Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls
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For other uses, see Windhelm.

Windhelm, also known as the City of Kings,[1] is a city located in northeastern Skyrim. It serves as the capital of Eastmarch Hold. It is also the oldest city in Skyrim, possibly the oldest city of man on Tamriel that is still standing, dating back to the Merethic Era.[2][3]


Windhelm Seal

Windhelm's current seal.

"It's an old city, I can tell you that. The Palace of Kings is ancient. It's not the friendliest for outsiders. The Dark Elves were all forced to live in the slum called the Gray Quarter. The Argonians can't even live in the walls. They're all stuck out on the docks. Still, Candlehearth Hall's got decent food and cheap bunks. You could do worse."

After the eruption of Red Mountain, many Dunmer fled to Windhelm [4] and settled in an area known as the "Snow Quarter." The area has since been renamed the "Gray Quarter," as all of the Dunmer have congregated in this area.[5] Reasons as to why vary depending on who is spoken to within the city. Some say that the Nords of Windhelm sequestered the Dunmer from the other citizens in this "Gray Quarter"[6][7][8][9] in reference to the Dunmer skin color.[10]

Argonians are also segregated from the Nord population and are forced to live at the Argonian Assemblage at the city docks.[7] A decree by Ulfric Stormcloak forbidding the Argonians from living within the city's walls also exists.[11] If the Imperial Legion takes over Windhelm, Brunwulf Free-Winter becomes Jarl, as a supporter of both the Dunmer and Argonians, he believes that the Argonians should remain outside of the city for their own safety, "because most of the folk in the city believe as Ulfric did, that outsiders should not be trusted."[6] As a result of the treatment they face at the hands of the Nords, the Argonians point out how their lives are difficult,[12] and how the Nords do not appreciate them.[13] Other Argonians are also warned about the living conditions in the city for Argonians, being warned that they should not want to live in Windhelm.[14]

Dialogue with Ulfric Stormcloak, Windhelm's current Jarl, reveals that he does not attend to the issues occurring in the Gray Quarter due to being too busy with the rebellion.[15] The guards seldom patrol the Gray Quarter[10] and their reasons vary, depending on the characters spoken to within the city.

Despite the claims of Ulfric's racism towards anyone who is not Nord, High Elves seem to manage living in the city much better than the Dark Elves, despite the fact that the High Elves are the head of the Aldmeri Dominion. Niranye, an Altmer citizen of Windhelm, implies that it is because the Dark Elves refuse to conform, rather than because of Nordic racism.[16] She manages to attain a moderate amount of wealth and owns a stall in the market. Likewise, the Dunmer Belyn Hlaalu is allowed to own a successful farm on the outskirts of the city where he employs an elderly Nord woman, and likewise shares the view that his kin need to stop complaining and work harder to make a home for themselves, though he also acknowledges that the Dunmer are mistreated.[17] However, despite all of this, Belyn still has to live in the Gray Quarter.[18]

During the Skyrim Civil War, many Windhelm locals believe that they have been too lenient with the non-Nord population. The Dunmer are said to contribute to the city's high crime rate,[4] and are allowed to remain neutral in the Skyrim Civil War,[19] some think that the immigrants are more of a burden to Nord society than a benefit and that Ulfric should start imposing heavier taxes on them as compensation. It is suggested through dialogue with Viola Giordano that the Dunmer's taxes can be raised at the Jarl's whim.[20]

Civil War

Palace of the Kings Insignia

The banner of Windhelm is depicted by a bear.

During 4E 201, as the Skyrim Civil War rages on, Skyrim becomes a nation divided, and Windhelm becomes the new capital of the Stormcloak Rebellion, the main center of the entire Nord revolution against the Empire.[21] Windhelm is governed by Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak, the leader of the Stormcloaks. Ulfric was chosen by the public as the new Jarl of Windhelm after his father, the previous Jarl, died.[15] At least three of Skyrim's other eight holds pledged loyalty to Ulfric and his Stormcloak Rebellion during this time: the Pale, the Rift and Winterhold, along with their Jarls, Skald the Elder, Korir, and Laila Law-Giver. Whiterun Hold remains neutral ground as Balgruuf the Greater refuses to take a side in the conflict, while the Reach, Falkreath, and Hjaalmarch, remain loyal to the Empire alongside Haafingar Hold and the provincial capital, Solitude, under High King Torygg's widow, Elisif the Fair.

Ulfric believes that Skyrim should secede from what he believes is a corrupt and crumbling Empire. This stance came about due to the aftermath of the Great War and the introduction of the White-Gold Concordat by the Aldmeri Dominion, though it was not until the Markarth Incident that Ulfric's rebellion truly started.


Joining the Empire during the Main Quest will set Windhelm as the location of the last battle of the Civil War.


Windhelm is composed of three quarters:

Stone Quarter

Windhelm Skyrim Stone Quarter

The Stone Quarter is Windhelm’s central district; the one visitors first enter when passing through the Main Gate into the city. It contains the marketplace, the most important shops, and the city's inn.

Gray Quarter

Windhelm Skyrim Gray Quarter

The Gray Quarter was so named because of the large number of Dunmer that reside here. It was once named the “Snow Quarter,” but that was a long time ago. But, to the elves, the name “Gray Quarter” is one of derision, cruelty, and discrimination. They believe the Nord people of Windhelm have always seen them as outsiders and hated them because of it.[5]


Windhelm Skyrim Valunstrad Quarter

Translated from ancient Nordic, Valunstrad means "Avenue of Valor." It is the oldest section of Windhelm and has the largest buildings in the entire city, including the ancient and majestic Palace of the Kings and the only purchasable property in the city, Hjerim.[22]

Points of interest

Palace of the Kings Aurora

Palace of the Kings




Jarl's residence


Outside the city

Purchasable property

Hjerim House


Main article: Hjerim

After completing "Rescue from Fort Neugrad" for the Stormcloaks, or the full Civil War questline for the Empire, the house in Windhelm, Hjerim, can be purchased from the Jarl's steward for 12,000 Gold. Assigned by the Jarl to serve the new Thane and protect the house, Calder is the Housecarl of Hjerim.



Sofie, an orphan in the city.




Hero of Skyrim (Achievement)
Hero of Skyrim
Capture Solitude or Windhelm
Points 30 Gamer points
Silver trophy



This section contains bugs related to Windhelm (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.
  •  PC   360   PS3   The steward (Jorleif) may continuously claim that a house is not available for sale even if all prerequisites for purchasing a home are met. This seems to be most likely if he is spoken to before "Blood on the Ice" is completed.
  •  PC   360   PS3   Hillevi Cruel-Sea may randomly die from unknown causes even if "Blood on the Ice" is correctly resolved by killing Calixto Corrium. Her corpse can be found placed inside a coffin in the city's Hall of the Dead as normal.
  •  360   The game may freeze if the door from the docks is used to enter the city.
  •  360   After the Battle for Windhelm, pillars by Oengul War-Anvil's forge have fallen over. The meshes are in the correct destroyed position, however the collision for these pillars is in its former place. The player and other characters may now walk through them.
  •  360   The Whirlwind Sprint shout may be exploited to gain access to the roofs and outside boundaries of Windhelm via the northernmost roof in the Gray Quarter.