Spike.