Not to be confused with Belkarth or Verkarth.
"If you're cutting your coins across Skyrim, you'll want to point your blade towards Markarth, the capital city of the Reach. There's no end of trouble in the City of Stone, and that means plenty of ways for you to earn your supper."
Amanda Alleia[src]

Markarth, Markarth Side, or the City of Stone is one of the nine major cities in the province of Skyrim, being the capital of the Reach. Markarth has held vast significance in the Reach, being claimed from the Reachmen to the Nords. Markarth was built from the ruins of Nchuand-Zel, which has been re-purposed into the modern city-state.

By gameEdit



The city-state of Markarth is situated deep within the Reach, along the Druadach Mountains that make up the border between Skyrim and High Rock. Markarth, or the original settlement, Nchuand-Zel was built around a large rock formation with twin rivers flowing between the lower valley and the upper path. Walking beyond the gates of Markarth will take the traveler to the base of Karthspire, a large mountain in the center of the Karth Valley. Beyond this point is unsafe territory, filled to the brim with the local Reachmen, both civil and hostile. Reaching the Karth River from Markarth will reveal a fork in the road, leading to the township of Karthwasten in the north and the stronghold of Fort Sungard in the south. The land that Markarth inhabits has large deposits of Silver, Iron, and Granite, with the latter being used in the construction of the palace in Evermore. The seat of power in Markarth is the Understone Keep, which contains an entrance to Nchuand-Zel, which is still underneath the city-state.

Markarth City is divided into two distinct districts, each separated by the large crag in the middle of the city. To the north is Dryside, which contains the market square, as well as, residential homes, which were initially part of the Dwarven Ruin, before being re-purposed by the locals. Dryside in itself is divided, with both an upper and lower level. The lower level is more or less a path to Understone Keep and the Temple of Dibella, while the upper level contains more homes and even the local treasury. To the south is the Riverside, which is a vast basin, essentially the industrial district of Markarth. Streets descend downwards towards the smelter and the infamous Cidhna Mine, which serves as the local prison. The poor and working class of Markarth live here, in an underground slum known as the Warrens. Ascending upwards to Understone Keep are several businesses, as well as, an entrance to both the Hall of the Dead and a sub-section of the Markarth Ruins. Waterfalls flowing above Understone Keep, flowing into each district of the city and eventually the Karth River around the mountain.[1]


Click to show
  • The Nords of Markarth Side 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.[OOG 1]
  • The Nords of Markarth Side 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.[OOG 1]
  • The Nords of Markarth Side 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.[OOG 1]
  • The Nords of Markarth Side 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.[OOG 1]
  • The Nords of Markarth Side 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.[OOG 1]
  • The Nords of Markarth Side 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.[OOG 1]
  • The Nords of Markarth Side 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.[OOG 1]
  • The Nords of Markarth Side 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.[OOG 1]
  • The Nords of Markarth Side 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.[OOG 1]
  • The Nords of Markarth Side 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.[OOG 1]
  • The Nords of Markarth Side celebrate the Witches' Festival on the 13th of Frostfall. A day where the creepy ghouls and creatures of the night gather to terrorize the residents of Tamriel. Many have not dared to wander the streets at night, in fear of being nabbed by a creature.[OOG 1]
  • The Nords of Markarth Side 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 buy weapons in stores since their price's drop by half. Young children foolishly buy weapons, only to stab themselves by mistake.[OOG 1]
  • The Nords of Markarth Side 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.[OOG 1]
  • The Nords of Markarth Side 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.[OOG 1]


First EraEdit

With the formation of the First Council in 1E 420, the Dwarves of the Rourken Clan had self-exiled themselves, eventually settling in the modern-day province of Hammerfell. But the Rourken were not the only ones to leave Resdayn, the Dwarves of the Kragen Clan had followed in their footsteps, embarking into the frozen wastes of Skyrim, where they established their first holding, the city-state of Arkngthamz. From then on, the Kragen spread across Skyrim, building cities including Nchuand-Zel, the modern-day Markarth. House Kragen had reached a breakthrough when discovering Aetherium, establishing a four-way kingdom in Skyrim. But like the other Dwemer, the Kragen had disappeared, never to be seen again. Nchuand-Zel was abandoned like the other Dwarven settlements in Tamriel. The Dwarven animunculi in Nchuand-Zel had laid dormant, waiting to be activated. The ruins were eventually inhabited by the cavernous critters and the outer ruins were taken over by the locals, creating the earliest form of Markarth.[2][3][4]

