Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

"Once the capital of the First Empire, the palace of the Ysgramor dynasty still dominates the center of the Old City. Windhelm was sacked during the War of Succession, and again by the Akaviri army of Ada'Soon Dir-Kamal; the Palace of the Kings is one of the few First Empire buildings that remains."
Imperial Geographic Society[src]

Windhelm, or the City of Kings is one of the nine major cities in the province of Skyrim. It is the capital of both the Giant's Run and the Eastmarch region of Skyrim. Windhelm is one of the oldest Tamrielic cities and is a shining example of how great the original Empire of Humans was in its prime.

By game[]



Windhelm is one of the larger cities of Skyrim and is located in a rather strategic location. Windhelm is situated on the Yorgrim Estuary, which leads to the Sea of Ghosts. It is because of this, Windhelm serves a trading post and a gateway between the Sea transport and the mainland of Skyrim. Windhelm is built on the steep hills north of the Yorgrim River in Eastmarch, in a pocket area of the Winterhold Mountains, which shows just how amazing the Atmorans were in their architecture. To connect Windhelm, to the southern river edge, there is a large stone bridge that towers over the Yorgrim River. It is also the first line of defense in Windhelm. The Nords of Windhelm had utilized the frozen land around them for various purposes, ranging from a Nordic Tomb for the Windhelm Family with Morvunskar and the various farms along the road towards the Dunmeth Pass and Blacklight. Windhelm is one of the oldest cities in Tamriel, and it is surprising to see it withstand the test of time, looking the same as it did several thousands of years ago. The Atmorans had also created caves and catacombs underneath Windhelm that is said to house the tomb of Ysgramor himself.

Windhelm city itself is vast and easily coordinated. The central district of Windhelm is known as the Stone Quarter, which consists of southwestern Windhelm and the main street. The Stone Quarter houses the town square in front of Candlehearth Hall as well as the Hall of the Dead and the Temple of Talos. Various shops are held in this area among other businesses. The town square is in between each separate part of the city and leads to the outside and the Great Bridge of Windhelm. The Gray Quarter, formally known as the Snow Quarter, has currently been used by the displaced Dark Elves from the province of Morrowind. The Gray Quarter takes up the eastern portion of Windhelm and is considered the slums of Windhelm. As you through the streets, you see all sorts of Dunmeri memorabilia. The New Gnisis Cornerclub is one of the most well-known inns in the area.

The district known as Valunstrad, which translates to the Avenue of Valor, is essentially the nobles district of Windhelm. The Nordic Clans of Eastmarch have a home in the Valunstrad Quarter, and other estates inhabit the area like Hjerim and the House of Clan Shatter-Shield. The Palace of the Kings is the seat of power in the city of Windhelm and is one of the most massive structures in the region. It was built as a Palace for Ysgramor himself. The Windhelm Docks are located along the Yorgrim River, just before the Sea of Ghosts. It is where the Argonian population lives in, all of them live in the Argonian Assemblage, one of the worst homes in Skyrim. Many different families are crammed into this large hall.


