Venture Though Tamriel
Whiterun is a city in central Skyrim, and the capital of the Whiterun Hold. It is divided into three districts: the Plains District, used as a marketplace where all the merchants, stalls and inns are located; the Wind District, used as a residential area; and the Cloud District, where the palace of Dragonsreach is located. The Gildergreen tree, grown from a sapling from the legendary Eldergleam, is an ancient tree located in the city, worshipped by followers of Kynareth.
The mountain on which the city was built was discovered by members of the Five Hundred Companions of Ysgramor, who discovered the Skyforge, an abandoned forge with the ability to smelt superior Skyforge Steel. The local elves feared the Skyforge as a relic of the gods. The Companions built the mead hall of Jorrvaskr beside the Skyforge, founding the settlement. This group became the Companions, a famous band of mercenaries. The palace of Dragonsreach was built by Olaf One-Eye to house the captured dragon Numinex. The area used to be referred to as the “Imperial City of Skyrim”, before it underwent several acts of chaos, including a dynastic feud, attacks by Hörme bandits and frost trolls, and a series of annihilating winters of alternating floods, droughts, and fires. The young Barenziah escaped to here for a week with a young lover during her return to Mournhold. Whiterun was once home to a gladiatorial team known as the Devastators. During the late Third Era, a self-proclaimed priestess of Lorkhan, Jsashe the Witch-Queen, controlled the county and the local witches’ coven. In 4E 201, the city was ruled by Jarl Balgruuf the Greater. Whiterun was also the site of a major battle in Skyrim’s Civil War, in which Stormcloak forces attacked the city, which was defended by the city guard reinforced by Imperial soldiers. Vignar Gray-Mane was backed by The Stormcloaks as a replacement jarl, while The Imperial Legion haltingly supported Balgruuf. The Gildergreen tree died that same year, but it was restored by Danica Pure-Spring, a priestess of Kynareth.
Balgruuf the Greater is the Jarl of Whiterun, and is considered by most to be an honorable warrior who serves his people with his heart and soul. An admirer of the Greybeards, Balgruuf journeyed to High Hrothgar in his youth, and even attempted to learn how to speak Draconic (though he failed to do so). During the Skyrim civil war, the warring factions of The Stormcloaks and The Imperial Legion seek to gain Balgruuf as an ally, as Whiterun is prosperous, influential, and strategically located. While Balgruuf claims to be neutral, it is revealed he is more sympathetic towards the Empire than to Ulfric Stormcloak, who had been a rival of Balgruuf’s for quite some time.