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Solitude is the most important city in all of Skyrim – at least from an Imperial perspective.
It doesn’t have the (relatively) mild climate of Whiterun or the unique architecture of Markarth. However, it’s still the region’s cultural center and the seat of Imperial power.
As someone who always fights for the Empire in the Civil War, I want to make Solitude great again – and mods are the perfect way to improve the city without permission from the Jarl.
Here are some must-try mods to make Solitude a more complete, beautiful city.
1. Solitude Sidestone Retexture
We all know Skyrim has more than a few mediocre textures, but few things are as insulting as the sidestone in Solitude roads.
The vanilla texture looks like it’s made out of play dough. The colors and lighting effects don’t quite match its surroundings, and overall, it reminds me that this game came out over 10 years ago.
The Solitude Sidestone Retexture fixes this small but meaningful detail. Whether you’re running alternate textures for the rest of Solitude or not, this will surely improve your immersion.
2. Solitude Dome Paintings
The Blue Palace – also known as Castle Solitude – is one of the most awe-inspiring structures in Skyrim.
Everyone knows of the Blue Palace’s glorious central dome, visible from far away as a bright blue beacon of civilization in these wild northern lands.
The Solitude Dome Paintings mod basically turns Castle Solitude into the Sistine Chapel.
You may choose from two sets of paintings for the ceiling, including a set by English painter John William Waterhouse.
3. Solitude Skyway
The Great Arch – also known as the Cliffs of Solitude – is the natural stone arch serving as Solitude’s foundation.
The Solitude Skyway mod makes this natural landmark much more interesting by exploring what structures the Nords might have built to navigate the cliffs.
Once installed, it’ll be easy to make it from one side of Karth River to the other without swimming or fast traveling. This is especially useful if you own and inhabit Windstead Manor.
This is what I call fantasy architecture!
4. Solitude Rectory – Tiny Imperial Player Home
Speaking of player homes near Solitude…
Windstead Manor is a worthy home for the Dragonborn, but I’ve never loved large unused spaces. I prefer a small and cozy abode with a modicum of anonymity.
The Solitude Rectory is the perfect Imperial-themed player home for the Dragonborn who prefers peace and quiet. It’s designed to mimic a real-life monastic cell like a medieval Christian monk, but you’re meant to worship Tiber Septim rather than Jesus Christ.
You’ll find this secluded, dimly-lit chamber in a discreet area of the Temple of the Divines’ top floor.
5. MRF’s Solitude
Parallax mapping is one of the biggest trends in Skyrim modding.
It allows creators to better simulate depth and detail on their textures, thus giving the world of Skyrim a natural look that would have been impossible back in 2011.
This mod gives the Parallax treatment to Solitude with all-new textures that make the city feel cosmopolitan, with luxurious interiors and architectural diversity.
You’ll notice the biggest style changes in the interior of the Blue Palace and Bard’s College, where the rich tapestries and décor will make you feel like a true Solitude noble.
6. Solitude and Temple Frescoes
Religion plays a significant part in everyday life in Skyrim, and the Temple of the Divines in Solitude is the most important place of worship in the entire province.
Historically, humans have gravitated toward the visual arts to represent their gods, and the people of Skyrim are no different.
This mod adds a collection of awe-inspiring frescoes to the Temple of the Divines, each depicting a different member of the Nine. Optionally, you can add appealing lanterns over each altar.
There’s also an optional mosaic-styled version that makes the temple feel like a real medieval Cathedral.
7. Solitude HD
Everyone who owns a monstrous PC gamer is the same.
They say they built their supercomputer to play all of the latest AAA games with the highest graphics settings, only to immediately return to modding Skyrim.
Solitude HD is a gorgeous retexture of the capital city, introducing an incredible amount of detail on everything from cobblestone roads to the fabric of the banners.
Who needs to reach Leyndell in Elden Ring when you can explore Solitude in 4K?
8. Extravagant Interiors: Solitude
Heading into the Blue Palace for the first time, I expected to find myself in one of the most lavish locations I’d visited in my life.
Admittedly, it’s a beautiful palace – but it’s nothing close to the luxury and sumptuousness I expected from the seat of Imperial power in the region.
Extravagant Interiors: Solitude replaces the underwhelming décor with rich fabrics, intricate tapestries, and exquisitely carved wood all over the palace. This treatment extends to Vittoria Vici’s House and Proudspire Manor.
Those with powerful gaming rigs – or who don’t give a damn about FPS – should check out the 4K version.
9. Sublime Solitude – An HD Rework
Anyone looking to give Solitude a real makeover should check out Sublime Solitude.
This HD overhaul of Haafingar’s capital was inspired by how Solitude is pictured in the game’s concept art. It features clay ceramic roofs, stucco walls, Tudor-styled stone block walls, and more.
The mod also addresses Solitude’s indoor spaces, but in a different direction compared to Extravagant Interiors. It gives indoor areas a rustic style with lots of stone that capture the atmosphere of a real medieval castle.
It’s available in 2K and 4K textures, and an experimental 8K version to try at your own risk.
10. Redbag’s Solitude
Most Solitude-enhancing mods focus on playing with textures and fixing minor details.
Proficient mod creator Redbag challenges the status quo with this Solitude Overhaul, adding a whole bunch of stuff like:
- 20 new houses
- 59 new citizens
- And even a new entrance into the city
This mod doesn’t only affect inner Solitude but the city’s docks as well. In fact, 9 of the 20 new houses are around the dock area, fleshing it out and making it feel like a busy port.
It’s more than just new homes and NPCs, though. The entire city layout has been transformed to make it more unique and awe-inspiring than other cities.
Just make sure to get this patch for a genuinely polished experience.