Cidhna Mine is a prison in Markarth. It is run by the Silver-Blood Family who use prisoners to mine the silver ore inside. It is also home to Madanach, the King in Rags and leader of the Forsworn Rebellion. It is commonly referred to as the most secure prison in Skyrim.
Margret, an undercover operative of the Imperial Legion, was sent to Markarth by General Tullius to retrieve the deed to the mine. The Legion feared the Forsworn and the Silver-Bloods were Stormcloak sympathizers, who wanted to exploit the violent criminals imprisoned in the mine and use them against the Empire.
While investigating the Forsworn Conspiracy at the request of Eltrys, the Dragonborn is either imprisoned here; framed for murdering several notable members of the Silver-Blood family; or infiltrates the mine intentionally, hoping to meet Madanach and disable Forsworn influence over Markarth.
If the Dragonborn returns to Markarth after they have completed the quests that occur at Cidhna Mine and have a bounty, choosing the "go to jail" option will transport them to Cidhna Mine. To leave the mine, activate one of the ore veins using a pickaxe, triggering an option to serve jail time.
Finding a shiv, wielding a pickaxe, or using a spell to attack any of the inhabitants of the mine provokes everyone nearby to relentlessly strike back at the Dragonborn, with many using magic. Sneaking or Invisibility effects allow for picking off the inhabitants more easily as the Dragonborn's lack of armor, accessories, and strong weapons leaves them vulnerable to multiple attacks. Another alternative solution is if the Dragonborn is either a Werewolf or a Vampire Lord, they are able to transform in the mine which is useful for escaping, general combat or killing Madanach if needed.
- Proper Lock Design – Lockpicking skill book in the normally accessible part of the mine.
- Four Shivs, unique daggers.
- Five silver ore veins. During "No One Escapes Cidhna Mine," the veins do not produce ore, regardless of how long they are mined, and unlike other veins, the animation proceeds forever.
- It is possible to escape the mine after completing the Forsworn Conspiracy mission. Usually, the body of Grisvar the Unlucky still remains, so if the Dragonborn has kept Borkul's key and Madanach's key, they can return through the escape route used in the above mission, plant the keys (and some items to help in combat) on the body and escape.
- Down the hill from the entrance to Cidhna Mine, near from where the silver-workers work the forges, a dead Breton can be found hanging in a cage a few feet above the water. There is nothing on his person to suggest why he was killed as such.
- If the Dragonborn kills Madanach, escapes the mine and returns, Borkul and all of the prisoners will be dead.
This section contains bugs related to Cidhna Mine. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:
- It is possible that, upon returning to the mine, after mining all ore veins during "No One Escapes Cidhna Mine," the Dragonborn may still have to serve their sentence, leaving them stuck in the mine. The mine can be escaped from using Madanach's tunnel by killing Borkul the Beast and grabbing his key.
- If the Dragonborn enters the mine and kills any of the Silver-Blood mercenaries on guard before the initiation of the quest "No One Escapes Cidhna Mine," upon leaving the mine through the main entrance the game will glitch and the screen will go black. The same goes for if the Dragonborn steals the key to the mine from any of the guards and uses it to open anything within the mine. Since one cannot load saves while the screen is black, a console restart will be required.
- If the Dragonborn enters the mine before starting "No One Escapes Cidhna Mine," the other prisoners will not do any mining animation, and will only stand still until the Dragonborn initiates the quest.
- If the Dragonborn dies in the mine, it is possible that they will be unable to respawn or move, this makes a console restart required to continue the game, it can also delete the player's save file.
- If the Dragonborn manages to get into the mine without being arrested, interacting with the ore within the mine will grant the option to sleep. The Dragonborn can then use the ore as a bed. The people within the mine may become hostile, however, regardless if the Dragonborn has spoken to them or not.
- It is possible to escape Cidhna Mine using a glitch. If the cart found near Duach is pushed into the corner of the wall that leads to the dead end, the Dragonborn can fall through the map and land on the other side of the door they originally entered through. Outrun the guards, or kill them with magic through the side of the door. Once the mine is left, the Markarth Guards will not be hostile. Another way to escape is to hold a pickaxe in the air and place it on the door next to Borkul, then run into it until one is glitched through. Repeat the process by using the bucket in the left hand alcove, then follow the route out of the Markarth Ruins.
- There have been instances of the Dragonborn's quest items vanishing after escaping their sentence, along with every other quest item in the game, such as Thieves Guild quest targets, The Jagged Crown, and the Elder Scroll. The items may reappear if the player completes the dialogue with Madanach, and proceeds to exit the final Dwemer tunnel that leads them to the city. Loading a previous save from before entering the mine may also fix it.