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  • The Nords of Windhelm celebrate the New Life Festival on the 1st of Morning Star. It is a day of celebration where the drinks are free and people party in the streets all day. It truly is, a day of merriment. The Nords celebrate the holiday with the Snow Bear Plunge, where they would leap into the Yorgrim River.[1][2]
  • The Nords of Windhelm celebrate the South Wind's Prayer on the 15th of Morning Star. It is a day to pray to the Gods for a bountiful harvest, and it is for citizens who cannot afford to heal from the local temple to get healed from an ailment.[2]
  • The Nords of Windhelm celebrate Heart's Day on the 16th of Sun's Dawn. It is in honor of a legend passed down from generation to generation about a couple named Polydor and Eloisa. Every Inn in Tamriel become free for visitors arriving into town.[2]
  • The Nords of Windhelm celebrate the First Planting on the 7th of First Seed. It is the day that begins the harvest, where neighbors reconcile their difference, bad habits are dropped, and the clerics heal people for free.[2]
  • The Nords of Windhelm celebrate the Second Planting on the 7th of Second Seed. The holiday is ideally the same holiday as First Planting, to improve one’s soul, and to improve relationships with others.[2]
  • The Nords of Windhelm celebrate the Mid Year Celebration on the 16th of Mid Year. A day to distract everyone from the increased taxes. It is a day celebrating the halfway mark in the year, where many warriors feel blessed and venture to dungeons they normally cannot defeat.[2]
  • The Nords of Windhelm celebrate the Merchant's Festival on the 10th of Sun's Height. It is a day that benefits the consumer in the market. Traders and Gypsies drop the prices on their stock. The only place that does not celebrate it is the Mages Guild. This is the same day as the Summoning of Boethiah.[2]
  • The Nords of Windhelm celebrate Sun's Rest on the 20th of Sun's Height. It is a day when the workers of Tamriel take a day to relax, businesses across town are closed in observance of this day. Some people have to have to leave the province to actually buy something.[2]
  • The Nords of Windhelm celebrate Harvest's End on the 27th of Last Seed. It is the final day of the harvest, and it is where the people eat the crops they have grown since the First Planting. Travelers are given the option to join a farmer’s family for a feast.[2]
  • The Nords of Windhelm celebrate Tales and Tallows on the 3rd of Hearthfire. It is the day of superstition where the elderly do not speak for an entire day, in fear of evil spirits entering their body. The Mages of Tamriel favor this day since it is a day to study the oldest forms of magic.[2]
  • The Nords of Windhelm celebrate the Witches' Festival on the 13th of Frostfall. A day where the creepy ghouls and creatures of the night gather to terrorize the denizens of Tamriel. Many have not dared to wander the streets at night, in fear of being nabbed by a creature.[2]
  • The Nords of Windhelm celebrate the Warriors Festival on the 20th of Sun's Dusk. It is a day where many warriors gather to practice their fighting prowess. Travelers by weapons in stores since their price's drop by half. Young children foolishly buy weapons, only to stab themselves by mistake.[2]
  • The Nords of Windhelm celebrate the North Wind's Prayer on the 15th of Evening Star. It serves as a thanksgiving to the Gods for the year's harvest. It is a day when the local temples heal and bless anyone for a lower price.[2]
  • The Nords of Windhelm celebrate the Old Life Festival on the 31st of Evening Star. It is a day of rest, where many leave the events of the passing year behind and to reflect their past. They rest for the New Life Festival.[2]
  • On the 13th of Sun's Dawn, the Nords of Windhelm celebrate the Feast of the Dead. It is in honor of Ysgramor's formation of the Five Hundred Companions and the Atmoran's retaliation against the Snow Elves for the Night of Tears. Each member of the Five Hundred Companions has their name recited during the Feast.[3][4]


Merethic Era[]

Atmoran Expansion into Skyrim; Founding of Windhelm[]

With the destruction of Saarthal, Ysgramor and his people had traveled back to Atmora in an event known as the Return. In his hubris, Ysgramor amassed his Five Hundred Companions to purge the Snow Elves of the land for betraying their trust in this new land. During their voyage back to Skyrim, the Storm of Separation had occurred and in the end, Yngol, the son of Ysgramor had perished at the mighty hands of Kyne. The Companion Yngol would be buried in a tomb along the Yorgrim Estuary. After one of the last battles against Snow Elves, many of the Companion groups had separated, beginning to settle all across the province. Ysgramor, stricken with grief, looked south where the river met the sea and saw the site of a great city. Ysgramor declared that this city would be a monument to the glories of mankind and that his new palace would look over Yngol Barrow. He felt that his line would bring peace to the land, something that was denied to them on Atmora.[5][6]

The Construction of Windhelm, the City of Kings[]

