"Whiterun is the heart of Skyrim, its towering palace rivaling even the great castles of Cyrodiil. But should you tire of the Jarl's hospitality, another adventure awaits a few hours to the east of the city, along the road that rises above White River Gorge."
Marcius Carvain[src]

Whiterun (Dovahzul: AhROLSEDOVAh), also known as the Jewel of the North,[1] the Heart of Skyrim,[2] is one of the nine major cities in Skyrim and the capital of the Whiterun Hold. Whiterun is the trading capital of Skyrim because of the open plains to the west and its proximity to all the other cities as well as Cyrodiil.



Whiterun was built around the abandoned Skyforge along with Jorrvaskr, which became the headquarters of the Companions. The city is divided into three districts with unique distinctions. The Plains District is where the marketplace, inn, and forge are located. The Wind District contains most of the residential buildings, as well as the Gildergreen. The Cloud District is where the fortress, Dragonsreach, is located. It is rarely visited by the common populace of Whiterun, only by powerful nobles and people in need of the Jarl's favor. There is only one entrance in Whiterun, which is located in the eastern section in the plains district.


  • The Tale of Ragnar the Red is a traditional song told throughout the inns and taverns of Skyrim that originally came from Whiterun and its hold.[3]



Merethic EraEdit

After the death of Ysgramor, Jeek of the River built the Jorrvaskr Mead Hall near the Skyforge, which inadvertently founded the city of Whiterun. While many Companions travel throughout Skyrim to seek glory, Jeek decided to settle, to protect the less war-gifted from the perils of the Skyrim Tundra.[4][5]

First EraEdit

During the first era, a dragon named Numinex was ravaging the province of Skyrim. At the same time, the War of Succession had occurred in Skyrim, where each hold fought to usurp the High King's throne. A skilled Nordic warrior named Olaf One-Eye promised the people of Whiterun that, if he captured Numinex, the people must name him Jarl of Whiterun. After a devastating battle at the Mount Anthor Summit, One-Eye was named Jarl. He then built Dragonsreach in the Cloud District and captured Numinex. The War of Succession ended when Jarl Olaf One-Eye was named the High King of Skyrim.[6]

Second EraEdit

Whiterun was invaded by the daedric forces of Molag Bal prior to the Alliance War.[7]

During the Alliance War, Skyrim was divided into two different provinces each with their own High King. Western Skyrim, which encompassed Whiterun, Falkreath, Morthal, and Solitude believed in the Moot and elected Svargrim to be High King while Eastern Skyrim, which encompassed Windhelm, Winterhold, Riften, and Dawnstar believed in what the Crown of Verity chose and had Freydis be elected High Queen. Because of this, Skyrim is divided and Western Skyrim doesn't serve the Ebonheart Pact with it's eastern brothers.[OOG 1][8]

In her youth, Queen Barenziah was put in the care of Count Sven Advensen and Lady Inga of Darkmoor under the order of Former-General Symmachus of Tiber Septim's grand army. While at Darkmoor, Barenziah was praised by all for her personality and her talents in virtually everything. A donkey-brained stable boy named Straw urged Barenziah to run away with him. Eventually, they ran away in the night to the grand city of Whiterun.[9]

At Dawn, Barenziah and Straw reached Whiterun city gates. While at Whiterun, Barenziah and Straw stayed at a run-down inn on the poorer side of Whiterun where they ate, drank, and had raging sex. Both made coin by taking up errands or by robbing homes. Eventually, Straw caught a job for both him and Barenziah to work as Caravan Guards. The Caravan eventually took them to Sunguard in the Rift.[9]

Third EraEdit

Main article: Whiterun (Arena)

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

Late in the Third Era, while the northern cities of Skyrim prospered in wealth and knowledge, the southern kingdoms of Hrothgar and Whiterun suffered. A feud between the Horme bandits and Frost Trolls, and the devastating winters left the are crippled. The people then blamed and exalted Jsashe of the local Witches Coven, a self-proclaimed Priestess of Lorkhan. During her rule of Whiterun, she was deemed, the Witch-Queen of Whiterun. She had a firm grip on Whiterun Hold although her kingdom didn't prosper.[10]

Fourth EraEdit

Main article: Whiterun (Skyrim)

During the Skyrim Civil War, the Last Dragonborn visited the city on behalf of Riverwood. The Dragonborn asked if the Jarl, who at the time was Balgruuf the Greater, could send guards to protect the town. Jarl Balgruuf asked the Dragonborn to speak with the court wizard, who then asked the Dragonborn to go to Bleak Falls Barrow to retrieve the Dragonstone. Later, the Dragonborn was issued to investigate a dragon attack at the Western Watchtower. It was there that they found that they were Dragonborn. Some time afterwards, they return to Whiterun seeking the Jarl's help again. This time, they want to use Dragonsreach as a means to capture a dragon who can help them find Alduin. After capturing Odahviing, the Dragonborn went to Skuldafn to finally kill Alduin.

Whiterun remains neutral in the Skyrim Civil War. However, it does garner support from the Imperial Legion.



  • When Arena was going to be a Tournament based game, each city was going to have their gladiatorial team that would fight other groups. Whiterun's team was known as the Devastators.[OOG 2]

By gameEdit



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. ESO-RP Interviews Phrastus of Elinhir
  2. Go Blades