Lore:Winterhold (city)

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Type Settlement
Continent Tamriel
Province Skyrim
Hold Winterhold (region)
Appears in Arena, Skyrim
Winterhold circa 4E 201
The banner of Winterhold

Winterhold (sometimes called Winter Hold) is the capital of the namesake hold and a coastal fortress on the inhospitable northeastern tip of Skyrim. One of the Old Holds, Winterhold has been historically isolated from its neighbors, yet still wealthy and prosperous; it even maintained a rivalry with the powerful city of Solitude.[1][2] Winterhold was once the capital of Skyrim.[3] It is home to the College of Winterhold, an institution dedicated to the study of magic, though it is now shunned and feared.[3] Traditionally, Winterhold warriors are thought to favor large axes in battle.[4] The ruins of Saarthal are close by.[1]

Legend tells that Winterhold was initially built by Shalidor the Archmage with a whispered spell.[5] In 1E 369, King Borgas of Winterhold, the High King of Skyrim, was murdered,[6] and the failure to appoint Jarl Hanse as his successor is generally thought by Imperial scholars to have ignited the War of Succession.[1] In 1E 2804, the "Winterhold Rebellion" broke out in protest of conscription quotas imposed by the Empire.[7] The city was sacked the following year.[7] Before the Oblivion Crisis, there were large populations of Dunmer who came to visit the College of Winterhold, but many were eventually driven out by Nords.[3][8] It generally prospered as the capital of its namesake hold for thousands of years until, in 4E 122, Winterhold suffered the Great Collapse: vast swaths of the city fell into sea below for unknown reasons.[9][3] It has never really recovered.[10]


  • Arena was originally conceived as a fighting game featuring a tournament that took the player to each of Tamriel's cities to challenge different gladiatorial teams. According to a file from that stage of development left behind in the final game, Winterhold's gladiatorial team would have been called "the Annihilators".[UOL 1]

See Also[edit]

  • For game-specific information, see the Arena and Skyrim articles.
  • For information on the College of Winterhold, see here.


  1. ^ a b c Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: SkyrimImperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
  2. ^ Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: The Throat of the World: SkyrimImperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
  3. ^ a b c d Skyrim loading screens
  4. ^ The Third DoorAnnanar Orme
  5. ^ A Minor Maze
  6. ^ A History of DaggerfallOdiva Gallwood
  7. ^ a b Annals of the DragonguardBrother Annulus
  8. ^ Brelyna Maryon's dialogue in Skyrim
  9. ^ On the Great CollapseArch-Mage Deneth
  10. ^ The Holds of Skyrim

Note: the following references are not from official sources. They are included to provide a rounder background to this article, but may not reflect established lore.

  1. ^ Original TES: Arena texts at the Imperial Library