Windhelm, also known as the City of Kings, is a city located in northeastern Skyrim. It serves as the capital of The Eastmarch Hold and is also one of the oldest cities in Skyrim, possibly the oldest city of man on Tamriel that's still standing, dating back to the Merethic Era.
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 the hold, 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 mountains east of the city.
The city has very cold weather, being in the icy north of Skyrim, however travelers heading toward the Rift or Whiterun will see the landscape turn green and lush almost immediately south of the city limits. Travelers 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.
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.
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.
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 built in Atmoran fashion and was made by elven captives. 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.
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 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.
During the Second Era, under the rule of Jarl Elgryr the Unminded, Windhelm was in an impoverished state. Basic necessities were scare 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.
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.
There's a lot on the minds of the city's residents these days. Skyrim is now in the throes of Civil War, and Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak leads the rebellion against the Empire. The Dark Elves in the Gray Quarter have grown increasingly disillusioned. Dragons have returned to the world and threaten to destroy Skyrim. And as if all that weren't bad enough, a mysterious killer has been stalking the snowy streets of Windhelm at night and has already claimed two victims.
After the eruption of Red Mountain, many Dunmer fled to Windhelm. Because of heightened suspicion generated by the ongoing Civil War, the strongly nationalist Nords of Windhelm sequestered the Dunmer from the other citizens in what came to be known as the "Gray Quarter," (previously known as the "Snow Quarter") in reference to the Dunmer skin color. Argonians are also segregated from the Nord population and are forced to live at the Argonian Assemblage at the city docks. Ulfric issued a decree forbidding the Argonians from living within the city's walls.
When Ulfric Stormcloak became Jarl, he separated the Dunmer and Argonian immigrants from the native Nord population and founded the militia that would become the Stormcloaks. However, this may have been to stop the Dunmer and Argonians from fighting each other, as in recent years there has been much conflict and hatred between the two peoples, or it may be a simple immigration cap due to the Stormcloaks fear of suspected Imperial spies.
It is suggested, through dialogue with Viola Giordano, that the Dunmer are taxed more heavily than the Nords, and that these taxes can be raised at the Jarl's whim.
During 4E 201, as civil war rages on, Skyrim becomes a nation divided, and Windhelm becomes the new capital of the Stormcloak Rebellion, the main center of the entire Nord revolution against the Empire. Windhelm is governed by Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak, the leader of the Stormcloaks. Ulfric was chosen as the new Jarl of Windhelm after his father, the previous Jarl, died.
Ulfric believes that Skyrim should secede from what he believes is a crumbling Empire. This stance came about due to the aftermath of the Great War and the introduction of the White-Gold Concordat by the Aldmeri Dominion. But it was not until the Markarth Incident that Ulfric's rebellion truly started.
Windhelm is composed of three quarters:
The Gray Quarter was so named because of the large number of Dunmer that reside here. It was once named the “Snow Quarter,” but that was a long time ago. But to the elves, the name “Gray Quarter” is one of derision, cruelty, and discrimination. They believe the Nord people of Windhelm have always seen them as outsiders and hated them because of it.
Translated from the ancient Nordic, Valunstrad means “Avenue of Valor.” It is the oldest section of Windhelm and has the largest buildings in the entire city, including the ancient and majestic Palace of the Kings and the purchasable property, Hjerim.
Points of interest
- Aretino Residence
- Argonian Assemblage
- Atheron Residence
- Belyn Hlaalu's House
- Brunwulf-Free Winter's House
- Hjerim (For Sale)
- House of Clan Cruel-Sea
- House of Clan Shatter-Shield
- Niranye's House
- Viola Giordano's House
- Calixto's House of Curiosities
- Hall of the Dead
- Temple of Talos
- The Pit (It is inaccessible, but it can be found in the Creation Kit It has its own page here:Windhelm Pit)
Outside the city
- Argonian Assemblage
- Brandy-Mug Farm
- Clan Shatter-Shield Office
- East Empire Company Office
- Hlaalu Farm
- Hollyfrost Farm
- Windhelm Stables
The house in Windhelm, Hjerim, costs 12,000 gold. See main article for how to obtain.
- Adelaisa Vendicci - Soldier who works for East Empire Company.
- Adonato Leotelli - Drama writer.
- Ambarys Rendar - Owner of New Gnisis Cornerclub.
- Angrenor Once-Honored - Beggar and disabled veteran.
- Arivanya - Wife of Ulundil.
- Aval Atheron - Merchant of market.