The Elven captives would soon go to work for the construction of Windhelm. Many prisoners had died during the process, either through excessive work or by the hands of the Ylgermet crew. Ysgramor drove them to work harder by constructing the great bridge in between the city and the rest of Eastmarch. The Palace of the Kings was built with large spires jutting out of the clouds, to show its dominance over the province. Deep underneath Windhelm, there is a large tomb designed to house the deceased Five Hundred Companions and Ysgramor should they be called to Sovngarde. However, Ysgramor was buried in an ancient tomb along the Sea of Ghosts, so that the crypt would look towards Atmora. Although his spirit has passed, the heart of his dynasty yearns for the still-green fields of Atmora, before it had frozen over. And so, the city-state of Windhelm was created, and it lives on, even before its creator.[6]

First Era[]

The First Empire of the Nords & the Nordic Conquest[]

As time went on, the Ysgramor Dynasty had ruled out from the city-state of Windhelm. The 13th of the Ysgramor line, Harald had accomplished many things for the people of Skyrim and made the province what it is to this day. Harald's forces had eliminated the last Snow Elves located in the Rift and had relinquished all holdings from Atmora, then making the centralized Kingdom of Skyrim, naming Windhelm as the capital of Skyrim. As Harald became the first king of the Nords, the Atmoran Companions returned to their homeland, and the Nordic Kingdom expanded themselves as a militaristic power. The Nords finally looked towards their destiny and sought to conquer the whole continent of Tamriel. Within a few years, the Nordic Empire had conquered land beyond the traditional borders of Skyrim, to modern-day Daggerfall, to the Nibenay, and to the Western Front of Morrowind. As time went on, his youngest son, Vrage the Gifted had assumed the throne and established Windhelm as the capital of the First Empire of the Nords.[3][7][8]

Second Era[]

Main article: Windhelm (Online)

Rise and Fall of Jarl Elgryr the Unminded[]

Sometime during the Second Era, the city-state of Windhelm was ruled by Jarl Elgryr the Unminded, whose rule was despised throughout the land. While his people were freezing to death, the Palace of Ysgramor would be the place of hearth and revelry. Elgryr would give little to no attention to the denizens of Windhelm. The Court Wizard was mysterious and fear-inducing to the people, he would visit peoples homes at strange times, only to leave a bloody mess on the floor, murderous and demented. Windhelm's people were starving, growing insane with a lack of food. The people of Windhelm have demanded justice, taking arms and preparing the breach the gates of the Palace. The residents of Windhelm stormed the Palace of the Kings, it is unknown how the revolution had ended, but Elgryr's time as the Jarl would pass. The date of this is left unknown, but the letters detailing the events were recovered in the third era.[9]

The Kingdom of Eastern Skyrim & Queen Freydis[]

The Jagged Crown was an ancient helm that was created by King Harald, as a symbol of sovereignty in Skyrim. It was however lost to time when Borgas of Winterhold was slain by the Wood Elves during the Wild Hunt. The Crown was replaced by the Crown of Verity, a mystical crown that chooses the heir to the throne of the High King. During the reign of Versidue Shaie, High King Logrolf of Skyrim was assassinated, leaving the throne of the High King to his daughter, Freydis of Windhelm. But controversy would arise when Jarl Svartr of Solitude claimed that Freydis was an illegitimate heir to the throne, even though the Crown of Verity had chosen Freydis. Instead of a civil war, a moot was created where it ended in favor of Svartr. These contradictions caused a schism between the Nords of West Skyrim and the Nords of the Old Holds which resulted in the province separating into the independent Kingdoms of Western Skyrim and Eastern Skyrim. With the latter being ruled by High Queen Freydis. Her descendants would rule across the Kingdom for generations.[3][10]

The Second Akaviri Invasion; Fall of Queen Mabjaarn[]

