Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

Mzinchaleft is a Dwemer Ruin located southwest of Dawnstar and east of Ustengrav. It is involved in a Dark Brotherhood quest, as well as a favor quest for Mjoll the Lioness in Riften. The Gatehouse of Mzinchaleft houses an entrance to Blackreach. It is accessible through the main quest. There is also a set of Falmer Armor in Mzinchaleft behind a gate with an Expert level lock.


Mzinchaleft shows the ancient struggle between the Dwemer and Falmer. The Falmer now lurk in their former masters' ruins, killing off Dwarven sentinels and constantly preparing for their war against the light dwellers.



"Tread carefully, friend... those same ruins almost took my life."
Mjoll the Lioness[src]

Outside Mzinchaleft, there are multiple bandits, who can be avoided with a high enough Sneak skill.

Once inside, the Dragonborn faces various bandit plunderers, Dwarven spiders and spheres on the first level. The path winds generally to the north. At one point, a bandit can be found with Maluril's room key. Along the second westward-bound section of the path is an opening to the right (north) that contains a bandit camp with various armor and potions on tables, plus a chest with a leveled sword.

Just beyond that is a crossroads with an open gate straight ahead (west, leading to nothing), a hallway sloping down to the left (south) that leads to a closed gate, and an Adept-locked door to the right (north). The right-hand door leads to Maluril's room. Aside from Maluril himself, Maluril's Journal is on a table, and a chest is nearby. The Speech skill book A Dance in Fire, Book VII is on another table in the same room.

The left-hand path leads down to a room with steps up on both sides (which simply lead to ledges on either side of the room). Across the room to the south is another open door. This leads to a path that turns west, north, and west again. There are several Dwarven spiders and guardians along the way. The path turns north again, then back to the east to a closed gate.

Beyond that gate is a puzzle involving a series of levers. To get to the final room, the levers must be toggled in the correct order. This puzzle is made much easier using the Slow Time or Whirlwind Sprint shouts to run past the moving bars. To solve the lever puzzle:

  1. Upon entering the first room with a lever, it should be activated (the First Lever).
  2. The room to the east opens. The lever in that room should be activated (the Second Lever).
  3. The room to the south opens (and the first room closes). The lever in the south room should be activated (the Third Lever).
  4. Back in the room with the Second Lever (now to the north), the Second Lever should be activated, which opens the way to the first room again.
  5. Proceeding west into the room with the First Lever, it should not be activated. Instead, there is now an open path to the room to the south. That room should be entered and the lever there (the Fourth Lever) should be activated.
  6. Continuing south into a new room, the lever there (the Fifth Lever) should be activated.
  7. Returning north to the room with the Fourth Lever again, the Fourth Lever should be activated.
  8. Once again returning north to the room with the First Lever, it should not be activated. Instead, the Second Lever (in the room to the east) should be activated.
  9. Now heading south past the room with the Third Lever (which should not be activated), the path is open to the room with the valve. Upon activating the valve, all of the gates will open. Note that this room also has two chests with random loot (one is Master-locked on the floor, the other is behind the valve.)

After this, the path to the south is clear. Past a closed door is an elevator to Mzinchaleft Depths.

Mzinchaleft Depths[]

Upon entering the Depths, there is a huge room with walkways above green water. (Underwater, there is a gate near a set of stairs leading into the water. Beyond the underwater gate is a submerged entryway to a three-room area. In the left room is an unlocked chest with leveled loot, and the right room has Dwemer tableware. These may be collected without the use of potions of Water-Breathing, but non-essential followers are likely to get lost behind you and drown. It is advisable to have them wait for you on dry land.) 

There are several Falmer here. At the first intersection, proceeding to the left (west) leads to a dead end with a Falmer tent. To the right (east) is another intersection. Turning right again (to the south) leads to a platform with a Chaurus and a chest in the back corner with leveled loot, plus 3 glowing mushrooms and many chaurus eggs. There is also a ballista on the same platform, but it is not possible to interact with it. 

Back at the second intersection (under a pavilion), there is a chest on a ledge to the north that is most likely only reachable with the Whirlwind Sprint shout. It contains randomized loot. This chest is also reachable by jumping into the water and climbing up the wall directly to the west of the chest, or by walking around the ledge to the east, and jumping up the wall.

Continuing east from the second intersection leads to another platform with a Falmer. There are also steps that lead down to the water, and a large closed door that opens to the east. To the south, the steps down to the water lead to an underwater gate in the southeast corner (against the south wall). This gate leads to a table with Dwarven Oil on a table, as well as 2 chests (one of which is in an underwater bedroom). Some type of waterbreathing (spell, potion, enchantment) will be helpful as it is all underwater, but if not over-encumbered and aware of the loot locations, it can be completed in multiple dives. The chests contain random loot. Another underwater chest is below the one requiring rock jumping or the shout.

To the north is a walkway that leads nowhere, but has several Falmer on it, along with 3 Dwemer cogs, a Falmer bow, and 2 chaurus eggs on a table. A double staircase leads down to the water to the west. At its bottom, there is another completely submerged staircase that leads down to the south.

Back up on dry land at the top of the stairs, the door leads to steps down to the south, and the path winds until it opens on a room that appears to be some type of court room (with a high bench, two tables in front, and benches for an audience). There are two more Falmer here.

Against the north wall of this room, a path leads east, then turns north again. After a long straight path, it turns west again to a room with a chaurus, a Falmer, and a trap with tripwire at the entrance. On a ledge overlooking the room are two Falmer huts, one containing a chest with leveled loot. There are many chaurus egg sacs scattered throughout the room.