- Aventus Aretino - Boy who was sent to Riften orphanage.
- Brunwulf Free-Winter - Man compassionate to the Dunmer and Argonians.
- Calder - Housecarl to the Dragonborn, should he or she purchase Hjerim.
- Calixto Corrium - Owner of Calixto's House of Curiosities, Seriel Killer called the Butcher.
- Captain Lonely-Gale - Retired sailor.
- Dalan Merchad - Sailor on the North Wind.
- Elda Early-Dawn - Proprietress of Candlehearth Hall Inn.
- Faryl Atheron - Worker of out-of-town Brandy-Mug Farm.
- Friga Shatter-Shield - The murdered twin sister of Nilsine Shatter-Shield.
- Galmar Stone-Fist - Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak's Housecarl, and right hand man.
- Grimvar Cruel-Sea - Son of Torsten Cruel-Sea.
- Helgird - Priestess of Arkay.
- Hermir Strong-Heart - Blacksmith.
- Hillevi Cruel-Sea - Wife of Torsten Cruel-Sea.
- Idesa Sadri - Live-in nanny for Clan Cruel-Sea.
- Jora - Priestess of Talos and Wife of Lortheim.
- Jorleif - Steward and Strategist to the Jarl.
- Kjar - Captain of the North Wind.
- Lortheim - Priest of Talos and husband of Jora.
- Luaffyn - Bard of Candlehearth Hall Inn.
- Malthyr Elenil - Live-in help of Ambarys Rendar.
- Neetrenaza - Argonian dockside worker.
- Nils - Cook of Candlehearth Hall Inn.
- Nilsine Shatter-Shield - Daughter of Torbjorn Shatter-Shield and Tova Shatter-Shield.
- Niranye - Merchant of market.
- Nurelion - Older owner of The White Phial
- Oengul War-Anvil - Castle blacksmith.
- Orthus Endario - Office manager of East Empire Company by the dock.
- Quintus Navale - Resident assistant of Nurelion.
- Revyn Sadri - Owner of Sadri's Used Wares.
- Rolff Stone-Fist - Man with an ingrained dislike of Dunmer and Argonians.
- Scouts-Many-Marshes - Argonian dockside worker to Torbjorn Shatter-Shield.
- Shahvee - Argonian dockside worker.
- Sifnar Ironkettle - Servant of the Jarl.
- Silda the Unseen - Beggar and Expert Pickpocket trainer.
- SofieHF - Orphan girl who sells flowers.
- Stands-In-Shallows - Argonian dockside worker.
- Stenvar - Mercenary staying at Candlehearth Hall Inn.
- Susanna the Wicked - Waitress of Candlehearth Hall Inn.
- Suvaris Atheron - Office manager of Clan Shatter-Shield by the dock.
- Torbjorn Shatter-Shield - Patriarch of Clan Shatter-Shield. Expert Two-Handed trainer.
- Torsten Cruel-Sea - Wealthy owner of Hollyfrost Farm.
- Tova Shatter-Shield - Wife of Torbjorn Shatter-Shield.
- Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak - The Jarl of Windhelm and leader of the Stormcloaks.
- Ulundil - Owner of Windhelm Stables.
- Viola Giordano - Wealthy old maid.
- Voldsea Giryon - Female dark elf sailor on the North Wind.
- Wuunferth the Unliving - Court Wizard to the Jarl. Common Destruction trainer.
- Yrsarald Thrice-Pierced- Member of the Stormcloaks.
- The White Phial (side quest)
- Repairing the Phial (side quest)
- Blood on the Ice (side quest)
- Rise in the East (side quest)
- Summerset Shadows
- Innocence Lost
- Find the Thalmor Assassin
- Harsh Master
| Hero of Skyrim|
Capture Solitude or Windhelm
- ↑ Songs of the Return, Vol 2
- ↑ Songs of the Return, Vol 19
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition: Skyrim
- ↑ Songs of the Return, Vol 2
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Songs of the Return, Vol 19
- ↑ Yngol And The Sea-Ghosts
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 The Stories of Tamriel: Jorunn the Skald King
- ↑ The Windhelm Letters
- ↑ Skyrim Loading screens
- ↑ Dialogue with Ulfric Stormcloak
|Cities||Dawnstar • Falkreath • Markarth • Morthal • Riften • Solitude • Whiterun • Windhelm • Winterhold|
|Holds||Eastmarch • Falkreath Hold • Haafingar • Hjaalmarch • The Pale |
The Reach • The Rift • Winterhold Hold • Whiterun Hold