The Imperial Palace is a vast edifice that serves as both the palace of the Emperor of Mankind and the capital city of the Imperium of Man. Built across a large part of the Asian continent on Terra, the Palace is divided into the Inner and Outer Palaces. The Palace is built to truly monumental proportions; seen from orbit, it consists of connected kilometres-high monolithic and pyramidal structures, marked with landing pads and studded with defense weaponry. The palace itself is the seat of the Adeptus Terra, but is overseen by the Adeptus Custodes.
Not only is the area of the Imperial Palace is enormous, its macro-habs and space ports break through the atmosphere and rise into the void and its sub-levels dig deep into Terra's holy bedrock, in some places reaching a depth of hundreds of miles below the surface. Its vaults, corridors, fastnesses, plazas and chambers, are so multitudinous that no single record remains to list them all, and the techno-urbanic serf tribes, clan holdings and societal sub-nations that dwell within its walls could populate entire star systems.[19b]
Construction of the Imperial Palace began after the Unification Wars as a symbol of the Emperor's might and a monument dedicated to mankind's new unification. Based around the Himalayan mountains, the Palace was designed by the most expert artisans of the many Masonic Guilds of Terra. The early management of the Palace was left to the Seneschals of the Departmento Regia Interior. Construction of the Palace defenses was overseen by Primarch Rogal Dorn, much to the frustration of Perturabo. Some construction of the Palace was still taking place by the end of the Great Crusade, meaning construction took at least 200 years.
The Imperial Palace has only come under major attack twice, being the site of most of the fighting during the Siege of Terra at the climax of the Horus Heresy. During the Heresy Rogal Dorn was forced to dramatically increase the Palace defenses, causing much of its splendor to be dismantled in favor of cold military necessities. As of the 41st Millennium, the Imperial Palace still bears the scars of that titanic battle. After the Heresy, the Imperial Palace also saw an Eldar raid and damage from falling debris during the War of the Beast. Ten thousand years after the Heresy Terra faced its second major assault following the Thirteenth Black Crusade. Thanks to the formation of the Great Rift the Palace was assailed by the vast legions of Khorne, which were turned back by the newly reborn Roboute Guilliman before they could reach the Eternity Gate.[17b]
Due to ancient laws prohibiting construction too close to the walls, the area around the Outer Palace walls are empty which is an extreme rarity on Terra. Those that live close to the walls exist in both splendor and squalor.[18a]
The walls surrounding the Outer Palace are of gargantuan proportions. The walls are 30 meters wide and taller than the greatest structures of the rest of Terra, in some areas being 1,100 meters in height[27d]. Defense towers consisting of massive gun-citadels run every hundred meters along the walls lengths. Inside the walls are endless amounts of power generators, ammunition trains, aircraft hangars, barracks, and void shield generators. Stretching for thousands of kilometers and with relatively few Custodes, much of this area are defended by regular Imperial Guard Regiments such as the Lucifer Blacks and Palatine Sentinels. Hundreds of thousands of men live and die within the walls of Terra, which in truth is more of a contiguous fortress than a simple barrier.[18a]
In addition to its network of walls and gun batteries, the Imperial Palace is protected by a Void Shield array known as The Aegis. Designed by the Adeptus Mechanicus and perhaps the most sophisticated of its kind within the Imperium, the Aegis is a multi-layered self-repairing void web that encompasses the whole of the Palace and even slightly beyond. In its strongest areas the Aegis is capable of stopping the penetration of any object above a half-gram traveling faster than two meters per second. While The Aegis is invincible against orbital bombardment is theory, in its weakest outer reaches slow-moving aircraft can penetrate the shield and attack its open generators.[21b]
Notable Palace Perimeter Areas
- Helios Gate: Major gateway into the Palace overlooking the Katabatic Plain.[21c]
- Indicus Gate: Major Gateway into the Palace, facing the Katabatic Plain.[21c]
- Annapurna Gate: Major Gateway known for its craftsmanship. Removed by Rogal Dorn in the early stages of the Horus Heresy in preparation for the Siege of Terra.
