A Travel Guide to Tamriel Castles

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Author (in-game): Astinia Isauricus

It is with great pleasure I present to you an aperitif to travel, an invitation to explore, a casual incitement to get out of your normal routine and see the world. Here, my dear reader, is a look at ten of the most unique, terrible, bloody, glamorous, and notable castles in all of Tamriel. Perhaps I’ll see you at one of these fascinating structures during my travels!

CASTLE WAYREST

Arguably the most famous castle in all of Tamriel, Castle Wayrest has stood at the heart of Stormhaven—and thus, the heart of Bretondom—since early in the First Era. Its most notable features are the sweeping spires that provide a commanding view of not just the city, but the countryside beyond as well. Constructed by the Gardner family line, its classical approach to stone-keep architecture set the standard for noble homes for centuries afterward.

CASTLE MORNARD

Poised above the deep-water port of Vastyr on the northernmost isle of the Systres Archipelago, it can be argued that this sprawling multi-winged bastion of House Mornard is the beating heart and soul of the city. In some ways, Castle Mornard is Vastyr. Built in the heady reconstruction days after the 1E 365 siege by the Gathering Storm, it’s also a fitting memorial for Bernique Mornard. Said to be “the mother of Vastyr.” Her legacy persists in the sweeping stone-wall curtains and sturdy reinforcement of the seaward piers.

CASTLE THORN

While rumors swirl aplenty about the strange traditions of the Thorn family, it is hard to argue with the grandeur of their incredible ancestral home. A massive central spire soars above the foothills of the Haafingar Mountains, with minarets adorning every one of the enormous concentric walls. I have it on good authority the family allows tours of the castle’s public spaces, but only in the mornings. So be sure to arrive early.

THE ALINOR ROYAL PALACE

The High Elves of Summerset have an ancient tradition of breathtaking architecture, and the Alinor Royal Palace represents a line of royal succession going back thousands of years. The castle is built around several large, airy chambers topped with sky-scraping spires. It was, in fact, the massive wall of windows in the Aldmeri council chambers that inspired me to write this piece in the first place.

CASTLE EBONHEART

The castle at the heart of Ebonheart City is a beautiful and terrible old pile of stone perched like a hunting cliff racer at the base of Ash Mountain. The religious ecstasy of the Dark Elves and their reverence for the Tribunal results in architectural choices that may baffle and bemuse visitors, but no one can doubt the resulting three-spired structure’s majestic—if gothic—glory.

SCARP KEEP

Also known as Orsinium Keep, this sprawling stone edifice serves as the seat of power for the Orcish king. Based on the original palace at the heart of Old Orsinium, the ancient city that now lies in ruin, this modern construction overflows with firelight, laughter, and feasting at all hours of the day and night. You will never forget the first time you step into the cavernous main hall, looking up in awe at the massive stone pillars that flank this phenomenal space.

CASTLE NAVIRE

The sprawling grounds of Castle Navire on the distant shores of High Isle almost beggar belief. Verdant fields of wildflowers run up to ancient, druid-tended woods. And then the castle itself, a staggered construction in the classical Bretonic style, serves as the abode of House Dufort. I had the pleasure of visiting during one of the semi-annual Sapphire Tournaments, and nothing stirs the blood like the roar of an audience cheering for their knightly champions.

CASTLE RAVENWATCH

Perched at the base of Rivenspire’s northern mountain range, Castle Ravenwatch might seem a bit unassuming in the face of the grandeur of some of the other sites on this list. Not so! This classical representation of Breton construction is exquisitely maintained, and the members of the Ravenwatch family are incredible hosts when it comes to touring their historically significant architecture. In particular, make it a point to explore the cavernous mausoleums that run beneath the castle grounds.

CASTLE LAYAWIIN

If I were forced to choose a favorite among the ancient edifices of Tamriel, Layawiin Castle would be it. This beautiful imperial construction on the doorstep to Blackwood has everything you could want in a spectacular castle. Staunch circular towers, a soaring main hall, rambling side corridors that lead up to the main keep on the lands overlooking the town. Incredible. If you can find your way to this jewel on the Lower Niben, you simply must do so!

THE BLUE PALACE

Spanning the great arch beyond the heart of Solitude in Western Skyrim, the Blue Palace may be one of the most unique constructions on the continent. Passing through a tremendous bailey, visitors enter the dramatic entrance hall with its twin sweeping staircases. This opulent demesne would seem to run contrary to the hearty reputation of the local Nords. In truth, this beauty is a facade. For the Blue Palace can withstand even the most desperate of sieges, a war-ready keep with the beauty of a noble at an Imperial ball.

That about does it, dear readers! I hope this has been an amusing trifle on the long journey from where you were to where you are going. Keep your wits about you on the road, and may Kynareth keep you safe on your journey!

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