The city of Silvermoon was founded by the high elves to be their capital after their arrival in Lordaeron thousands of years ago. The city was constructed out of white stone and living plants in the style of the ancient kaldorei Empire and interwoven with the natural topography of the landscape. The city contained the famous Academies of Silvermoon as a center for the learning of Arcane Magic and Sunstrider Spire, a majestic palace home to the Royal family of the high elves. The Convocation of Silvermoon (also known as "The Council of Silvermoon"), the ruling body of the high elves was also based here. Across a stretch of ocean to the north is the island that contains the Sunwell.
Silvermoon stood for millennia. During the Second War the city itself was left relatively unscathed due to the efforts of Elven magi who used the powers of the Sunwell to create a magical barrier over the city making it impervious to the Horde's dragon fire. However, in the Third War the Death Knight Arthas led the Scourge into the city, attacking it on his quest to reach the Sunwell. The High Elven King and the Convocation were slain and the majority of the population killed. Scourge forces held the city for a time, but abandoned it after the depletion of its resources.
Though the city was attacked by the Scourge, the undead left the buildings mainly intact. For a time the city was a ghost town empty except for dead plants, the occasional body sprawled across the cobblestones and mournful elven spirits. The only visitors to the city were treasure hunters in search of any valuable artifacts that the elves left behind before they deserted the city, but the ghosts of Silvermoon's past inhabitants made stealing difficult.