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Type Settlement
Continent Tamriel
Province Skyrim
Hold The Rift
Appears in Arena, Skyrim, ESO
Riften circa 4E 201

Riften (sometimes spelled Rifton[1][2][3]) is the capital city of the Hold known as the Rift in southeastern Skyrim.[4] The city lies close to the province's borders with Cyrodiil and Morrowind, and has become home to many Dunmer.[5][6] It is built on the shores of Lake Honrich, nestled in the Fall Forest.[7]

It was in Riften that Barenziah joined the Thieves Guild when she returned to Morrowind from her exile in Skyrim, and the town is well-known as being the base of operations for the Thieves Guild in Skyrim.[8][9][10] At its height in the Second Era, Riften was a fairly large city and a major hub of activity for trade caravans and travelers from Morrowind. It was also home to branches of the both the Fighters and Mages Guilds, and was a relative bright spot in the mundanity of The Rift.[11]

However, Riften fell into a period of decline beginning in 4E 98 when the Jarl was assassinated and replaced by Hosgunn Crossed-Daggers (who many believed was the one responsible for the murder). Over the course of his more than 40-year reign, the new Jarl imposed harsh curfews and unreasonably high taxes on the people, spending most of the accrued gold on the construction of a large, lavish wooden castle for himself. Hosgunn's harsh rule eventually led to a rebellion in 4E 129; much of the city was consumed by fire during the revolt, and many, including the Jarl, perished in the conflict. It took five years to rebuild the city, though recovery was ongoing and the city remained smaller than it had once been.[12]



  • 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, Riften's gladiatorial team would have been called "the Furies".[oog 1]


  1. ^ Biography of Queen Barenziah, Volume 1Stern Gamboge, Imperial Scribe
  2. ^ Guard dialogue in Skyrim
  3. ^ The Real Barenziah, Part IIIPlitinius Mero
  4. ^ The Holds of Skyrim:
    A Field Officer's Guide
    For Use by Officers of the Imperial Legion
  5. ^ Map of Skyrim
  6. ^ Scourge of the Gray QuarterFrilgeth Horse-Breaker
  7. ^ Nords of SkyrimHrothmund Wolf-Heart
  8. ^ The Real Barenziah, Part 2Anonymous
  9. ^ Fall from GloryNithilis Lidari
  10. ^ The Nightingales Volume II: - What We WereGallus Desidenius
  11. ^ Rivers of Profit in RiftenEyes-With-Intent
  12. ^ Of Crossed Daggers: The History of RiftenDwennon Wyndell

Note: the following references are not found in game. 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