During the Interregnum in 2E 572, the Kingdom of Eastern Skyrim was ruled by Mabjaarn Flame-Hair, who resided in the city-state of Windhelm and had three children. Around the same time, the Second Akaviri Invasion had commenced under the supervision of Ada'Soom Dir-Kamal. It had begun with the Sack of Windhelm when the Akaviri army had besieged the southern gate for a brief second. After that, the city of Windhelm was razed by the invaders, resulting in the death of both Mabjaarn Flame-Hair and Princess Nurnhilde. One of the twin brother, Fildgor Strong-Prince, was present in the battle, showcasing his battle prowess alongside the Stormfist Clan. The other twin brother, Jorunn the Skald-Prince had arrived into Windhelm, joining the fray with his companions, the Pack of Bards. A new leader was needed to rule over Eastern Skyrim and to force the Akaviri Army out of Tamriel. Fildgor stepped in and claimed the throne, expecting Jorunn to comply. However, the Skald-Prince refused to accept such a man of war onto the throne of Eastern Skyrim.[11][12]

The Brothers' War; Enter Jorunn the Skald-King[]

Fildgor Strong-Prince did not take Jorunn's defiance lightly, so he rallied the Stormfist Clan to prepare for an attack. Realizing that a Civil War was being conceived before him, Jorunn challenged Fildgor to a Traditional Nordic Duel, whoever succeeded, would be crowned the High King of Eastern Skyrim. It was the most prolonged three-hour fight in history, being dubbed the Brothers' War. The duel was brutal, weapons clashed, and blood was drawn but in the end, the newly-proclaimed Jorunn the Skald-King had garnered victory by shattering Fildgor's weapon during the battle and demanding him to surrender. Fildgor was forced to surrender, and he was exiled from Eastern Skyrim, the Stormfist Clan were also chastened for supporting him. Fildgor would live out in the territories of the Daggerfall Covenant, cursing his brother's name. Now that Jorunn was the leader of Windhelm, he gathered his forces and traveled to High Hrothgar alone, to seek aid from the Greybeards.[4][12]

The Battle of Stonefalls & the Ebonheart Pact[]

Jorunn traveled to High Hrothgar with the intent to seek aid from the Greybeards. However, the religious group were pacifists and did not help the Nordic Army in their battle, although, Jorunn did not leave empty-handed. The Greybeards summoned Wulfharth from the depths of Sovngarde, to aid Jorunn the Skald-King in his attack against the Akaviri. With everything in their grasp, Jorunn amassed a Nordic Army from the city-state of Riften, one that was inspired by Wulfharth's presence and fueled by anger against the Akaviri. Dir-Kamal's forces had traversed onto the Rift, besieging Fort Greenwall along the way, after witnessing the Nords at Riften, Dir-Kamal bypassed the city, entering the Stonefalls Ashlands, assuming the Nords would not follow. This was a fatal mistake. Dir-Kamal's forces would be cornered at Vivec's Antlers by the Nords to the west, the Dark Elves to the east, and the Argonians to the south. The Battle of Stonefalls would end with the utter devastation of the Akaviri Invaders and the formation of the Ebonheart Pact.[4][11][13]

Shadows Over Windhelm & the Konunleikar[]

During the Interregnum in 2E 582, the city-state of Windhelm celebrated the Konunleikar, an annual event celebrating the inauguration of Jorunn the Skald-King, ever since the Brothers' War. Thane Mera Stormcloak had hosted the Konunleikar, all the while protecting the city from any threat. Oddly enough, the Stormfist Clan had begun to appear throughout Windhelm, raising suspicion for Thane Mera and the Windhelm Guard. Mera Stormcloak had tasked the Vestige, an Agent of the Ebonheart Pact, to uncover the reappearance of the Stormfists. Events during the Konunleikar have had various injuries and deaths, resulting in the search. It was revealed that Leimaer the Raven, an Agent of the Stormfist had planned an assassination attempt, by having members of the Clan win the events of the Konunleikar, to gain an audience with the Skald-King. The Vestige had uncovered caches that helped the Stormfist cheat in the games.[14]

Enter the Stormfist Brigade; Fildgor's vendetta[]