- Kushito Gate: Gate in the southern region.[21c]
- Eternity Wall: The main Wall line surrounding the Outer Palace.[21c]
The Imperial Palace is as heavily urbanized and populated as any hive city. Adepts numbering in the billions work and reside within the Palace. The Outer Palace is also heavily urbanized by a population of destitute non-adepts. The Adeptus Custodes maintain a constant vigil over the Imperial Palace, and are among the few permitted to pass beyond the Eternity Gate into the Emperor's presence. The Adeptus Arbites are responsible for maintaining order and vigilance within the Outer Palace, especially outside official buildings which are often thronged with the queue lines of those seeking employment within the Administratum. Shock troops quickly put down the vicious queue riots that occasionally erupt.The Palace is the heart of the Administratum. Countless souls labour in the immeasurable archives and headquarters of the Imperium, ordering and maintaining an empire that spans the galaxy. Without them, the Imperium would lose all access to its history and databanks. Also, it is the seat of the High Lords of Terra, who are charged with interpreting the Emperor's will. These twelve Lords are accounted the most powerful of all living men. They guide the overall strategy of the inexhaustible armies of the Imperium, and uphold the Emperor's might across a million worlds.[Needs Citation]
Notable Areas of the Outer Palace
- Grand Processional of the Eternals - 300 meter-wide causeway within site of the Lion's Gate. Used for military Parades.[18d]
- Anterior Gate: Gate which separates the Anterior region of the Outer Palace with the Lion's Gate and Lion's Gate Spaceport.[27d]
- Lion's Gate Spaceport: Attached to the Lion's Gate.
- Lion's Gate: Major Gateway into the Inner Palace Complex, overlooking the Indian Subcontinent. The Lion's Gate also leads to the Lion's Gate Spaceport. The Gate originally had two enormous lion statues overlooking it, but these were removed by Rogal Dorn to make way for defenses in preparation for the Siege of Terra.
- Gorgon Bar - Known originally as Gorgon Gate, during the fortification of the Terra before the Siege by Horus it was heavily reinforced and designated "Bar", indicating its status as a converted civilian structure.[27a] It is one of several fortresses which guards the approach to the Lion's Gate.[27d]
- Colossi Gate - Gate guarding the northern approach to the Lion's Gate from the Lion's Gate Spaceport.[27a]. It is one of several fortresses which guards the approach to the Lion's Gate[27d].
- Aurum Gard - one of several fortresses which guards the approach to the Lion's Gate[27d].
- Marmax - one of several fortresses which guards the approach to the Lion's Gate[27d].
- Aurum Bar - one of several fortresses which guards the approach to the Lion's Gate[27d].
- The City of Sight — center of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica. Near the Lion's Gate Spaceport.[27d]
- The Petitioner's City - City of the Administratum
- The Petitioner's Hall
- The Avenue of Sacrifice - Located outside the Ascensor's Gate. here the noble houses of Terra present their infants to Adeptus Custodes the best of which will be taken to be raised as a new Custodes.[19a]
- The Palatine Arc - Located near the Europa Wall, it was known as an ornate and affluent area where high-level Administratum officials lived. During the Siege of Terra it was besieged by the Death Guard, who unleashed horrific biological weapons on the region. This resulted in it becoming known as Poxville.
- The Via Principa - Main highway which leads from the plaza of the Lion's Gate to the Sanctum Imperialis.[25a]
- The Fortress of the Lord Commander Militant of the Imperial Guard - perched above the high northern escarpments of the Outer Wall. It's a heavy-set bleak structure designed to withstand orbital bombardment. The building acts as the command center for the Lord Commander Militant and thus is designed along the lines of a field bunker.
- Eternity Wall Spaceport: Attached to the Eternity Wall.[21c]
- Investiary: Home to the the massive Titanoliths of the Investiary, monuments to the Primarchs and Space Marines.[4a]
- The Dome of the Architects[19d]
- The Enlightener's Star[19d]
- The Fortress of the Tribunate[19c]
- The Nexus Administrata[19c]
- The Sprawl Magnifican[19c]
- The Victoris Absolute[19c]
- The Vigilatum Orbital Battery[19c]
- The Crystal Observatory
- The Forge of Flesh and Steel
- The Preceptory
- The Long Room
- The Central Offices of the Departmento Munitorum.
- The Avenue of Eternal Remembrance: A 100 kilometer-long causeway built from the remains of Chaos Titans from the Siege of Terra. Built in honor of Sanguinius, it leads to the Eternity Gate itself.
Notable Areas of the Inner Palace
- Ultimate Gate: Gate which separates the Inner and Outer Palace Complexes, located to the north of the Lion's Gate.[27d]
- Ultimate Wall: Wall that surrounds the Inner Palace complex.[21c] Known as the Indomitus Bastion in M41.[19c]
- Acensor's Gate: Gate into the Inner Palace overlooking the Sprawling Magnifican.
- The Great Chamber of the Senatorum Imperialis: The massive domed Imperial parliament building that acts as a frequently meeting place for the High Lords of Terra.
- The Hegemon, a colossal domed structure which also served as a parliament building during the Horus Heresy.
