Where and When Does Skyrim Take Place?

I’m huddled in my gaming chair, controller in hand, eyes glued to the screen. The world of Tamriel sprawls out before me, a vast expanse of snow-capped mountains, ancient ruins, and bustling cities. I’m the Dragonborn, a hero destined to save the world from the fiery wrath of Alduin, the World-Eater. But as I traverse the rugged landscapes of Skyrim, a question gnaws at the back of my mind: where and when does all this epic action take place in the grand scheme of the Elder Scrolls universe?

I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s been down this rabbit hole. The Elder Scrolls series is a treasure trove of rich lore and intricate history, and understanding it can enhance our gaming experience, making every quest, every battle, and every dialogue feel more meaningful. That’s why I decided to put together this guide, a compass to navigate the historical and geographical context of Skyrim.

In this article, we’ll embark on a journey through time and space in the Elder Scrolls universe, exploring:

  • When Skyrim takes place within the Elder Scrolls history, delving into the Fourth Era and the significant events that shape the game’s narrative.
  • Where Skyrim is located in the vast continent of Tamriel, uncovering the geographical features and cultural nuances of this northern province.

So, fellow adventurers, ready your potions and sharpen your swords. Let’s delve deeper into the lore of Skyrim and uncover the secrets that lie beneath its snowy peaks. Keep reading, for knowledge is as powerful a weapon as any in the world of Tamriel.

When does Skyrim Take place within the Elder Scrolls history?

The Elder Scrolls series, a high-fantasy action role-playing game franchise, has a rich and intricate lore that spans eras and continents. One of the most popular entries in the series, “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim,” is set in a specific period of this vast timeline. Let’s delve into the annals of Tamriel’s history and pinpoint exactly when the events of Skyrim take place.

The Fourth Era: A Time of Strife and Change

Skyrim takes place in the Fourth Era (4E) of the Elder Scrolls universe. The Fourth Era is marked by significant political and military upheaval, with the Elven races centralized in the Third Aldmeri Dominion exerting pressure on the struggling and largely leaderless Septim Empire. The Mede Dynasty takes over the Septim Empire and later enters into the Great War against the Third Aldmeri Dominion, resulting in the temporary weakening of the Dominion, crippling of the Empire, and signing of the White-Gold Concordat treaty. This treaty, which outlaws the worship of Talos, would later cause the Skyrim Civil War which would coincide with the Dragon Crisis, the attempted fulfillment of the Tyranny of the Sun prophecy, and the return of Miraak on Solstheim.

The Dragon Crisis and Skyrim Civil War

The events of Skyrim specifically occur around 4E 201, during the time of the Skyrim Civil War and the Dragon Crisis. The Dragon Crisis is a significant event in the Fourth Era, marked by the return of the dragons to Tamriel, led by Alduin, the World-Eater. This crisis is the central plot of “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim,” with the player character being the Dragonborn, a mortal with the soul of a dragon, destined to defeat Alduin.

Simultaneously, the Skyrim Civil War is raging between the Imperial Legion, loyal to the Empire, and the Stormcloaks, a faction of Nords seeking independence for Skyrim. This civil war is a direct result of the White-Gold Concordat, a peace treaty between the Empire and the Aldmeri Dominion that outlawed the worship of Talos, a deity revered by the Nords.

In the grand tapestry of the Elder Scrolls history, Skyrim takes place in the Fourth Era, a time of political upheaval, civil war, and the return of ancient dragons. The events of the game are deeply intertwined with the broader historical context, providing a rich backdrop for the player’s adventures.

Having established when Skyrim takes place within the Elder Scrolls timeline, let’s now turn our attention to the geographical setting of the game. Where exactly in the vast world of Tamriel does Skyrim take place?

Where does Skyrim take place in the Elder Scrolls world?

The Elder Scrolls series is set in the continent of Tamriel, a vast landmass with diverse geographical features and cultures. Each game in the series explores a different region of Tamriel, and “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” is no exception. Let’s embark on a journey to the frigid north of Tamriel and discover the land of the Nords: Skyrim.

Skyrim: The Land of the Nords

Skyrim is one of the nine provinces of Tamriel, located in the northern part of the continent. It is a rugged and mountainous region, characterized by its cold climate, snowy landscapes, and hardy Nordic inhabitants. Skyrim is bordered by High Rock to the west, Cyrodiil to the south, and Morrowind to the east. To the north lies the Sea of Ghosts, a vast and treacherous body of water that separates Tamriel from the frozen continent of Atmora.

Skyrim itself is divided into nine holds, each governed by a Jarl. These holds are Whiterun, Falkreath, Markarth, Solitude, Morthal, Dawnstar, Winterhold, Windhelm, and Riften. Each hold has its unique characteristics, culture, and challenges, reflecting the diversity of Skyrim’s landscapes and people.

In the grand scheme of Tamriel, Skyrim represents the harsh and rugged beauty of the north. Its snow-capped peaks, ancient ruins, and hardy people offer a stark contrast to the other regions of Tamriel. The events of “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” unfold in this challenging and beautiful landscape, providing a unique setting for epic adventures and unforgettable stories.


Our journey through the annals of Elder Scrolls history and the rugged landscapes of Skyrim has been as epic as any quest in the game itself. We’ve delved into the intricacies of the game’s timeline and geography, uncovering the rich lore that underpins every quest, every dialogue, and every battle. Just like a well-crafted Daedric weapon, this knowledge can enhance your gaming experience, making your adventures in Skyrim even more immersive and meaningful.

To recap, we’ve learned that:

  • Skyrim takes place in the Fourth Era of the Elder Scrolls universe, a time marked by political upheaval and the return of dragons.
  • The events of the game coincide with the Skyrim Civil War and the Dragon Crisis, adding layers of complexity to the narrative.
  • Skyrim is located in the northern part of Tamriel, a continent with diverse geographical features and cultures.
  • The province of Skyrim is characterized by its rugged terrain, cold climate, and hardy Nordic inhabitants.
  • Understanding the historical and geographical context of Skyrim can enrich your gaming experience.
  • The world of Skyrim is a testament to the depth and richness of the Elder Scrolls series.

Now, it’s time to take this knowledge and apply it to your next gaming session. But before you do, let’s look at what’s next.

What Next?

I always believe that knowledge is only as good as what you do with it. So, here are some actionable tasks you can take after finishing this article:

  • Replay Skyrim with this newfound knowledge, and see how it changes your perspective on the game’s narrative.
  • Explore the different holds of Skyrim, paying attention to their unique geographical features and cultural nuances.
  • Delve deeper into the lore of the Elder Scrolls series, perhaps by playing the other games or reading the in-game books.
  • Join online forums or communities of Elder Scrolls fans, and engage in discussions about the game’s lore and history.
  • Write your own guide or blog post about a specific aspect of Skyrim’s lore that you find interesting.


Nick Sinclair

Nick Sinclair, a gaming aficionado since the Commodore 64 era, studied Creative Computer Games Design in university before founding his own gaming company. Discovering a passion for content creation, Nick now helps gamers squeeze every drop of fun out of their favorite gaming hardware

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