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For other uses, see Whiterun.

Whiterun (Dragon Language: AHROLSEDOVAH Ahrol-Se-Dovah: "Hill-Of-Dragon")[1] is the capital city of Whiterun Hold, in the center of Skyrim. In Whiterun, Nords live in the 'traditional' manner: their lives are simple, harsh, and rooted in ancient ideas. Even the city's fortifications—wooden and stone palisade walls and the sheer defensive advantage offered by its position on a large bluff that raises the city above the surrounding tundra—are archaic by contemporary standards.

Due to its central location, Whiterun serves as the commercial heart of Skyrim.


"The Plains District of Whiterun is home to the city's shops and market, while the Wind District is mostly a residential district. The Jarl's palace, Dragonsreach, dominates the Cloud District."
Proventus Avenicci[src]

Merethic Era

Whiterun Seal

The symbol of Whiterun.

Whiterun is located on the eastern end of its Hold, in the tundra plains that fill the center of Skyrim. It was founded by Jeek of the River,[2] who was the captain of Jorrvaskr.[2] Upon discovery of the Skyforge, he and his men constructed the great mead hall of Jorrvaskr, which at the time was the sole structure on the bluff. Now, Whiterun is a large city, albeit one that retains the feel of a smaller Nord village. The central location and easy access make it one of the most successful cities in trade.

First Era

When approaching Whiterun, the towering fortress of Dragonsreach dominates the view. Its history can be traced back to the First Era, when King Olaf One-Eye subdued the great dragon Numinex in a legendary duel of Thu'um atop Mount Anthor and brought him back to the fledgling town as a captive. It was then that the magnificent keep was rebuilt and renamed to serve as a cage for Numinex, whose head still adorns the Great Hall.[3][4]

Gjalund was the Jarl of Whiterun sometime in the First Era. As Jarl, his holdings included Whiterun, Granite Hill, Rorikstead, Old H'roldan, Bromjunaar, Korvanjund, Volunruud and Ivarstead.[1]


TESV Banner Whiterun

The banner of Whiterun.

Whiterun was once considered Skyrim's equivalent of the Imperial City, but in recent times has suffered from many problems. The Civil War, excessively harsh winters, harassment by Horme bandits, and the attacks of frost trolls have diminished the once-proud city.[5]

It's a strategic city for both the Imperial Legion and the Stormcloaks because of its central location, however Jarl Balgruuf the Greater remains neutral in the conflict.

The city is home to two important dynastic families, the Gray-Manes and the Battle-Borns. Once on good terms with one another, they are currently bitter enemies, as a result of their differing views on the civil war conflict, as well as the economic disparity between both clans, since the Battle-Borns are wealthy and the Gray-Manes are modest. Upon entering the city, the Dragonborn is able to choose a side, either Battle-Born or Gray-Mane, although this is not necessary to interact with the city's shops and temple.

Whiterun is home to The Companions, a faction similar to the Fighters Guild of Cyrodiil. Their headquarters are in Jorrvaskr, a legendary mead hall that was built next to the Skyforge, an ancient forge that is said to be older than both men and Elves. The city of Whiterun itself was built around Jorrvaskr, which attracts warriors from all across Tamriel.


Initially, Jarl Balgruuf decides not to join either side in the Civil War, making Whiterun neutral.[6] He does claim to owe a favor to General Tullius, to whom he seems indebted,[source?] but also suggests that he owes a favor to Ulfric Stormcloak as well.[source?] He notes that he believes he and Whiterun have obligations to the Empire and owes it his loyalty, but also says he must honor the Nords desiring independence as well.[6] Eventually, he and Whiterun will side with the Empire upon reaching that point in the Civil War quest line. However, even before this, there are several indicators that suggest Whiterun leans more towards the Empire:

  • Tactical maps found throughout Skyrim list Whiterun, as well as all towns and forts in the hold, as being under Imperial control, marked by red flags.
  • The Age of Aggression, a pro-Imperial song, is sung by bards in Whiterun Hold. This song is not present in Stormcloak territories.
  • Sometimes, after attacking a Whiterun guard they will say, "Fool! The Imperial Legion will have your blood!"
  • Stormcloak couriers are killed by the guards.
  • The guards offer Empire friendly dialogue to a Dragonborn wearing Imperial/Stormcloak armor and use Imperial swords and bows in combat.
  • There is a Stormcloak camp in the hold, but not an Imperial one.

City layout

TESV City Whiterun Panorama

A 360° view of the city's wind district at night.

Whiterun is composed of three distinct districts:

The Plains District

The Plains District Whiterun Skyrim

This is the first district any visitor to Whiterun enters, named as such because it is the lowest of the three and therefore closest to the plains outside the city. It contains all the major merchants, the marketplace and Breezehome.

The Wind District

The Wind District Whiterun Skyrim 1

The Wind District is where most of Whiterun's residential buildings (including the mead hall Jorrvaskr and the Gildergreen) are located and was named because of the strong mountain winds that gust through the area.

The Cloud District

The Cloud District Whiterun Skyrim

The Cloud District is the smallest of Whiterun’s three districts. Its name is derived from the fact that it is located atop the bluff Whiterun was built on and is therefore closer to the clouds than any other. It is dominated by the imposing form of Dragonsreach.

Points of interest

Eorlund skyforge

The Skyforge.