- The Chamber of Heroes: Contains the Gothic Monolith
- The Tower of Heroes: Contains the Bell of Lost Souls
- The Tower of Hegemon: Command center of the Adeptus Custodes[19a]
- Eternity Gate: Standing before the Sanctum Imperialis is the massive Eternity Gate, forged of the strongest materials. Two Titans from the Legio Ignatum stand guard over the Gate in its damasked beauty and immeasurable strength. In the halls before the Eternity Gate lay the Hall of Heroes, where the banners of every loyal Imperial Guard Regiment and Space Marine Chapter are hung in honor. In an arena before the Emperor himself, psykers are soul-bound for Imperial service as Astropaths.[Needs Citation]
- Sanctum Imperialis: The heart of the Inner Palace and the official residence of the Emperor of Mankind.[21d]
- Imperial Dungeon: The heart of the Sanctum Imperialis, contains the Throneroom where the Emperor himself remains upon the Golden Throne.[16b] Also site of inactive Webway Gate.[16a]
- Inner Gardens: Former residential area used by the Emperor which contained a variety of Terran flora and fauna.
- Hall of Leng: Former residence of the Emperor known to be a place of chronological distortion where it is said he measured the angles of space and time.
- Hall of Victories: A private museum of some of mankind's greatest technological accomplishments. It includes shards of the first clay pot made in antiquity, the Mars Rover, a circuit board from the first Warp Drive, and a tube with the "Mendelian Eukaryotic Genesis Formula", which allowed for the first cloned human.[9b]
- The Hall of Widows: Central area of the Sanctum Imperialis.[25c]
- The Dark Cells: Custodes-run prison
- The Sanctum of a Thousand Eyes[19c]
- The Tower Aquilane.[19c]
- The Sigilite's Retreat: Former open-air garden used as a place for meditation by Malcador the Sigillite.
- The Via Oxidentus - Highway that runs into the western districts.[25b]
- The Basilica Ventura - Gate Keep that guards the Via Oxidentus.[25b]
- The Column of Glory[19c]
- The Shrouds - Used by the Officio Assassinorum in the past.
- The Bhab Bastion - Fortress in the Inner Palace used by Rogal Dorn as his command center during the Siege of Terra.[21a]
- The Pillar of Bone
- The Library Sanctus: Repository of some of the darkest and most sinister secrets of the Imperium.
- The Hall of Weapons
- The Hall of Glories
- The Katabat Terrace - Hanging garden that had once been a paradise. Had become run down and abandoned during the Siege of Terra.[27b]
- Eagle's Highway: Large open transportation causeway
- The Emperor's residence, known as the Hall of Leng, may be a reference to the infamous Leng Plateau from the H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos, described as a place where realities merge.
- An abandoned area of the Imperial Palace where the Emperor may have developed the first Astartes is inscribed with the poem Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley. After discovering the inscription Corax is perplexed by the poems meaning and thinks it may be a hidden conceit the Emperor wrote to himself.[9a]
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- 2: Harlequin (Novel), [Needs Citation]
- 3: Codex Imperialis (Background Book), [Needs Citation]
- 4: Warhammer 40,000 6th Edition Rulebook,[Needs Citation]
- 5: A Thousand Sons (Novel), Chapter 5
- 6: Dark Heresy Rulebook, pg. 247
- 7: The Crimson Fist (Novella) - Shadows of Treachery (Anthology)
- 8: The Lightning Tower (Short Story)
- 9: Deliverance Lost (Novel)
- 10: Blood Games (Short Story)
- 11: The Outcast Dead (Novel), Chapter 1
- 12: Angel Exterminatus (Novel) Chapter 12
- 14: The Emperor Expects (Novel) Chapter 4
- 15: Watchers in Death (Novel) Chapters 6-9
- 16: Master of Mankind (Novel)
- 17: Warhammer 40,000 8th Edition Rulebook
- 18: Watchers of the Throne: The Emperor's Legion (Novel)
- 19: Codex: Adeptus Custodes (8th Edition)
- 20: The Buried Dagger (Novel), Chapter 1
- 21: The Lost and the Damned (Novel)
- 22: Warhammer 40,000 3rd Edition Rulebook, pg. 276
- 23: Imperial Munitorum Manual (Background Book), pg. 8
- 24: Vaults of Terra: The Carrion Throne (Novel), Chapter 3
- 25: The First Wall (Novel), Chapter 3
- 26: Watchers of the Throne: The Regent's Shadow, Chapter 4
- 27: Saturnine (Novel) Part 1 Chapter 2
- 28: The Warhammer Preview Online – Black Library (posted 12/5/2020) – Interview with Guy Haley (last accessed 12/5/2020)
- 29: Valdor: Birth of the Imperium (Novel) Chapter 6
- 30: Siegeofterra.com - Mortis section (last accessed 3/17/2021)
- 31: Battlefleet Gothic Rulebook, pg. 9, pg. 102