The Imperial City is the capital city of Cyrodiil and the Septim Empire during The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Located on the City Isle in the midst of Lake Rumare in the Heartlands it is visible from many miles mainly due to White-Gold Tower which is looming over the city. The Ayleid-built city consists of a total of ten districts. Six of them are arranged in a circle around the central Palace District. The remaining three are located outside the main city walls. A vast sewer system interconnected with ruined Ayleid structures run under the city.
The Market District to the northeast 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 Arena District east of the Palace District 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.
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.
The Temple District in the southwest 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.
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 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 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 Imperial City Sewers run under all the city's district apart from the Waterfront and the Prison. The labyrinthine structure ist infested by various creatures.
Quests which start in the Imperial City, sorted by district.
Imperial City Market District
Imperial City Arena
Imperial City Temple District
Imperial City Waterfront
Imperial City Talos District
For a full list of all the residents of the Imperial City, see Imperial City/Residents.
- Hannibal Traven
- High Chancellor Ocato
- Alessia Ottus
- The Emperor (Excluding the Tsaesci who ruled during the early Second Era)