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Port City
The Reach and the location of Oldtown
The Reach and the location of Oldtown
Location the Reach, Westeros
Government House Hightower , Feudal Lord.
Religion Faith of the Seven
Founded Unknown
Named for Being oldest City in Westeros
Notable places Hightower, Starry Sept, the Citadel
Organizations Maesters, City Watch of Oldtown

Oldtown is one of the largest cities in Westeros and is the oldest, built by the First Men before the Andal invasion. The city is located in the southwest of the Reach, at the mouth of the river Honeywine where it opens onto Whispering Sound and the Sunset Sea beyond. It is the western terminus of the Roseroad from Highgarden and King's Landing. House Hightower have their seat at the Hightower in Oldtown. The city also hosts the Citadel.


See also: Images of Oldtown

The city is primarily known as the location of the Citadel, home of the order of maesters who serve as councillors, doctors, scientists, and postmasters for the Seven Kingdoms.

The city's Starry Sept was the seat of the Faith of the Seven until the construction of the Great Sept of Baelor in King's Landing.[1] Other septs include the Sailor's Sept, the Lord's Sept, and the Seven Shrines. Oldtown also has a motherhouse.[2] The temples that cater to foreigners, such Summer Islanders and red priests of the Lord of Light, are all located down by the wharves.[1]

Oldtown is one of the most important ports of the Seven Kingdoms. Trading ships from all over Westeros, as well as the Summer Isles, the Free Cities, and other places across the narrow sea, constantly crowd into its harbors.

The city itself is stunningly beautiful; many rivers and canals crisscross its cobbled streets, and breathtaking stone mansions are common. Oldtown lacks the squalor of daub-and-wattle King's Landing, which usurped its position as the pre-eminent city of Westeros. However, Oldtown is a labyrinth of wynds, alleys, markets and streets, such as the Thieves' Market and Ragpycker's Wynd.[1] West of the Honeywine lie guildhalls, which sit along the shoreline.

The largest structure in the city, and also the tallest structure in Westeros, is the Hightower, a massive stepped lighthouse which extends some eight hundred feet into the sky and is topped by a huge beacon which can be seen for many miles out to sea.

The city is policed by the City Watch of Oldtown,[3] commanded by Ser Moryn Tyrell, an uncle of Lord Mace.[4] Oldtown is ruled from the Hightower by House Hightower, who were originally Kings of the High Tower but later swore fealty to House Gardener, the Kings of the Reach. They became vassals of the Tyrells after Aegon's Conquest. The Hightowers are known for their loyalty and being stalwart. The current ruler of the city is Lord Leyton Hightower.


© Fantasy Flight Games
The Hightower at Oldtown by Ted Nasmith ©.

Ancient History

The origins of Oldtown are lost to time. The oldest runic records of the First Men, as well as records from maesters that claim to have lived among the children of the forest, confirm men have lived at the mouth of the Honeywine since the Dawn Age. Maester Jellicoe suggested the settlement at Whispering Sound began as a trading post where ships from Valyria, Old Ghis, and the Summer Isles could resupply and trade with so-called "elder races".[5]

In the Age of Heroes, what is now the Ravenry of the Citadel was supposedly the stronghold of a pirate lord who robbed ships as they came down the Honeywine.[6] House Hightower lived within an ancient fortress of oily black stone on Battle Isle and subsequently built the Hightower above it.[5]

Rival kings, pirates, and reavers coveted Oldtown's wealth as the city grew more powerful, but it was protected by only wooden palisades and ditches. In one century, the city was sacked by Samwell the Starfire, Qhored the Cruel, and Gyles the Woe. Three quarters of the city's inhabitants were reportedly sold into slavery by Gyles, but he failed to conquer the Hightower. Otho II, King of the High Tower, built massive stone walls to protect Oldtown.[5]

Oldtown joined the Kingdom of the Reach when King Lymond Hightower and King Garland II Gardener agreed to marry each other's daughters.[7]