The path continues north, then west, where the rough cave ends and the Dwarven ruins begin again. A gate leads to a large room with a fountain in the middle. There are several more Falmer here. Steps to the southwest lead to a spike gate that cannot yet be opened. In the northwest corner of the room is a spiral ramp with a Falmer tent in front that has three chests (two outside, one inside) containing leveled loot. The ramp leads up to a walkway with an expert-locket gate to the north and an unlocked (but closed) Falmer gate to the south. Behind the Falmer gate is a Falmer, tables with various loot, and a button. Activating the button opens the spike gate.

Behind the Expert-locked gate, the path goes left and right. To the right (east) is a table with an extremely rare set of Falmer Armor on it, plus a chest with a scroll and other loot. To the left is another table with a chest with leveled loot.

Back in the fountain room and up the steps, there is another fountain, but there are also two Falmer, one being a very high level (e.g. Falmer Warmonger). An adept-locked door leads south southeast, while a gate to the north leads to a long set of steps up. The south door leads to a room with much loot: a chest that contains a levelled weapon, a Centurion Dynamo Core on a table, along with much Dwemer scrap metal and a dead Dwarven Centurion that holds more loot. The steps on the other side lead up to the entrance to the Mzinchaleft Gatehouse.

Mzinchaleft Gatehouse[]

In the final room, the Mzinchaleft Gatehouse (which also contains a passage to Blackreach), the Dragonborn is required to fight a Dwarven Centurion (leveled) and a Dwarven Sphere. At this point, without the required quest item, the Dragonborn may only return to the surface via a lift (to the west side of the Gatehouse, behind where the centurion was waiting) directly to Skyrim. Against the north wall (behind the steps) is a spear gate. Up the steps is a ledge with nothing, but from there, it is possible to walk across the pipes to two other ledges, where pieces of Dwarven armor can be found. Mjoll the Lioness' sword, Grimsever, is found to the right of the Dwarven Centurion, on a pedestal. It may be covered by a shield. It is possible to use a potion of invisibility, grab Grimsever, then quickly dart out of the room as the potion wears off after grabbing the sword.

Upon taking the elevator to Skyrim, a lever to the right can be pulled to permanently unlock a quick route for future use. It is due west of where Mzinchaleft is marked on the world map, next to a north-south road.

Note that the Attunement Sphere is needed to activate the Dwarven Mechanism (which is to the southwest in the Gatehouse). The Sphere can be obtained from Septimus Signus at Septimus Signus' Outpost which is north of the College of Winterhold. Once activated, a set of steps surrounding the mechanism is revealed that lead down to a door to Blackreach.

Notable items[]



  • Waterbreathing will help the Dragonborn when exploring this area.
  • Treasure found beneath the green water varies.
  • It is possible to sleep in the bed in the underwater bedroom.
  • The unique Falmer armor set can be found at the top of a tower in the Mzinchaleft Depths behind a locked gate. It is found in the large room before the exit to the Gatehouse.
  • Maluril's Journal is right next to where Maluril is found (behind the locked door, which can be picked, or else the key obtained from the bandit standing in front) for the Dark Brotherhood Contract: Kill Maluril.
  • A ruined book near Maluril's Journal is an owned item and will count as stolen.
  • In the water near the submerged bedrooms door, there is a crack in the wall which teleports the Dragonborn halfway across the dungeon.
  • Next to the right golden dome, there is a jump location where it is possible to jump from the ledge above it onto a rocky area. From here it is possible to jump onto a large rock and onto a small ledge. The entire area can then be seen by jumping into the green water. The bedrooms can also be seen, and what would normally be walls can be walked through, making it easier to acquire the treasures.
  • It is possible, even at a low level (e.g. 10), that a Dwarven Centurion Guardian will be in the gatehouse, resulting in a very difficult fight.
  • Although everything in Mzinchaleft respawns after a certain amount of time, the gate puzzle will not reset, meaning once it has been solved, it does not need to be solved again.


This section contains bugs related to Mzinchaleft. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Please reload an old save to confirm if the bug is still happening.
  2. If the bug is still occurring, please post the bug report with the appropriate system template  360  /  XB1  ,  PS3  /  PS4  ,  PC  /  MAC  ,  NX  /  PS5  ,  XS  , depending on which platform(s) the bug has been encountered on.
  3. Be descriptive when listing the bug and fixes, but avoid having conversations in the description and/or using first-person anecdotes: such discussions belong on the appropriate forum board.
  •  PC   On occasion the red valve in the gatehouse will not turn when activated, preventing the last gate from being lowered.
  •  PS3   XB1   The Dwarven Centurion (Upgraded) near Grimsever might not fight back when attacked or even when approached closely.
  •  360   At random when exiting the ruin, the Dragonborn may get stuck and not be able to jump or move, but only run in place.
  •  360   It is possible to get through the barred door near the lift to Skyrim without getting the quest item by jumping and running. 
  •  PC   If the Dragonborn has a follower, the follower may not follow into the area outside Mzinchaleft and begin wandering randomly, as if the follower cannot follow the specific path. They will wander around to another path which leads them into the area.
  •  360   Followers may get stuck trying to get into Blackreach. The Dragonborn will get down the path fine, but followers will simply turn around and exit up the elevator and try to get in some other way. This could happen in both Raldbthar and Alftand due to the narrow passage.
  •  PS3   It is possible to get stuck in the Mzinchaleft spike gate room. In the section by the door, if one hits the lever and moves quickly, they can trap themselves. This holds no benefit, and the only way out is to use Beast Form to clip through the spike gate.