The Imperial City, also known as Cyrodiil City, is the capital of the Empire based in Cyrodiil. It is the ancient capital of the Ayleids, and home of the White-Gold Tower. It is located on City Isle in Lake Rumare, in the Heartlands region of Cyrodiil.
From the First Era into the Fourth Era, the White-Gold Tower continues to be the centre of Tamrielic cultures and the beacon of the Empire, being the seat of the Imperial government and home to the Emperor. The Imperial City has led Tamriel in culture, fashion, economics and politics for centuries. It was once the center of the Ayleid civilization, noticeable in the gleaming white architecture and magnificent statues which are still a noticeable part of the city even in the Fourth Era.
Below the city, there is a complex sewer system, as well as various ruined Ayleid structures and labyrinths. Only a small number of those labyrinths and sewers have been mapped, maintained, and controlled by the Imperial Legion. Large portions of these ruins and sewers, however, are not, and the Imperial Legion advises all adventurers entering the sewers to bring extra hands and securities.
Above ground, the gleaming Imperial City can be seen clearly for miles. The architecture is ornate and grand, reflecting the wealth and importance of the city. The city is walled in a circular shape around the White-Gold Tower so as to afford it as much defense as possible from would-be attackers.
In the city, there are in total seven districts: Green Emperor Way, also referred to as the Palace District, the Market District, the Arena District, the Arboretum, Talos Plaza District, the Elven Gardens District, and the Temple District. There are also two smaller walled districts located outside of the city proper. The Arcane University is located to the southeast and the Imperial Legion Compound (which includes the Imperial Prison) is located in the northeast. The last district is the Imperial City Waterfront, the harbor district, which is located to the southwest of the city proper.
Green Emperor Way is the central district of the Imperial City and the location of the White-Gold Tower, also known as the Imperial Palace. The various Emperors of the Empires of Tamriel, along with the Elder Council, rule the provinces of Tamriel from the Imperial Palace. The Elder Scrolls, powerful tools of prophecy and divination, are also located within the confines of the White-Gold Tower, and are guarded with fanatical devotion by the blind priests of the Cult of the Ancestor Moth and the Imperial Legion. A cemetery used for the burial of the nobility of Cyrodiil and other important persons surrounds the Imperial Palace. Six gates lead to the other districts of the Imperial City from Green Emperor Way.
Starting from the northwest, the Imperial City's series of concentric districts begin with the Elven Gardens. The Elven Gardens is a pleasant residential area, supported economically by two well-known inns: Luther Broad's Boarding House, and The King and Queen Tavern.
Talos Plaza, located in the western region of the Imperial City, is an exclusive residential area and the location of the main gateway to the Imperial City. The district is supported economically by The Tiber Septim Hotel, an exclusive hotel used regularly by the nobility of Tamriel during visits to the capital city. It is an expensive hotel for the use of prosperous and important visitors to the Imperial City. In the center of the Talos Plaza district stands a statue of Akatosh, the Dragon God of Time, in his Dragon aspect, which is a famous location around which the people of the Imperial City gather to meet and converse. One of the residents of this district is the Ayleid artifact collector Umbacano, whose manor is located just across the street from the statue of Akatosh.
The Temple District is the location of the magnificent and ancient Temple of the One. This temple is nearly as old as the White-Gold Tower and was constructed in the First Era following the establishment of the Alessian Empire from the ruins of the Ayleid Hegemonies by Queen Alessia. Within the Temple of the One was where the Dragonfires burned before the Oblivion Crisis. Also in the Temple District is The All-Saints Inn, which opens its doors to visitors and pilgrims alike. The gateway to the southwest of the Temple District leads to the Imperial City Waterfront.
The Arboretum is the garden district located in the southeast region of the Imperial City. In this district stands the statues of the Nine Divines: Akatosh, Arkay, Dibella, Julianos, Kynareth, Mara, Stendarr, Talos, and Zenithar. The statue of Talos, or Tiber Septim, is located in the middle of the Arboretum, encircled by the statues of the other Gods. The gateway to the southeast of the Arboretum leads to the Arcane University.
Next is the Arena District, where the Imperial City Arena is located. This is the site of all gladiator combat in Cyrodiil following the destruction of Kvatch and its arena. Two groups of gladiators fight at carefully scheduled times: the Blue Team and the Yellow Team. Before they are allowed to enter the Arena and enjoy the spectacle of gladiator combat, all visitors are required to bet on a match or join one of the two teams as a combatant. The management and training of both gladiator teams is handled professionally in the basement of the Arena, known as the Bloodworks by the Imperial City's citizenry. Two statues mark the district: the statue of Queen Alessia in the southern region of the district and the statue of Morihaus in the northern region of the district. Queen Alessia was the first ruler of the Alessian Empire, the first of the Imperial Empires of Tamriel, and the founder of the Nine Divines religion. Morihaus was a pit fighter who led Alessia's armies in the taking of White-Gold Tower and brought about the end of the Ayleid Hegemonies.