At the Footrace of the Nine Holds, many competitors were severely injured, some of them were killed like Hadring the Swift, who passed away from a leg-related injury. Thane Mera Stormcloak had ordered the Vestige to travel along the outskirts of Windhelm, to seek the Stormfist encampment, where they would learn about their plot during the Konunleikar. When it was revealed that the Stormfist were to assassinate Jorunn from within the Hall of Trials, the Ebonheart Pact had intervened, seeking out Leimaer the Raven before she kills the High King. At the Hall of Trials, Jorunn and his entourage were ambushed by the Stormfist Clan, prompting a battle inside the Nordic Halls. Leimaer was defeated, but the struggle against the Stormfist would soon grow. Fildgor Orcthane had returned back to Eastmarch, to seek his revenge, by uncovering his eldest sister's corpse in the royal tombs of Fort Morvunskar, so that he can enter to the Nordic afterlife known as Sovngarde, to claim his supposed birthright.[15][16][17]

Third Era[]

Main article: Windhelm (Arena)

Windhelm during the Imperial Simulacrum[]

During the Imperial Simulacrum from 3E 389 to 3E 399, Emperor Uriel Septim VII was imprisoned along with Talin Warhaft in the Deadlands by Jagar Tharn. Tharn planned for months to capture the throne, and he was able to achieve so in the span of ten years. Tharn had a powerful weapon called the Staff of Chaos, and he split it into nine pieces and scattered them across Tamriel, the staff was the only thing keeping Uriel Septim and Warhaft in Oblivion. A warrior escaped his clutches and traveled all corners of Tamriel to retrieve the missing pieces. The hero was known as the Eternal Champion, and he assembled the staff and defeated Jagar Tharn at the Imperial Palace. The Eternal Champion had at one point visited the city of Windhelm in their quest to recover the pieces.[18]

Fourth Era[]

Main article: Windhelm (Skyrim)

Ulfric's chronicles in Skyrim & Jarl Hoag Stormcloak[]

During the Great War around 4E 176, the city-state of Windhelm was ruled by Hoag Stormcloak, who was known as the Great Bear of Eastmarch.[19] Hoag was a member of the Stormcloak Clan, one of the most prominent Nordic Clans throughout Eastmarch and the Old Holds. His only son, Ulfric Stormcloak had an impressive record ranging from being a veteran of the Great War to being a former student of High Hrothgar.[19] When the Forsworn of the Reach had captured the city of Markarth under the name of Madanach, Ulfric Stormcloak and his militia of warriors had retaken Markarth. With the Legion was still fathered in Cyrodiil,[20][21] Ulfric reclaimed the city without Imperial assistance. Ulfric demanded that the worship of Talos would be permitted in Markarth as they were promised,[20] despite the laws set forth by the White-Gold Concordat. This was, however, put under the rug when the Imperial Legion and Jarl Hrolfdir of Markarth[22] were forced to imprison Ulfric and continue the ban over the worship of Talos, by order of the Thalmor.[23] While Ulfric was in prison, Hoag Stormcloak of Windhelm had perished, leaving Ulfric to inherit the throne of Windhelm. The Empire's failure to honor the agreement was one of the catalysts for Ulfric, for an impending conflict, believing that the Empire had abandoned the people of Skyrim. At Jarl Hoag Stormcloak's funeral, Ulfric was forced to deliver his eulogy via a smuggled letter from prison. After Ulfric's release, he inherited the throne of Windhelm.[20][23][19]

The Death of Torygg & the Skyrim Civil War[]

