“Denerim, the capital of Ferelden, began originally as an outpost of the ancient Tevinter Imperium. Its mages rose up a dark tower from the side of a mountain, a symbol of the Imperium’s power. As the Imperium faded, the tower passed to the hands of the teyrns that ruled the region for a millennium.
Today that tower still stands as Fort Drakon, immediately recognizable to any ship that approaches the rocky coast. The city that has sprung up around it has almost been carved out of the side of the mountain it rests on, and during the Dragon Age, its population has grown beyond the city’s ability to cope. The cramped districts, joined to each other by a network of bridges, are built one almost on top of the other. The narrow streets of the Lower Docks have an almost labyrinthine quality, and the walled-off Elven Alienage is so overpopulated that several purges have been required to keep order.
To the rest of the world, Denerim is most famous as the birthplace of Andraste. In typical Fereldan fashion, however, the monument erected to the prophet in the Palace District is unassuming—a great rock adorned with a simple message of peace. Worshippers come from far and wide to touch the Birth Rock and issue a quiet and respectful prayer. This is how things are done in Denerim, and the locals would have it no other way.”
-- From In Pursuit of Knowledge: The Travels of a Chantry Scholar, by Brother Genitivi