Elder Scrolls

Windhelm (Skyrim)

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Windhelm Windhelm
Windhelm Skyrim
Windhelmmapkey 03
Hold Eastmarch (Skyrim)
Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak
LocationID WindhelmOrigin
For this city in other games, see Windhelm.

Windhelm, also known as the City of Kings, is a city located in northeastern Skyrim. It serves as the capital of Eastmarch Hold. It is also the oldest city in Skyrim, possibly the oldest city of man on Tamriel that is still standing, dating back to the Merethic Era.[1][2]


Windhelm Seal

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, 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.[3]

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 Era

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.[4][5][6]

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.[5] 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.[5]

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.[5]

First Era

During the third century of the First Era, Windhelm was sacked during the War of Succession.[3]

During 1E 477 to 1E 480, Hoag Merkiller resided in Windhelm as a Nord High King [7] and was instrumental in the formation of the First Empire of the Nords.[3]

Second Era

It was attacked again in the Second Era, in 2E 546, by the Akaviri army of Ada'Soom Dir-Kamal.[3][8]. Only the Palace of the Kings was left intact.[8]

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.[9]

Third Era

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[3].

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.[3]

Fourth Era

During the Fourth Era, citizens of Windhelm have much to worry of. 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 (formerly known as the Snow 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 after Hoag Merkiller opened it up to Dunmer refugees[7]. Previously known as the "Snow Quarter", the area has since been renamed the "Gray Quarter" as all the Dunmer have congregated in this area. Reasons as to why vary depending on who is spoken to within the city. Some say it is because of heightened suspicion of other races generated by the ongoing Civil War, and that the strongly nationalist Nords of Windhelm sequestered the Dunmer from the other citizens in this "Gray Quarter" in reference to the Dunmer skin color. Other dialogue with various Nord characters and a High Elf in the city suggest though that the Dunmer did not want to assimilate to the Nord culture and so began living together in what used to be the Snow Quarter, and as the numbers began increasing, this prompted the change in name. Argonians are also segregated from the Nord population and are forced to live at the Argonian Assemblage at the city docks. A decree forbidding the Argonians from living within the city's walls has been standing since Hoag Merkiller first allowed them to come to the city.[7]

Dialogue with Ulfric Stormcloak, Windhelm's current Jarl, reveals that he does not attend to the issues occuring in the Grey Quarter due to being too busy with the Stormcloak Rebellion. The guards seldom patrol the Grey Quarter and their reasons vary depending on the characters spoken to within the city. Some will comment that the guards are too afraid, as many of the other Nords are, to go near the place because of the Daedric worshipping occuring that is common for the Dunmer culture. Others say instead that considering the guards are Nords, that they are racist towards the Dunmer and blatantly refuse to help them.

Despite the claims of Ulfric's racism towards anyone who is not Nord, High Elves seem to manage living in the city much better than the Dark Elves, despite the fact that the High Elves are the head of the Aldmeri Dominion. Niranye, an Altmer citizen of Windhelm, implies that it is because the Dark Elves refuse to conform that they live in squalor like they do, rather than because of Nordic racism. She manages to attain a moderate amount of wealth and even owns a home outside the Gray Quarter. Likewise, the Dunmer Belyn Hlaalu is allowed to own a successful farm on the outskirts of the city where he employs a Nord, and likewise shares the view that his kin need to stop complaining and work harder to make a home for themselves.

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.

Civil War

Palace of the Kings Insignia

The banner of Windhelm is depicted by a bear.

During 4E 201, as the 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.[10] Windhelm is governed by Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak, the leader of the Stormcloaks. Ulfric was chosen by the public as the new Jarl of Windhelm after his father, the previous Jarl, died.[11]

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.


Joining the Empire during the Main Quest will set Windhelm as the location of the last battle of the Civil War.


Windhelm is composed of three quarters:

Stone Quarter

The Stone Quarter is Windhelm’s central district; the one visitors first enter when passing through the Main Gate into the city. It contains the marketplace and the most important shops and inns.

Windhelm Skyrim Stone Quarter

Gray Quarter

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.

Windhelm Skyrim Gray Quarter


Translated from 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 only purchasable property in the city, Hjerim.

Windhelm Skyrim Valunstrad Quarter

Points of interest




Jarl's residence


Outside the city

Purchasable property

Main article: HjerimAfter completing Rescue from Fort Neugrad or the full Civil War questline, the house in Windhelm, Hjerim, costs 12,000 GoldIcon and can be purchased from the Jarl's steward. Assigned by the Jarl to serve the new Thane and protect the house, Calder is the Housecarl of Hjerim.





Hero of Skyrim (Achievement)
Hero of Skyrim
Capture Solitude or Windhelm
Points 30 Game points
Silver trophy


This section contains bugs related to Windhelm (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  ,  PS3  ,  PC  .
  3. If a fix to the bug is known, please provide it, but avoid use of first-person-anecdotes: such discussions belong on the appropriate forum board and not the article.
  •  PC   360   PS3  The steward (Jorleif) may continuously claim that a house is not available for sale even if all prerequisites for purchasing a home are met. This seems to be most likely if he is spoken to before Blood on the Ice is completed.


  • An unused character, Sulvar the Steady, was supposed to reside in this city as an unused character, but was not added to the final version of the game.



Start a Discussion Discussions about Windhelm (Skyrim)

  • Windhelm gates are missing.

    2 messages
    • The gates to windhelm are just gone. even starting a new game doesn't fix this. I'm on PC and use mods so they could likely be the problem. ...
    • Missing or flat monochrome textures could be a issue with your graphics card (out of date driver wrong antialiasing setting or just out of VR...
  • Helgird being attacked by me?

    3 messages
    • What happens if you just let it go on as per normal? Do guards try and arrest you? Try to yield and let them arrest you and try both paying ...
    • Ah doesn't matter. Just restarted the game and although helgird is still injured I don't get any bounty.

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