The High King of Skyrim at the time was Istlod, who ruled from the city-state of Solitude, located on the other side of the province, he passed away from old age, and new ruler needed to take his place. And so, a moot was held in Skyrim, which ultimately led to his son, Torygg to assume the throne as the High King. Jarl Ulfric of Windhelm was present at the moot, where he would make calls for independence, just shy of treason, which Torygg respected. Ulfric viewed Torygg as a symbol of the Empire, a symbol of the betrayal he felt after the Markarth Incident. In 4E 201, Ulfric traveled to Solitude and sought an audience with the High King himself. In the aftermath of their meeting, Ulfric had slain Torygg in a Traditional Nordic Duel and fled back to Windhelm. Several moments later, the Skyrim Civil War had commenced, Ulfric amassed the Stormcloak Army. As time went on, Jarl Ulfric would be captured at Darkwater Crossing and sentenced to death at Helgen, until the event was intervened by a large Dragon, causing the Civil War to continue.[24][25][26]

Racial Strife in Windhelm; Dunmeri Discrimination[]

During his reign as the Jarl of Windhelm, Ulfric Stormcloak gave more compassion to his fellow Nords in Windhelm, rather than the Dark Elves or the Argonians in Windhelm.[27] In the aftermath of both the Red Year, and the Accession War, the Dunmeri-folk traveled to the west, residing throughout the Old Holds and other border regions. Windhelm became a prime target for the Dark Elven Migration.[28] Many of the immigrants took refuge in the Snow Quarter of Windhelm, a place that is now considered the slums of Windhelm.[29] Because of this, the Snow Quarter was delicately called the Gray Quarter, for the gray skin elves that inhabit the district. When Ulfric became Jarl, all Dunmer of Windhelm had to live in the Gray Quarter.[30][31] The Argonians were forced to live in poverty at the Argonian Assemblage[32][31] but were more respected by the Nords, serving as dockmasters under the employment of the Shatter-Shield Clan and the Cruel-Sea Clan. The Dark Elves were treated poorly by the Nords, constantly being bullied and looked down on by the Nords of Windhelm. With the Civil War commenced, many Nords would accuse the Dark Elves of being supporters of the Third Empire.[27][33]

Blood on the Ice; Murder Strings in Windhelm[]

During the Skyrim Civil War in 4E 201, the city-state of Windhelm has experienced several murders that prompted a search by the Windhelm Guard. Jorleif, the Housecarl of Jarl Ulfric was in charge of the search, hiring anyone to uncover the murderer, including an estranged warrior from parts unknown. When the warrior arrived in town, the last person to be murdered was Susanna the Wicked, a barmaid from the Candlehearth Hall, her body was found outside of the Hall of the Dead in Windhelm. Whoever killed Susanna, left a blood trail to Hjerim, an estate in Valunstrad. Investigating Hjerim, the warrior discovered a hidden room filled with bloody bones and the Necromancer's Amulet, an artifact from Mannimarco, the King of Worms. With the help of two other citizens, Viola Giordano and Calixto Corrium, the Windhelm Court Wizard, Wuunferth the Unliving was arrested, accused of the killings. Things would take a turn for the worst when another murder happened, while Wuunferth was imprisoned. This prompted another search between the traveler and Viola Giordano, in the end, it was revealed that Calixto Corrium was the murderer. The raw bones in Hjerim were collected for a necromantic ritual, to revive the long-dead body of Calixto's sister. Calixto Corrium was killed by the warrior.[34]

Minor events[]

  • 2E ? – During the Tiber Wars, the city-state of Windhelm served as the base of operations for the Imperial Legion, as they were guarding the Dunmeth Pass in the east. This was likely over when Tiber Septim conquered Morrowind and established the Treaty of the Armistice.[3]
  • 4E 38 – The candles of Candlehearth Hall are lit when the great warrior, Vundheim had passed away. His son, Deroct had lit the candle, and it had not gone out ever since. His home was converted into the Candlehearth Hall, one of the most important inns in Windhelm.[35]



  • In an earlier development stage, Arena was going to be a tournament-based game, where each city had their own gladiatorial team. Windhelm's team was known as the Paladins.[UL 1]



Notice: The following are unlicensed references. They are not copyrighted by a ZeniMax Media company, but can still be considered part of The Elder Scrolls lore and are included for completeness.