The Market District is the busiest district of the Imperial City. All kinds of people and races from throughout Tamriel are seen there. All kinds of items change hands here, from weapons and armor to alchemy ingredients and books. The merchants who set up shop in the Market District are officially regulated by the Office of Imperial Commerce. Aside from the official regulator, the merchants in the Market District created their own organization to control the prices of items and the economic balance within the Market District. The organization is named the Society of Concerned Merchants. A Septim Empire-sponsored publicity and news office is also located there. The Black Horse Courier is run by a group of Khajiit who hunt for news and deliver newspapers to various cities across Cyrodiil. There are two statues in the Market District: the statue of Uriel Septim III located near the gateway to the Elven Gardens, and the statue of Pelagius Septim, the son of Tiber Septim, located near the gateway to the Arena District. The gateway in the northeast region of the Market District leads to the Imperial Legion Compound.
The Imperial Legion Compound, separate from the main thoroughfares of the Imperial City, is located to the northeast of the city proper. It is headquarters of the Imperial Legion as well as its armory and the Imperial Prison. The troublemakers and other various prisoners were kept locked up in that prison. The prison is also connected to an ancient labyrinth of Ayleid ruins, a fact not known to the general populace of the Imperial City. However, the Imperial Legion is aware of that fact and keeps the ruins sealed.
The commander of the Imperial Legion during the Oblivion Crisis was Adamus Phillida. He was renowned across Cyrodiil for his constant war against the Dark Brotherhood and had led the Imperial Legion for forty years, surviving many attempts on his life by the assassin guild he sought to destroy. In Oblivion the Hero can kill him during the Dark Brotherhood questline, during which he will retire to Leyawiin.
The Arcane University is the site of the headquarters of the Mages Guild in Cyrodiil. The University is closed to all non-members and low-level recruits of the Mages Guild. To gain access to that prestigious university, an aspiring mage needs a recommendation letter from the various heads of the guildhalls across Cyrodiil.
During the Oblivion Crisis, the Mages Guild was led by Arch-Mage Hannibal Traven, a powerful mage who took a strong stance against Necromancy. Under his leadership, the Mages Guild banned Necromancy from the Mages Guild, an act that was regretted by many other high-level members of the Guild.
A special branch of the Imperial Legion known as the Imperial Battlemages guard the university. They are highly trained in the magical arts as well as the use of the blade and heavy armor. The Arcane University contains various buildings dedicated to each of the magical arts and studies such as the Lustratorium for Alchemy (Oblivion) study, the Chironasium for enchantment study, the Praxographical Center for the creation of spells, and the Mystic Archives, also known as the Arcane Library. In the center of that circular compound was the Arch-Mage's Tower. The Arch-Mage's Tower consists of a lobby, the Council Chambers, the Arch-Mage's Quarters, and the Imperial Orrery in the basement. The Arch-Mage and the Council members manage the entire Mages Guild throughout Tamriel from the Arcane University. The Imperial Orrery is one of two contraptions in Tamriel that studied the celestial bodies. The first of the two was created by the Dwemer during the First Era on the island of Stros M'kai in Hammerfell.
The Waterfront is the harbor and docks of the Imperial City and was located to southwest of the city proper. This is the region where ships from throughout Tamriel come to trade, pick up and drop off goods, and conduct other economical business. An underground route connects the Waterfront to the Temple District. The inhabitants of the Waterfront District mostly consist of the lower classes of Imperial society; beggars and ruffians are often seen prowling the district.
The Thieves Guild is widely known to operate in that area, yet the Imperial Legion has difficulty capturing the Guild's leaders, the Doyens and the Gray Fox. The beggars in the Waterfront are quite protective to any inquiries about the Gray Fox, and it is considered obvious by the Imperial Legion that a symbiotic relationship is maintained between the Thieves Guild and the beggars. It was even said that the beggars are under the personal protection of the Gray Fox.
The central ring-shaped hub of the city is split up into districts, beginning North-East and moving clockwise:
- Market District – Contains various Merchant shops selling everything from Weapons and Armor to Potion Ingredients.
- Arena District – Contains the Imperial City Arena where the Hero can engage in betting on fights or actually participating in them.
- Arboretum – Contains various statues and gardens.
- Temple District – Contains the Temple of the One and a few "Upper Class" homes.
- Green Emperor Way – Contains The Imperial City Palace and the Elder Council Chambers.
- Talos Plaza District – Home to the Wealthier Inhabitants of the city.
- Elven Gardens District – A residential area inhabited by many of the Citizens of the city.
Outside the center ring are three districts:
- Prison – Located northeast of the Market District.
- Arcane University – Located southeast of the Arboretum.
- Waterfront – Located southwest of the Temple District. This part seems to house the poorer people of the city, and the Thieves Guild.
- The Elder Scrolls: Arena
- The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall (mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
- An Elder Scrolls Novel: The Infernal City (mentioned only)
- An Elder Scrolls Novel: Lord of Souls (mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls Online (Seen in distance, not accessible)
- The Elder Scrolls: Legends