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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 and oldest cities in Westeros, built by the First Men before the Andal invasion. The city was constructed around the seat of House Hightower, called the Hightower, located in the center of the city. Oldtown is further home to the Citadel, and houses the Starry Sept, formerly the seat of the High Septon of the Faith of the Seven.



Oldtown is located at the mouth of the Honeywine in the southwestern side of the Reach. To the north of the city, the seats Honeyholt and Brightwater Keep can be found. To the east lies Uplands, and to the west Blackcrown and Three Towers. To enter the port of Oldtown from the Sunset Sea, one first needs to enter the Whispering Sound. The Roseroad travels from Oldtown to Highgarden, from where it continued on to King's Landing.[1]


See also: Images of Oldtown

Oldtown is a beautiful city,[2] which has been described to smell as flowery as a perfumed dowager.[3] The city is a labyrinth of wynds, crisscrossing alleys, narrow crookback streets, and markets. These include the Thieves' Market and Ragpicker's Wynd.[2] Oldtown is built in stone, with all its streets cobbled,[2] which can make them wet and slippery on a damp day.[4] Most bridges are made of stone as well, although some wooden bridges can be found as well.[2][4] The city itself is surrounded by massive, thick, high stone walls.[5] Many small isles are located in Oldtown; The Quill and Tankard, an inn, stands on its own island in the Honeywine.[2] The river road winds along beside the Honeywine through the heart of the city.[4] West of the river, the Guildhalls line the river bank.[2] In the undercity of Oldtown, rat pits and black brothels are located.[2]

Oldtown is also home to three great monuments. First of these is the Citadel, located upriver on both sides of the Honeywine.[2] Here, boys and men can gather from all over Westeros to learn and study, and to forge a maester's chain. The Citadel is considered to be the greatest seat of knowledge in the world.[5]

The second monument is located downriver.[2] The Starry Sept of the Faith of the Seven was raised on the command of Lord Triston Hightower. It became the seat of the High Septons for a thousand years, which made Oldtown the unquestioned center of the Faith for entire Westeros. Only following the construction of the Great Sept of Baelor in King's Landing during the second half of the second century after Aegon's Conquest, did the Starry Sept lose its status.[2][5] Besides the Starry Sept, at least seven more septs honoring the Seven, built on the command of Lord Damon Hightower, can be found in Oldtown or on the city's lands.[5] These might include the Sailor's Sept down by the harbor, the Lord's Sept, and the Seven Shrines in their gardens across the Honeywine.[2] Oldtown is also home to a motherhouse.[6] Down by the wharves, temples that cater to foreigners, such as Summer Islanders and red priests of the Lord of Light, can be found.[2]

The third monument is the mighty Hightower, a massive stepped lighthouse located on Battle Isle, where the Honeywine widens into Whispering Sound.[2] The Hightower has a great beacon on top, which shows ships the way to port.[7] The Hightower is located on Battle Isle[2] in the center of Oldtown.[7] The Hightower is the tallest tower in the world,[8] higher even than the seven-hundred-foot Wall.[9]

Located at the mouth of the Honeywine, Oldtown is a port city, and serves as the realm's second most important harbor.[10] Trading ships from all the world, including other Westerosi places, the nine Free Cities, the Summer Isles, and more, are known to call upon Oldtown's port.

People & Economy

At the time of Aegon's Conquest, Oldtown was the largest and most populous city in Westeros. Although it remains the largest city of Westeros, the newer city of King's Landing has since grown more populous.[5] It has also remained the richest city of Westeros,[5] where trade features heavily, as the city is home to the realm's second most important port.[10]

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.[5] Oldtown is further protected by the City Watch of Oldtown,[11] currently commanded by Ser Moryn Tyrell, an uncle of Lord Mace Tyrell of Highgarden.[12]


© 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.[4] 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.[13]

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.[14]

During the Dance of the Dragons, Lord Ormund Hightower and Prince Daeron Targaryen marched an army from Oldtown on behalf of the greens.[15]

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.[16] The city steamed and sweltered during the summer of King Maekar I Targaryen's reign.[17]

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.[18]

Varys visited Oldtown, King's Landing, and the Free Cities while part of a troupe of mummers.[19]

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.[20] Oberyn later studied at the Citadel of Oldtown, where he forged six links.[citation needed]

Ser Barristan Selmy defeated Blackshield in a tourney at Oldtown.[21]

Baratheon Era

Orland of Oldtown is a court musician for King Robert I Baratheon.[22] Maester Pylos was sent from Oldtown to aid Maester Cressen at Dragonstone shortly before Stannis Baratheon closed the isle.[23]

Recent Events

A Clash of Kings

The Myraham sails from Oldtown to Seagard.[24] While at Oldtown, the Cinnamon Wind learns that King Robert I Baratheon has died.[25]

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.[6]

Garth of Oldtown is killed by Garth of Greenaway during the mutiny at Craster's Keep.[26] 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.[27]

A Feast for Crows

Pate, a novice of the Citadel, dies after meeting with an alchemist in the streets of Oldtown.[2]

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.[4]

Timeon informs Brienne of Tarth that Urswyck was heading towards Oldtown with a small band of his fellow former Brave Companions.[28]

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.[4]


There are truths in this world that are not taught at Oldtown.[23]
- Melisandre to Cressen

Oldtown was a veritable labyrinth of a city, all wynds and crisscrossing alleys and narrow crookback streets.[29]
- thoughts of Pate

Chapters that take place at Oldtown

References and Notes

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