Jarl's Residence


Outside the City

Purchasable property



Breezehome, the house in Whiterun, costs 5000 Gold and can be bought from the steward after the Jarl grants permission, in gratitude for retrieving the Dragonstone from Bleak Falls Barrow. The seller is either Proventus Avenicci or Brill, depending on who remains Jarl after the Civil War. Earning approval requires the performance of certain tasks around the city. You can also buy the decorations for your home from the Steward, such as a laboratory and storage space.





Main questline

Quest Description Quest Giver Location
Bleak Falls Barrow Retrieve the Dragonstone. Jarl Balgruuf the Greater Dragonsreach
Dragon Rising Investigate a dragon sighting near Whiterun. Jarl Balgruuf the Greater Dragonsreach
The Way of the Voice Meet the Greybeards. Jarl Balgruuf the Greater Dragonsreach



  • Whiterun is home to Skyrim's only temple of Kynareth. This is due to the Gildergreen's presence in the town square.[7]
  • There is a skeleton floating in the moat underneath the bridge leading from Dragonsreach, there is no reason or story as to why it is there. When searched, a few pieces of gold can be found. The items respawn.
  • The settlement of Whiterun may be partially inspired by the settlement of Edoras, the capital of Rohan, in J.R.R. Tolkien's work The Lord of The Rings. Both of the settlements have a similar layout and appearance, for example Dragonsreach and Meduseld are rather similar. They also have similar banners with emblems of horses on them, and are both situated on the plains.[8]


This section contains bugs related to Whiterun (Skyrim). 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.
Click to see the list of bugs encountered
  •  PC   360   It is possible to get underneath/outside of Whiterun. This can be done by jumping on top of Carlotta Valentia's house via the walkway on the western wall. From there, climb to the easternmost v-shaped support strut that looks like a double dragon head on top of the roof. Then jump on top of the wall dividing the town. Walk west, and you'll fall through it. Using Become Ethereal or Restoration spells are recommended here to prevent death by fall damage.
  • Another way of getting out of Whiterun is to head to the Skyforge, Whirlwind Sprint onto Jorrvaskr, jump on the roof, head to the southern end of the roof of the building, then Whirlwind Sprint onto an intersection between two walls, then drop down outside of the map.
  •  360   Sometimes on rare occasions, when heading out of Whiterun, the walls around the front gates and the ground will become invisible. The Dragonborn can then actually walk passed or underneath the gates to the outside. The world will not be loaded except for some buildings, the ground, and mountains. There will also be world holes that the Dragonborn can jump out of the world through. This can simply be fixed by reloading a save from before.
  • Underneath the city, several Do Not Delete chests can be found. Known accessible chests are located underneath Skyforge and Carlotta's stall. There are two visible chests underneath Fralia Gray Mane's and Anoraiath's stalls.
  • Killing cows inside Whiterun may result in you receiving bounty in Winterhold.
  • After entering the city, to the left there is a storm drain. If you walk past by the guard's house the texture will change from shallow rushing water to deep water.
  •  360   It seems at some points the platform around the Underforge and the Skyforge will disappear and prevent entrance to the Underforge. One fix is to leave Whiterun altogether and then re-enter or simply load a previous save.
  • When near Dragonsreach, if the Dragonborn goes to the left of the building, heading towards the rocks will hide your character inside Dragonsreach's walls.
  •  PC   360   PS3   Completing "Battle for Whiterun" may add a large bounty for Severio Pelagia's death from the catapult's fireballs, although he cannot be saved and is not directly attacked.
  •  360   Upon entering the city at Whiterun Stables, after completing the quest "Promises To Keep", up to three or four Louis Letrush's can spawn there.
  • Another easier way to get out of the city is as soon as entering Whiterun, you make a right and go a little ways and make another right into the small space that is surrounded by walls. Jump up on top of the barrel, and facing the wall farthest away from the barrel, jump and try getting into the small hole. This takes a few tries, but after succeeding climb across the wall and get outside of the hole, from there follow the wall and when you see an incline with an invisible ground go up it and make a left and you should be able to go through the rocks and access Eorlund Gray-Mane's chest containing all of his items. This can also be done by getting the Do Not Delete chest from Elgrim's Elixirs and dropping it next to the wall that is used to get out.
  •  PS3   A random guard from another hold (most likely an Imperial hold) may spawn in front of Dragonsreach after completing the Battle for Whiterun (Stormcloak side).
  •  360   PS3   When out of the city using the glitch, looking at the gate, and then looking left, along that line of walls will be a location named simply "To." Going here will result in an infinite loading screen.
  •  PC   360   PS3   Head into the castle with 5000 Gold and find Proventus Avenicci. Speak to him while he's near something you can store items in, such as the wardrobe in his room. Speak to him about purchasing the house and select the answer "I'll take it" but immediately back out of the conversation, then immediately open up the wardrobe and store all your gold in it. You'll receive the key to the house, and then you can retrieve all your gold from the wardrobe.[9]
  •  PC   Sometimes, upon attempting to enter Whiterun through the main gates during the quest Rebound, your game will crash to your computer desktop. Currently, the only known fix is to unpack all the BSA files in the Skyrim meshes folder.
  • Sometimes, if the Dragonborn does anything that would earn a bounty in Whiterun, the bounty will go to Falkreath instead.confirmation needed