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Zin-Azshari

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Zin-Azshari and the Well of Eternity.
"Zin-Azshari. Once the glorious epitome of the night elf civilization. A sprawling city at the edge of the basis of the night elves' power, the Well. The home of the revered Queen, Azshara, for whom her adoring subjects had renamed the capital.
Zin-Azshari... a ruined graveyard, the launching point of the Burning Legion."[1]

Zin-Azshari ("The Glory of Azshara" in Darnassian) was the lavish capital city of the night elves' great empire 10,000 years ago, built on the banks of the Well of Eternity. Originally named Elun'dris, or "the Eye of Elune",[2] it was renamed after the elves' beloved Queen Azshara after her ascension to the throne.[3] The city was also known simply as Azshara.[4] However, it has also been said that Queen Azshara wanted to rename Zin-Azshari as simply "Azshara" after Sargeras remade Azeroth.[5]

Within its highest spires, the Highborne set themselves to plumbing the mysteries of the Well. When they ultimately contacted Sargeras, Zin-Azshari became the beachhead through which the Burning Legion poured. Most of the city was left to ruin almost immediately, as the first targets of the Burning Crusade were the non-Highborne inhabitants.[6] When the Well of Eternity exploded, most of the city slid (as a damaged but singular mass) deep into the newly-formed Great Sea as the Maelstrom began its creation.[7] As her world crumbled around her, the Old Gods told her they could help. Azshara agreed and was transformed. The dark beings then said that when the time comes, she will serve them well.[7] Tortured and twisted by the powers they had released, Azshara and her followers were dragged down beneath the raging sea by the Well's implosion. Cursed — transformed — they took on new shapes and became the hateful serpentine naga. Azshara herself expanded with hate and rage, becoming a massive monstrosity, reflecting the wickedness and malice that had always hidden within her core. At the bottom of the Maelstrom, the naga built for themselves a new city, Nazjatar, from which they would rebuild their power. It would take over ten thousand years before the naga would reveal their existence to the surface world.[8]

The  [Heart of Zin-Azshari] is a relic used by Azshara and her Highborne before the War of the Ancients to magnify their power. It is said the Heart was key in their dominance of the Well of Eternity.[9]

Given that the Black Empire was built around Y'Shaarj, and the Well of Eternity was formed on the spot that Aman'Thul plucked him from, then the city of Zin-Azshari was built on the ground where the Black Empire once stood.

In World of Warcraft

Caverns of Time

Cataclysm This section concerns content exclusive to Cataclysm.

Glimpses of Zin-Azshari can be seen in the background of Well of Eternity, which takes place mostly in Azshara's Palace. It contains both (burning) modern night elven architecture (mostly to the north), and intact versions of the stone buildings seen in night elven ruins (mostly to the south).

Ruins of Zin-Azshari in Azshara

The ancient city of Azshara was located throughout the zone of Azshara, dominating the landscape.[4] It has been referred to as still being on Kalimdor.[10]

The edge of Zin-Azshari is somewhere in Azshara, near the Coral Sea.[11] The eastern cliffs were described as overlooking the lost city.[12]

In Legion, a scenario map centered around the Ruins of Eldarath is used as a stand-in for events (as told by Ebyssian and Leafbeard the Storied) that took place near Zin-Azshari during the War of the Ancients. It uses the map of the original Azshara zone, but the geography is the post-Cataclysm version with the goblin structures and ocean removed.

In the RPG

The RPG Icon 16x36.png This section concerns content exclusive to the Warcraft RPG and is considered non-canon.

The Ruins of Zin-Azshari were initially portrayed as a subzone of Azshara. It was said "The sundering caused most of the ancient city to sink to the oceans below. However, a cluster of ruins still clings to the eastern cliffs of Azshara, long shunned by night elves."[13] However, no such area appeared in-game. The Ruins of Eldarath, the Temple of Zin-Malor, and what was the Bay of Storms were thought to possibly have been part of Zin-Azshari, or perhaps the city was not represented in the in-game zone. Zin-Azshari was also known in some sources as "Azshara".[14] These points were later somewhat clarified by Malynea Skyreaver.

Gallery

Azshara coast?

Questionmark-medium.png
This article or section includes speculation, observations or opinions possibly supported by lore or by Blizzard officials. It should not be taken as representing official lore.

It is strange that ruins of Zin-Azshari would appear on the mainland of Kalimdor, since the city was on the shore of the Well of Eternity, hundreds (if not thousands) of miles away from the modern coast. However, there are hints the city may have been incredibly large, stretching hundreds (if not thousands) of miles across the continent.

References