Markarth is one of the major cities in the region of Skyrim. Situated in the far west of the province, it is within the Reach region, and is arguably one of the most corrupted cities in the region, with the Silver-Blood Family being close to the Jarl Igmund and also the judicial system under him. Igmund rules the Reach from the Understone Keep. Igmund's steward is Raerek, and he also served Igmund's father in the same role, giving similar advice to the two about patience.
Markarth's architecture is mostly Dwemer, due to its foundations being based upon an older Dwemer city that had been built into the rocks, which makes the remnants and also the city itself, into a virtual fortress due to the natural protection it has been provided. The Dwemer society disappeared long before the events of the Elder Scrolls games, though the dwarf technology still exists. The rocky landscape also leads to many opportunities for mining and gaining ores for smithing or selling.
The Dwemer City
The lost ruins of the ancient Dwemer city can be explored if the Dragonborn enters Understone Keep, and they are tasked with exploring the ruins and finding a research team. The ruins are not considered a city in themselves, and cannot be fast traveled into. Despite this, they are a large ruin and can be explored at will.
Like all other towns in the game, the player can purchase a home in the city. The price for the house is 8000 gold. In Markarth, this residence is Vlindrel Hall, and is among the largest houses in the city alongside Nobos' House.
- Vlindrel Hall is known to be bugged at present, meaning completing the No One Escapes from Cidhna Mine quest will lead to being unable to buy the house, though this should be rectified in a future update for the game.
Corruption and Fear
Corruption is a major topic in the city of Markarth due to one of the prominent families living in the area; the Silver-Bloods. As their name suggests, they are rich and proud of it. Their wealth stems from their ownership of land around the area, and also the valuable silver ores in the mine they own. They are close to the leading authority in the city, thereby meaning that they have a direct say in how justice is delivered.
The Silver-Blood family own Cidhna Mine, which is the main source of their silver. The mine is also used as a prison work camp, where prisoners serve their time by serving their owners' pockets. The mine is considered by citizens in the game to the toughest prison in Skyrim. The player is eventually tasked with breaking out of the mine after doing enough to draw the attention of the corrupted Silver-Blood family.
Near to the mines are The Warrens, which are home to poverty-stricken workers in the city who are typically crippled by debt, courtesy of the Silver-Blood family. The Warrens are a run down corridor of rooms, much like a hostel, though in extremely poor condition and with many ill people.
Citizens in the city are also afraid of the Forsworn, who are the remnants and loyalists of Markarth's previous leadership. The Forsworn reside within the forests of the Reach, attacking travellers and passers-by in order to survive in their nomadic existences. They also have their own weaponry, which is unique and crafted from whatever they can scavenge.