Image Courtesy of Benjamin Grant/Google Earth/Digital Globe
The Stelvio Pass is a road in northern Italy that is the highest paved roadway in the Eastern Alps with an elevation of 2,757 m (9,045 ft) above sea level. Only accessible in the summer months (June-September), the road and its 75 hairpin turns are sometimes scaled during the famous Giro d’Italia cycling race.
“Before Tiber Septim, Cyrodiil’s roads varied greatly in quality, and were often impassible in bad weather and winter seasons. In the late First Era, Empress Hestra improved the roads, and the Reman Emperors continued her policies. The last period of First Era road-building was in the reign of the last strong Akaviri Potentate, Sidri-Ashak.” – Arcane University lecture
Cyrodiil has often been called the Heart of the Empire, and like any heart it is supported by a network of passageways. Our roads are regarded as the finest and best kept in all of Tamriel, and it’s no wonder. The ancient tradition of building and maintaining clear, safe passage between settlements actually predates Imperial society. Evidence of ancient stone-paved roadways connecting Ayleid settlements persists to this day, but the foundations of our modern Imperial roads began nearly a thousand years into the First Era, under the auspicious rule of Hestra.
Empress Hestra was known for many deeds during her long reign. She crushed pirate and bandit fiefdoms, brought High Rock and the Reach into the Empire, and improved the relationship between Nibenay and Colovia. These deeds alone suffice to earn her a firm place in history, but her domestic policy of improving the roads of Cyrodiil set a precedent we maintain and imitate to this day. In fact, the Gold Road that connects the Imperial City to Anvil and all the settlements between began during this time period, through a joint capitalist venture combining the good will and resources of the Empire (then confined to Nibenay) and Colovia.
Centuries later, the Reman emperors would continue to improve existing roads and to pave newer, better highways, and their potentates continued their work after the last of them passed from history. Having inherited this strong framework of travel, Cuhlecain and Tiber Septim were able to easily move men and resources around during the early days of the Imperial conquests of the late Second Era. A couple of centuries earlier, the Gold Road in particular had served a huge role in the Alliance War, connecting strongholds of the Aldmeri Dominion.
During the Oblivion Crisis, the Champion of Cyrodiil traveled this road when escorting Martin from the ruins of Kvatch, and was also rumored to return later to help the people along this road deal with the myriad of threats of the time. Chiefly, the West Weald is infested with bandits, goblins, wild animals and the occasional necromancer or daedra loving sorcerer. The safety of this road improved immensely after the Daedric threat was removed and the minor bandit camps disassembled by the Champion and other questing adventurers, but in recent years trouble has begun to stir again.
The warlord Titus Mede has declared himself King of Colovia and musters an entirely illegal army in the hills of County Kvatch. This misguided bandit king does not agree with the wisdom of the Elder Council in placing his terrible majesty Emperor Thules of Nibenay on the throne. Sadly, the Elder Council has had to place severe restrictions on travel along the Gold Road for the duration of this so-called uprising. If you come across a checkpoint, don’t attempt to flee or go around it. This is for your own safety, citizen. By complying to the law and showing our good faith, we can discourage outlaws like Mede from operating within our borders with impunity. With the support of good citizens like yourself, the Elder Council and Emperor Thules can continue to lead us through this transitional phase in our glorious Empire. Respect the law, for Julianos and the Nine!
“The most basic rest areas have no facilities: they consist solely of an
exit from the highway that leads to a roadway with paved shoulders,
where drivers can rest, look at their maps, or use cell phones”. - Wikipedia.