"Riften was a major hub of activity for trade caravans and travellers to and from Morrowind. Fishing skiffs could be seen dotting the lake at all hours of the day and the bustling city was alive with activity at night"
Dwennon Wyndell[src]

Riften, otherwise known as Rifton,[1][2] or the Jewel of Skyrim[3] is one of the nine major cities in Skyrim and the capital of the Rift Hold. Riften has merchants coming from all over Eastern Tamriel from places such as Cheydinhal and Kragenmoor. Riften is also home of the Thieves Guild Chapter in Skyrim.

By gameEdit


Second EraEdit

Main article: Riften (Online)

Before being the leader of Eastern Skyrim and Windhelm, Jorunn the Skald-King was a scholar that traveled throughout Tamriel in cities such as Mournhold, Stormhold, Sutch, and Elinhir. Jorunn studied on the Isle of Gold at the Skald's Retreat. In 2E 572, the Second Akaviri Invasion led by Ada'Soom Dir-Kamal had reached the northeastern coast of Skyrim in the Winterhold region. Jorunn was in Riften at the time and with his pack of bards, he fought his way to Windhelm and pushed the Kamal back.[4]

Eventually with the help of Wulfharth, Jorunn and Wulfharth mustered an army from the Rift and Eastmarch. Riften was fortified and under the safeguard of Wulfharth. When Dir Kamal's army arrived to Riften, they found a bunch of Angry Nords and avoided them and moved onto Stonefalls where they eventually lose the war at Vivec's Antlers.[4]

During the Alliance War, Riften was under Ebonheart Pact control. The Rift was under attack by the Worm Cult lead by Thallik Wormfather. Wormfather's plot was to use the legendary axe Wuuthrad to summon the giant Sinmur. The giant had caused heavy devastation on the city of Riften by obliterating their wall and farms. A worm cult plot was discovered with the city, however, the Vestige uncovered the plot and help Riften recover from the attack.[5]

In Queen Barenziah's youth, she and an orphan stable boy named Straw fled from Darkmoor to Whiterun to then hitch a ride to Riften.[6] Straw met a Khajiit named Therris, who planned on robbing the Imperial Commandmant's House. She warned the Commandmant, General Symmachus. He then directed her to the Imperial City.[2]

Third EraEdit

Main article: Riften (Arena)

During the Imperial Simulacrum, the Eternal Champion had at one point visited the city in their quest for the Staff of Chaos.[7]

Fourth EraEdit

Main article: Riften (Skyrim)

In 4E 98 of the Void Nights, Hosgunn Crossed-Daggers became the Jarl of Riften after the previous jarl was assassinated. Hosgunn's reign was negatively received by the citizens of Riften. Many people believed Hosgunn was responsible for the death of the previous jarl and because of this, people protested among the streets. Hosgunn's response to the backlash was to have the city guard contain the protestors and to start enforcing a curfew.[8]

Throughout his reign, Hosgunn ruled with a black heart and an iron fist. Hosgunn heavily taxed both citizens and merchants and kept most of the coin for himself to build a large wooden castle now known as Mistveil Keep, back then known as Hosgunn's Folly. The castle itself reflected the oppression. In 4E 129, the people of Riften banded together to form an incredible uprising that managed to overwhelm the city guard enough to burn down Hosgunn's Folly with Crossed-Daggers still inside. The fire from the keep eventually spread throughout the city, causing the city to burn to ash. In 4E 134, the city was rebuilt into a small port town. People dream for the day that Riften returns to glory.[8]

In 4E 201, Riften has garnered a new Jarl named Laila Law-Giver. Riften had allied with its neighboring city, Windhelm, to be a part of the Stormcloak Rebellion in the Skyrim Civil War. The city of Riften is notorious for housing the infamous Thieves Guild. At this time period, however, the influence of the guild had diminished. Over time, the guild has grown and its influence reaches to all corners of Skyrim. Maven Black-Briar has a firm grip of Riften despite not being Jarl.[9]



  • When Arena was going to be a tournament-based game, each city was going to have their own gladiatorial team that would fight other groups. Riften's team was known as the Furies.[OOG 1]
  • Riften's insignia comes from Hosgunn Crossed-Dagger's namesake which is two daggers crossing each other. This is likely because the people kept it as a reminder of the Crossed-Daggers Revolution.



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. Go Blades