|# of Zones||2|
|Respawn Time||10 days|
|Proper Lock Design|
|Console Location Code(s)|
|CidhnaMineExterior, CidhnaMine01, CidhnaMine02|
|# of Smelters||1|
|# of Silver||6|
Cidhna Mine is a small silver mine and forced-labor prison camp underneath western Markarth. The mine has two interior zones: Cidhna Mine and Markarth Ruins. It is owned by the Silver-Blood family, and is used as Markarth's prison. The silver ore deposits are mined by the prisoners day and night, who only receive food on a weekly basis when they have met their mining quota.
According to most, Cidhna Mine is considered to be the most feared and secure prison in all of Skyrim.
If you enter the mine as a free visitor, Urzoga gra-Shugurz will talk to you and remind you to keep out. She may also tell you something about the mine: "This is a jail, owned by the Silver-Blood family. We use the prisoners to mine for ore. It's the most secure prison in Skyrim. Throw scum in, close the gates. No one gets out." In fact, she and the Silver-Blood guards here are not real city guards. The Silver-Bloods, not the Jarl's government, pay their wages; every man is a trained mercenary.
The key to the locked gate down a short northern tunnel near the mine's main entrance is carried by the guards. Through the locked gate, there is a small cave room. In the room is a table holding two leveled weapons, a small coin purse, a large coin purse, and five loose gold coins. The room also contains the two evidence chests. Near the chests is a cupboard with some potions (two potions of extra magicka, three potions of regeneration, and a potion of enhanced stamina), a bottle of wine, a respawning apothecary's satchel containing uncommon ingredients, a copy of the Lockpicking skill book Proper Lock Design, a bottle of alto wine, and two small coin purses.
If you are here as a prisoner, you will enter through a double set of locked gates that can't be interacted with, so you can't pick the lock to escape. At the top of the wooden structure, there is a ramp down to your right, and on your left is a straw bale. The cavern has three exits, one of which is through a gate guarded by Borkul the Beast. In the center of the area is a fire pit with Uraccen sitting next to it. If you speak to him, you can learn a lot of useful info regarding the other residents. There are pickaxes throughout the mine.
The tunnel to the south leads to an open area where Odvan and Grisvar the Unlucky mine. There is a silver ore vein in front of you as you enter. Odvan has a bottle of skooma that can be pickpocketed. The tunnel continues to the south, twisting and turning until opening out again. There is a silver ore vein on your left as you enter this area, where you will find Braig. He also has a bottle of skooma that can be pickpocketed.
Taking the tunnel north from the main cavern, you will pass over another silver ore vein on the floor. The tunnel continues to a junction, where a dead end to your left has a silver ore vein on the north wall. Turning right at the junction, you will pass a table as the tunnel turns back to the north. At the end, there is a barrel and cart, as well as another silver ore vein on the floor. This is where you will find Duach.
Through the gate to the east from the main cavern, the tunnel takes a couple turns before you pass a short tunnel to a dead end on your left. This is followed by a tunnel to your right blocked by a locked gate that requires a key, which is carried by Madanach during the related quest. The tunnel before the locked gate soon ends in the room used by Madanach, which contains three sacks of food, a bed that you can't interact with, a respawning empty chest, a chair, and a table holding a bottle of wine and a honey nut treat. There are two barrels behind the table, with two bottles of wine, a bottle of alto wine, a sliced goat cheese, a garlic bulb, and a small coin purse. There is also a rabbit hanging above that can be harvested. Nothing in this room is owned, and all items can be taken without penalty.
When escaping through the previously locked gate near Madanach's room, the tunnel heads south, east, then south again before you come to a Dwemer door. There are two sacks to the left of the door, which leads to Markarth Ruins.
Through the door and into the ruins, you will see Dwemer architecture all around you. Following the tunnel, you will pass a couple empty Dwemer shelving units, chairs, and benches. Eventually, the tunnel opens into a cavern, with stairs to your right leading up to a higher level. You then enter a corridor that turns to the southeast, leads down, and turns back to the north. You will see cobwebs ahead. The corridor turns east, then north again, at which point you will encounter a frostbite spider; there is also a respawning spider egg sac that can be harvested on your left. The corridor soon opens into another cavern, with a stone pillar in front of you. To your left on a higher level is another frostbite spider. You can reach it by going around the right of the pillar and up an earthen ramp to the left. There are stone stairs in the southeastern corner of the cavern, but they lead nowhere.
The exit tunnel is in the northern corner. Follow the twisting tunnel up some stairs to a raised platform which has two leveled dwarven spheres. At the end of the platform is a docking station for a dwarven centurion. There are stairs down to the lower level on the eastern side. Follow them down, then turn left and proceed under the platform, where you will find a Dwemer shelving unit containing a potion of minor magicka, a potion of plentiful healing, a Dwemer pan, a Dwemer plate, a Dwemer cog, and two silver ingots. Nearby along the same wall is an unlocked respawning Dwemer chest containing leveled items next to a bench. To continue forward, head north up more stairs into the final area, which features another stone pillar in front of you and an earthen ramp to your right. Follow this ramp up, and you will find the exit door to the north.
- In order to be set free, you must serve your time by mining silver ore. You cannot pickpocket the key or otherwise escape.
- The mine has six silver ore veins, but only five during the quest, and some respawning silver ingots in the guards' entrance.
- In order to access the mine other than during the "No One Escapes Cidhna Mine" quest, you must be arrested in Markarth and ask to go to jail. Upon your very first arrest, Urzoga will explain how things work. Upon subsequent arrests, going to jail results in a newly spawned accessible silver ingot in the entry on the table to the left. After picking up a pickaxe, all of the silver ore veins below the entry will only trigger the "serve your time" exit message.
- There is also a respawning pile of steel and silver ingots in the nearby blacksmith's workshop in Markarth.
- The Silver-Blood guards will not arrest you; they will instead send for the city guard if they catch you stealing or lockpicking, and will attack you for any other infraction.
- If you leave the mine using the Whirlwind Sprint shout, you will become blind in a similar way to the effect of reading the Elder Scroll until you enter the mine again normally.
- The ore vein directly above the three pickaxes near the fire does not appear until after escaping the mine and returning. However, even after it appears, it is not mineable by any means. It instead acts as a bed, even when attacked with a pickaxe equipped.
- While in the mine, many sounds may stop working correctly, such as those associated with picking up objects from the floor or a container, moving items to or from inventory, and footsteps.