In 1E 2801, Emperor Kastav of the Second Empire used the Dragonguard to capture hostages from the cities of Markarth and Hroldan to ensure that the Jarls of Skyrim met with the conscription quotas made out by Kastav. The Master of the Dragonguard did not want to comply, but Kastav ignored the issue and had the Dragonguard take them away. Luckily, the hostages were housed with other acolytes of Sky Haven Temple, where the Dragonguard was stationed.[5]

Second EraEdit

During the Alliance War, the kingdoms of Western Skyrim (Falkreath, Morthal, Solitude, and Whiterun) split from the Kingdoms of Eastern Skyrim (Dawnstar, Riften, Windhelm, Winterhold) when controversy over the next High King grew greatly. The Reach, as well as Markarth, was independent of both nations and as a result, neutral in the Alliance War. Markarth was under the leadership of someone known as the Despot of Markarth.[OOG 2]

The Despot of Markarth was a very cruel and he commanded an army of Reachman. Markarth's denizens worshiped Hircine, the Daedric Prince of the Hunt. At one point, the Despot made an allegiance with Mannimarco, the King of Worms and Javad Tharn of the Nibenay. In 2E 578, Vanus Galerion tracked down Mannimarco in Markarth at the Inner Nchuand-Zel ruins and battled furiously in ruins. Mannimarco escaped, and Galerion rescued an Imperial scribe named Flaccus Terentius. Both Vanus and Flaccus left Markarth and traveled eastward to Windhelm.[6]

Third EraEdit

Main article: Markarth Side

During the Imperial Simulacrum, the Markarth Side township existed in Skyrim in between the towns of Snowhawk and Dragon Bridge. At one point, the Eternal Champion had visited the town on their quest for a piece of the Staff of Chaos to defeat Jagar Tharn at the Imperial Palace.

Fourth EraEdit

Main article: Markarth

In 4E 174, the Third Aldmeri Dominion attacked the Imperial Province of Cyrodiil in the efforts of installing order under the Thalmor. The Dominion besieged many cities across Cyrodiil and left the Imperial City open to attack. The Imperial Legion situated in the Reach had to leave Skyrim to help defend the Imperial Capital from the Elves. This gave the Forsworn Clan of Reachman the opportunity to capture Markarth and to reclaim the Reach under the leadership of Madanach, the King of Rags.[7][8]

The rule under the Forsworn was drastically different than in the second era where the Despot of Markarth oppressed the citizens. In the two years that Madanach was in control, Markarth was a peaceful kingdom and tried to convince the Empire into making the Reach an independent nation separate from Skyrim. Before the Empire was able to make a decision, Ulfric Stormcloak of Windhelm created a militia of Nordic Soldiers and besieged the city of Markarth in an event infamously known as the Markarth Incident. Then Jarl Hrolfdir of Markarth was forced by the Thalmor (who became involved in Imperial politics after the Great War) to arrest Ulfric for war crimes. This event was one of the leading causes of the Skyrim Civil War.[8]

In 4E 201, the city of Markarth was under the leadership of Jarl Igmund who, despite Ulfric Stormcloak's help in the Markarth Incident, believes firmly in the Mede Empire and that Ulfric's arrest was beneficial to Skyrim's safety. Around the same time, Ulfric Stormcloak destroys High King Torygg with the power of his Thu'um and initiated the Skyrim Civil War between the Old Holds and the Imperial Holds in Skyrim. The city of Markarth joined Solitude in its fight against the Old Holds of Skyrim.[9]

Minor EventsEdit




Notice: The following are out-of-game references. They are not found in any in-game books, but can still be considered part of The Elder Scrolls lore and are included for completeness.
  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 Holidays in Arena
  2. ESO-RP Interviews Phrastus of Elinhir