Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

For other uses, see Windhelm.

Windhelm, also known as the City of Kings, is an ancient city in the region of Eastmarch, Skyrim. It is currently under the control of the Ebonheart Pact, which is led by Jorunn the Skald-King.[1] While Windhelm is not the oldest city in Skyrim, it is the oldest continuously inhabited settlement of men, and is possibly the oldest inhabited settlement in Tamriel altogether.

The Vestige arrives at Windhelm during the annual festivities of the Konunleikar, where the whole kingdom celebrates the 10th year of Jorunn's reign and where clans from all the holds and visiting dignitaries engage in revelry, festivities and contests. The Pact also holds a council with all its members convening for the future of the Pact.

Both the Fighters and Mages Guilds have chapters in the city.


During The Return in the late Merethic EraYngol, the son of the legendary Nordic warrior Ysgramor, was separated from the rest of the fleet in a terrible storm. Ysgramor eventually found the shipwreck of Yngol's longboat, the Harakk, and discovered that his son and his crew had been slain by the Sea-Ghosts.[2][3][4]

Ysgramor, in grief, decided to build a great city where the nearby river met the sea. It was built as a monument to mankind. The city was built in traditional Atmoran fashion and was constructed by Elven prisoners.[3] Ysgramor ordered for a great bridge to be constructed. Forever striding the river so that no elf might sneak through to avenge his brethren. As the bridge was built long, so too was the palace built high, spires reaching the sky to show domination even over the very winds.[3]

Once Ysgramor and his men had settled in this new land, the reign of the Ysgramor Dynasty began, and Windhelm served as the capital city of the First Nordic Empire. It is said that a huge tomb was prepared for Ysgramor in the deep hallows beneath the city. However, Ysgramor chose to be buried at sea, facing his homeland, Atmora. Ysgramor's burial place is known simply as Ysgramor's Tomb.[3]

In 1E 369, Windhelm was sacked in the War of Succession. Over 3000 years later in 2E 572, it was sacked once again by the Dir-Kamal and his forces in the Second Akaviri Invasion.

Today, Windhelm is a bustling center for commerce and war activity.[5] While most of the town's buildings have been restored since the Akaviri invasion, King Jorunn requested that the Palace of Ysgramor be repaired last.

It is home to Thane Mera Stormcloak, Ulfric Stormcloak's ancestor and daughter of the city's former captain of the guard. The Stormcloaks are said to have helped establish Windhelm in ages past along with Ysgramor.


The city sits on the northern bank of the great White River which flows out into the frigid Sea of Ghosts. It also has a port, accessible via a gate in the southeastern part of the city. Windhelm is located near the northern border of the hold, near Winterhold and The Pale. It is also close to the border with Morrowind, but there are no roads leading into the ash-cloaked province from Eastmarch.

The city has very cold weather, being in the frigid, snowy tundra of Skyrim, however travelers heading toward The Rift or Whiterun will see the landscape turn green and lush almost immediately south of the city limits. Travelers to the city are greeted by the ice-covered bridge leading to the main gate, but it is the ancient, majestic Palace of Ysgramor, towering over all other structures in the city, that is truly breathtaking. The palace is considered to be one of the oldest human-constructed buildings still standing in Tamriel, and one of the only First Empire structures remaining.

The city slopes slightly northward and has different levels of elevation, with the Palace located at the city’s highest point, making it even more visible and striking. The streets have high, thick walls around them, giving the city something of a claustrophobic feel; the sky is almost always white or overcast, and fierce blizzards batter the city with alarming regularity. It is within these snow-strewn streets and icy alleys that Windhelm's hardy inhabitants live.



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