"Let all who enter Windhelm know of us. We laugh at death and thirst for life. Be not afraid, but instead enter bravely and live well.."
―Description in Arena[src]

Windhelm is a large city situated in the northeastern part of Skyrim, bordering the province of Morrowind, and was the capital of Skyrim's Nords in the First Era.[1]


The city sits on the northern bank of the White River and is an imposing sight with its massive, ice-covered stone walls. It also has a port, accessible via the city itself. Windhelm is located near the northern border of Eastmarch, near Winterhold and the Pale. It is also close to the border with Morrowind, which can be found by road a relatively short walk up the Velothi Mountains, located east of the city.

Being in the icy north of Skyrim, the city has very cold weather. However, travellers heading toward the Rift or Whiterun will see the landscape turn green and lush almost immediately south of the city limits. Travellers to the city are greeted by the majestic frozen bridge leading to the main gate, but it is the old Palace of Ysgramor (now known as the Palace of the Kings), towering over all other structures in the city, that truly takes the breath away. The palace is considered to be one of the only original First Empire buildings remaining.[2]

The city slopes slightly northward and has different levels of elevation, with the Palace located at the city’s highest point, making it even more visible and striking. The streets have high thick walls around them and are packed with snow, giving the city something of a claustrophobic feel; the sky is always white or overcast, and fierce blizzards batter the city with alarming regularity. It is within these snow-strewn streets and icy alleys that Windhelm’s inhabitants live, usually with an overriding sense of tension.


Merethic EraEdit

During The Return, in the late Merethic Era, Ysgramor's son Yngol was separated from the rest of the fleet in a terrible storm. Ysgramor eventually found the shipwreck of Yngol's longboat, the Harakk, and discovered that his son and his crew had been slain by the Sea-Ghosts.[3][4][5]

Ysgramor, in grief, decided to build a great city where the nearby river met the sea. It was built as a monument of mankind. The city was designed in Atmoran fashion and was constructed by elven captives.[4] Ysgramor commanded for a great bridge to be constructed, forever striding the river so no elf might sneak through to avenge his devious cousins. As the bridge was built long, so too was the palace built high, spires reaching the sky to show dominion even over the very winds that had brought forth such grief.[4]

Once Ysgramor and his men had settled in this new land, the reign of the Ysgramor Dynasty began, and Windhelm served as the capital city of Skyrim during the First Empire. It is said that a huge tomb was prepared for Ysgramor in the deep hallows beneath the city. However, Ysgramor chose to be buried at sea, facing his homeland, Atmora. Ysgramor's burial place is known as Ysgramor's Tomb.[4]

First EraEdit

During the third century of the First Era, Windhelm was sacked during the War of Succession.[2]

During 1E 477 to 1E 480, Hoag Merkiller resided in Windhelm as a Nord High King[6] and was instrumental in the formation of the First Empire of the Nords.[2]

Second EraEdit

Main article: Windhelm (Online)

It was attacked again in the Second Era, in 2E 546, by the Akaviri army of Ada'Soom Dir-Kamal.[2][7]. Only the Palace of the Kings was left intact.[7]

During the Second Era, under the rule of Jarl Elgryr the Unminded, Windhelm was in an impoverished state. Basic necessities were scarce and the citizens lived in abject poverty. This eventually prompted the citizens to rebel against the Jarl and storm the palace, however it is unknown if the uprising was successful.[8]

During the Alliance War, the Vestige had visited the city during a celebration for the tenth anniversity of Jorunn the Skald-King's rule known as the Konunleikar. Thane Mera Stormcloak, the then ruler of Windhelm has been worried of the Stormfist Brigade recent appearance which was justified because the Stormfist clan had sabotaged the Footrace of the Nine Holds and planned an assassination attempt on the Skald-King at the Hall of Trials. The Vestige defeated the assassins and protected the King. He had then been warned about Fildgor Orcthane's return from exile.

The Vestige visited the city again, on their way to Abah's Landing.

Third EraEdit

Main article: Windhelm (Arena)

During the Oblivion Crisis in the Third Era, Windhelm was the only sizable city in the otherwise determinedly rural Hold of Eastmarch, and served as a base for Imperial troops guarding the Dunmeth Pass into Morrowind[2].

Each year on the 13th of Sun's Dawn, the Feast of the Dead festival is held in Windhelm to honor Ysgramor and his Five Hundred Companions.[2]

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.

Fourth EraEdit

Main article: Windhelm (Skyrim)

During the Fourth Era, Skyrim is in the throes of a Civil War and Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak leads the Stormcloak rebellion against the Empire. Windhelm, being his ancestral home, becomes the capital of the Stormcloaks during the civil war. Racial tensions flare up between the native Nords and the Dark Elves in the Gray Quarter (formerly known as the Snow Quarter). Some Nords resented having to accommodate the Dark Elves and other immigrant races when they refuse to contribute to the Stormcloaks' cause.[9] Other Nords tolerate at least the immigrant Argonians and other races that have assimilated into productive roles in Windhelm, but frown on the Dark Elves who refuse to contribute to Windhelm's prosperity.[6] When Skyrim was under the control of the Empire, Dunmer immigrants were not expected to pay taxes or answer to the local Nord government[10][6], but with Windhelm rebelling against the Empire during the Skyrim Civil War, many Windhelm locals believe that Ulfric should start imposing heavier taxes on them to contribute to the community.[11] Meanwhile, the immigrant races became embittered by their poor lifestyle and discrimination they have to live with.[12] The Dark Elves, in particular, resented the Jarl for neglecting their poor living conditions and safety.[13][14] Dragons have also returned to the world and threaten to destroy Skyrim. To make matters worse, a mysterious killer has been stalking the snowy streets of Windhelm at night and has already claimed two victims.




  • When Arena was going to be Tournament based game, Windhelm's team was known as the Paladins.[OOG 1]

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. Go Blades