The land of visible pain is a formerly prosperous and extremely technologically advanced nation ruined by a failed philosophic experiment.
The land of visible pain is extremely advanced technologically to the point where everything in the city is automated. Robots handle all basic needs of anyone passing through. The robots take care of the city, but no one lives there. The city is mainly a rest stop for travelers.
The lack of people is the result of a failed philosophic/behavioral experiment. They believed the reason that people hurt each other was due to miscommunications or someone's inability to understand someone else's pain. They believed if everyone could understand how everyone else felt, they could end pain. Thought it sounded good in theory, in reality knowing everything thought and feeling everyone else's pain drove the people crazy. They all went into seclusion, leaving only the machines to take care of the city and travelers. The people hid themselves away in isolated houses, relying on the machines to take care of them.
There were not always like this, though. There was a time when they were an intellectual, philosophic artist society not unlike the renaissance. (minus religion) This was because the machinese did all the work, leaving them with a lot of time to think and discuss.