Whiterun (Dragon Language: Ahrol-Se-Dovah: "-Of-Dragon") 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.
- 1 History
- 2 Sociology
- 3 Allegiance
- 4 City layout
- 5 Points of interest
- 6 Purchasable property
- 7 Characters
- 8 Main questline
- 9 Gallery
- 10 Trivia
- 11 Bugs
- 12 Appearances
- 13 References
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, who was the captain of Jorrvaskr. 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.
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.
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.
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 claims that he has yet to decide who to join in the Civil War, making the city of Whiterun neutral. 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 will note that he believes that he and Whiterun have obligations to the Empire and owes it his loyalty, but will also tell that he must honor the Nord people desiring independence as well. Eventually, he and Whiterun will side with the Empire, although there are several indicators beforehand that suggest Whiterun leans more towards the Empire:
- Tactical maps found throughout Skyrim list Whiterun as an Imperial controlled city.
- The Age of Aggression, a pro-Imperial song, is played 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.
Whiterun is composed of three distinct districts:
The Plains District
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 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 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
- Arcadia's Cauldron – Alchemy shop
- Belethor's General Goods – General goods store
- The Drunken Huntsman – Tavern and hunting supply shack
- Warmaiden's – Weapons and armor smithy
- Whiterun Marketplace
- Amren's House
- Carlotta Valentia's House
- Heimskr's House
- House Gray-Mane
- House of Clan Battle-Born
- Olava the Feeble's House
- Severio Pelagia's House
- Uthgerd's House
- Ysolda's House
Outside the City
Breezehome, the house in Whiterun, costs 5000 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.
- Alfhild Battle-Born
- Bergritte Battle-Born
- Idolaf Battle-Born
- Jon Battle-Born
- Lars Battle-Born
- Olfrid Battle-Born
- Aela the Huntress
- Kodlak Whitemane
- Njada Stonearm
- Vignar Gray-Mane
- Adrianne Avenicci
- Carlotta Valentia
- Eorlund Gray-Mane
- Farengar Secret-Fire
- Fralia Gray-Mane
- Ulfberth War-Bear
- Commander Caius
- Eimar (appears after "Dampened Spirits")
- Lillith Maiden-Loom
- Lucia HF
- Maurice Jondrelle
- Mila Valentia
- Olava the Feeble
- Severio Pelagia
- Sickly Farmer
- Skulvar Sable-Hilt
- Tilma the Haggard
|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|
- Dragons may attack and sometimes kill the inhabitants in Whiterun.
- Whiterun is home to Skyrim's only temple of Kynareth. This is due to the Gildergreen's presence in the town square.
- 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.
- During the Civil War questline, Balgruuf is afraid the city walls might not be able to hold up against a siege because of its age.
This section contains bugs related to Whiterun (Skyrim). Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:
|Click to see the list of bugs encountered|
- Holdings of Jarl Gjalund
- Great Harbingers
- Olaf and the Dragon
- Dialogue with Proventus Avenicci
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Skyrim
- Dialogue with Balgruuf the Greater
- Dialogue with Danica Pure-Spring
- Edoras in the film trilogy The Lord of the Rings
|Cities||Dawnstar • Falkreath • Markarth • Morthal • Riften • Solitude • Whiterun • Windhelm • Winterhold|
|Holds||Eastmarch • Falkreath Hold • Haafingar • Hjaalmarch • The Pale|
The Reach • The Rift • Winterhold Hold • Whiterun Hold