Oldtown survived the Andal invasion by welcoming the Andals, not resisting them. Lord Dorian Hightower married an Andal princess, while his grandson Damon converted to the Faith of the Seven.[5]

Targaryen Era

King Aegon I Targaryen's reign is dated from his entrance into the city of Oldtown and his acknowledgment as king by the High Septon, who had advised Lord Manfred Hightower to yield without conflict.[8]

During the Dance of the Dragons, Lord Ormund Hightower and Prince Daeron Targaryen marched an army from Oldtown on behalf of the greens.[9]

During the Great Spring Sickness of 209 AC, Oldtown suffered badly, second only to King's Landing. Ser Duncan the Tall met Maester Aemon when he and Prince Aegon Targaryen visited the city while returning from Dorne.[10] The city steamed and sweltered during the summer of King Maekar I Targaryen.[11]

A generation later Oldtown was struck by the dreaded grey plague, a more deadly and fast-acting cousin of greyscale. The outbreak occurred when Grand Maester Pycelle was young, and wiped out half the city and three-quarters of the Citadel during its run. To prevent its spread, Lord Quenton Hightower ordered the gates barred, all the ships in harbor burned, and anyone trying to leave killed. These orders made him extremely unpopular, but the measures were successful. The day he rescinded the orders, after the plague had burnt itself out, Quenton and his young son were pulled from their horses and had their throats slit by the survivors.[12]

Varys visited Oldtown, King's Landing, and the Free Cities while part of a troupe of mummers.[13]

Prince Oberyn Martell and Princess Elia Martell visited Oldtown on their way to Casterly Rock where their mother was to broker their marriage to the Lannister twins, Cersei and Jaime.[14]

Ser Barristan Selmy defeated Blackshield in a tourney at Oldtown.[15]

Baratheon Era

Orland of Oldtown is a court musician for King Robert I Baratheon.[16] Maester Pylos was sent from Oldtown to aid Maester Cressen at Dragonstone.[17]

Recent Events

A Clash of Kings

The Myraham sails from Oldtown to Seagard.[18] While at Oldtown, the Cinnamon Wind learns that King Robert I Baratheon has died.[19]

A Storm of Swords

Carellen Smallwood is sent from Acorn Hall to safety at a motherhouse in Oldtown during the War of the Five Kings.[2]

Garth of Oldtown is killed by Garth of Greenaway during the mutiny at Craster's Keep.[20] Maester Aemon sends ravens from Castle Black to Oldtown and the Citadel warning of Mance Rayder's host of wildlings. Satin, a former whore from Oldtown, helps Jon Snow during the Battle of Castle Black.[21]

A Feast for Crows

Pate, a novice of the Citadel, dies after meeting with an alchemist in the streets of Oldtown.[1]

Oldtown remains aloof from the War of the Five Kings. Late in the war the Iron Islands under Euron Greyjoy launch a massive raid along the coast, conquering the Shield Islands and parts of the Arbor before trying to blockade the mouth of the Honeywine. An ironborn attack on the city's harbor is repulsed by the city's defenders. Oldtown remains under threat from the ironborn.[6]

Timeon informs Brienne of Tarth that Urswyck was heading towards Oldtown with a small band of his fellow former Brave Companions.[22]

Lord Commander Jon Snow sends Samwell Tarly south to Oldtown so that he might study there to become a maester for Castle Black. He reaches Oldtown and becomes a novice at the Citadel, where he meets another novice calling himself Pate.[6]


There are truths in this world that are not taught at Oldtown.[17]
- Melisandre to Cressen

Oldtown was a veritable labyrinth of a city, all wynds and crisscrossing alleys and narrow crookback streets.[23]
- thoughts of Pate

Chapters that take place at Oldtown

References and Notes

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at World of A Song of Ice and Fire.
The list of authors can be seen in the page history of World of A Song of Ice and Fire.
As with the A Wiki of Ice and Fire, the content of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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