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Urû'baen (Translation: the downfall of the wise) was the capital city of the Empire and the center of Galbatorix's kingdom. The king rarely left Urû'baen, except during times of great need. The only known time after the Dragon War he left was to Dras-Leona, where he went to punish the corrupt Lord Tábor. Until it was taken by Galbatorix and the Forsworn during the Dragon War, Urû'baen had been an elven city named Ilirea and then the capital of the Broddring Kingdom. Oromis was said to have lived here before the Dragon War, and had made a Fairth of it the day he fled the city before Galbatorix took control. After Galbatorix was defeated, Nasuada changed the name of the city back to Ilirea.
Urû'baen was the centre of the Empire, serving as the headquarters for Galbatorix. It was a totalitarian city, just like the rest of the Empire.
Urû'baen had tall spire-like buildings made of glass and stone. It would seem that they would knock over from strong winds, but are resiliant against it. Most of the elven buildings were incorporated into the Imperial human re-design of the city. The one structure we do know about is Castle Ilirea, which Jeod found a secret tunnel into, which lead to the great chase for Saphira's egg. The structure, created by elves, had been built upon by Galbatorix into his black citadel. Also included were six emerald towers, of which at least two were destroyed in the siege of Urû'baen/Ilirea.
The city was protected above by a large overhang made of stone, and was fortified by ancient spells during the time it was known as Illirea by elven spellcasters. It was a popular place for dragons to rest, as Saphira and Fírnen did during their courtship.
The fact that Urû'baen was the center of the Empire suggests it had a flourishing economy. However, it was likely also pressed down on by heavy taxes like the rest of the Empire, perhaps even more.
Urû'baen meant "the downfall of the wise" in the Ancient Language.