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Whiterun (Skyrim)

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Whiterun Whiterun
Whiterun Skyrim
Whiterunmapkey 03
Hold Whiterun Hold
Jarl Balgruuf the Greater
For other uses, see Whiterun.
"The Plains District of Whiterun is home to the city's shops and market, while the Wind District is mostly a residential district. The Jarl's palace, Dragonsreach, dominates the Cloud District."
Proventus Avenicci[src]

Whiterun (Dovahzul: AhROLSEDOVAh, "Hill-of-the-Dragons")[OOG 1] is the capital city of Whiterun Hold, in the center of the province of Skyrim. In Whiterun, Nords live in the 'traditional' manner: their lives are simple, harsh, and rooted in ancient traditions. Even the city's fortifications—wooden and stone palisade walls and the sheer defensive advantage offered by its position on a large bluff that raises the city above the surrounding tundra—are archaic by contemporary standards. Due to its central location, Whiterun serves as the commercial heart of Skyrim.


Merethic Era

Whiterun Seal

Whiterun is located on the eastern end of its Hold, in the tundra plains that fill the center of Skyrim. It was founded by Jeek of the River,[1] who was the captain of Jorrvaskr.[1] Upon discovery of the Skyforge, he and his men constructed the great mead hall of Jorrvaskr, which at the time was the sole structure on the bluff. Now, Whiterun is a large city, albeit one that retains the feel of a smaller Nord village. The central location and easy access make it one of the most successful cities in trade.

First Era

When approaching Whiterun, the towering fortress of Dragonsreach dominates the view. Its history can be traced back to the First Era, when King Olaf One-Eye subdued the great dragon Numinex in a legendary duel of Thu'um atop Mount Anthor and brought him back to the fledgling town as a captive. It was then that the magnificent keep was rebuilt and renamed to serve as a cage for Numinex, whose head still adorns the Great Hall.[2][3]

Gjalund was the Jarl of Whiterun sometime in the First Era. As Jarl, his holdings included Whiterun, Granite Hill, Rorikstead, Old H'roldan, Bromjunaar, Korvanjund, Volunruud and Ivarstead.[4]


TESV Banner Whiterun

The banner of Whiterun.

Whiterun was once considered Skyrim's equivalent of the Imperial City, but in recent times has suffered from many problems. The Civil War, excessively harsh winters, harassment by Horme bandits, and the attacks of frost trolls have diminished the once-proud city.[5]

It's a strategic city for both the Imperial Legion and the Stormcloaks because of its central location, however Jarl Balgruuf the Greater remains neutral in the conflict.

The city is home to two important dynastic families, the Grey-Manes and the Battle-Borns. Once on good terms with one another, they are currently bitter enemies, as a result of their differing views on the civil war conflict, as well as the economic disparity between both clans, since the Battle-Borns are wealthy and the Gray-Manes are modest. Upon entering the city, the Dragonborn is able to choose a side, either Battle-Born or Grey-Mane, although this is not necessary to interact with the city's shops and temple.

Whiterun is home to The Companions, a faction similar to the Fighters Guild of Cyrodiil. Their headquarters are in Jorrvaskr, a legendary mead hall that was built next to the Skyforge, an ancient forge that is said to be older than both men and Elves. The city of Whiterun itself was built around Jorrvaskr, which used to attract warriors from all across Tamriel. Due to The Companions' reputation for being over-glorified sellswords, Jorrvaskr is no longer held in such esteem as it once was.


Initially, Jarl Balgruuf claims that he has yet to decide who to join in the Civil War, making the city of Whiterun neutral, although he does claim to owe a favor to General Tullius, to whom he seems indebted. Balgruuf also suggests he owes a favor to Ulfric Stormcloak. There are however several indicators that suggest Whiterun is leaning more towards the Empire:

  • Tactical maps found throughout Skyrim list Whiterun as an Imperial controlled city.
  • The Age of Aggression, a pro-Imperial song, is played in Whiterun Hold. This song is not present in Stormcloak territories.
  • Sometimes after attacking a Whiterun Guard they will say, "Fool! The Imperial Legion will have your blood!"
  • Stormcloak couriers are killed by the guards.
  • The Guards offer Empire friendly dialogue to a Dragonborn wearing Imperial/Stormcloak armor.

City layout

TESV City Whiterun Panorama

A 360° view of the city's wind district at night.

Whiterun is composed of three districts:

The Plains District

The Plains District Whiterun Skyrim

This is the first district any visitor to Whiterun enters, so named because it is the lowest of the three and therefore closest to the plains outside the city. It contains all the major merchants, the marketplace and Breezehome.

The Wind District

The Wind District Whiterun Skyrim 1

The Wind District is where most of Whiterun's residential buildings (including the mead hall Jorrvaskr and the Gildergreen) are located and was named because of the strong mountain winds that gust through the area.

The Cloud District

The Cloud District Whiterun Skyrim

The Cloud District is the smallest of Whiterun’s three districts. It was so named because it is located atop the bluff Whiterun was built on and is therefore closer to the clouds than any other. It is dominated by the imposing form of Dragonsreach.

Points of interest




Jarl's Residence


Outside the City

Purchasable property



Breezehome, the house in Whiterun, costs 5000 GoldIcon and can be bought from the steward after the Jarl grants permission, in gratitude for retrieving the Dragonstone from Bleak Falls Barrow. The seller is either Proventus Avenicci or Brill, depending on who remains Jarl after the Civil War. Earning approval requires the performance of certain tasks around the city. You can also buy the decorations for your home from the Steward, such as a laboratory and storage space.




The Companions






Whiterun quests



Quest Giver


Bleak Falls Barrow

Retrieve the Dragonstone.

Jarl Balgruuf the Greater


Dragon Rising

Investigate a dragon sighting near Whiterun.

Jarl Balgruuf the Greater


The Way of the Voice

Meet the Greybeards.

Jarl Balgruuf the Greater




  • Dragons may attack and sometimes kill the inhabitants in Whiterun.
  • Whiterun is home to Skyrim's only temple of Kynareth. This is due to the Gildergreen's presence in the town square.[6]
  • There is a skeleton floating in the moat underneath the bridge leading from Dragonsreach, there is no reason or story as to why it is there. When searched, a few pieces of gold can be found. The items respawn.
  • With the Dawnguard add-on downloaded, vampires will randomly attack the town and might kill some villagers, after reaching level 8. This seems more likely to occur when fast travelling into Whiterun at night.
  • The settlement of Whiterun may be partially inspired by the settlement of Edoras, the capital of Rohan, in J.R.R Tolkien's work The Lord of The Rings. Both of the settlements have a similar layout and appearance, for example Dragonsreach and Meduseld are rather similar. They also have similar banners with emblems of horses on them, and are both situated on the plains.[7]
  • During the Civil War questline, Balgruuf is afraid the city walls might not be able to hold up against a siege because of its age.


This section contains bugs related to Whiterun (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  , 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.



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Start a Discussion Discussions about Whiterun (Skyrim)

  • New Bug

    2 messages
    • Playing on Xbox 360. So, I had just completed the quest "The Whispering Door", and I exited Dragonsreach. I went to the front of the Warmaide...
    • That probably has a chance to happen anywhere (if the game and or system is straining) but it does seem to happen more in certain areas Thi...
  • Vilkas Dead Bug?!? *SOME SPOILERS*

    23 messages
    • Just go back to a save where he is alive
    • virkas  died during a compaions quest and so did all my followers

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