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The Citadel is the heavily defended headquarters of the Capital Wasteland Brotherhood of Steel, built into and beneath the ruins of the Pentagon in present-day Arlington, Virginia.


The ruling council of the Brotherhood of Steel, based in the Lost Hills bunker in South California, decided to send a contingent of soldiers to the East Coast, to recover any and all advanced technology from Washington, DC and to investigate the reports of super mutant activity in the area.

A Paladin patrols outside the Citadel.

The Pentagon, as they had feared, was largely destroyed. But its sub-levels remained intact, and contained enough pre-war technology and weaponry to keep Brotherhood forces going indefinitely (once the defense robots were destroyed). But there was something else, as well… They found Liberty Prime, a technological marvel that, if restored, could help the Brotherhood rebuild a strength and reputation that had been declining steadily for years.

The discovery was significant enough to earn Paladin Owyn Lyons a battlefield promotion to Elder, and a new directive from his superiors – to establish a new, permanent Brotherhood base in the Capital Wasteland, and continue the search for any other advanced technology hidden in the capital’s ruins.

Lyons accepted his new post gladly, and founded the Citadel, built into and beneath the ruins of the Pentagon. It was a fortress the Brotherhood of Steel desperately needed, and one they rushed to fortify, thanks to their other great discovery – Super Mutants.


The Citadel can be found on the west end of Arlington Memorial Bridge, northeast of Arlington Library.

The entrance is on the northeast corner of the building and guarded by two Brotherhood of Steel Paladins, plus a Sentry Bot. There are several more Paladins and Knights on the platforms above the gate. If you go there early, they won't let you in.


thumb|300px|right The Citadel is inaccessible until you complete The Waters of Life segment of the main quest. Entry is scripted as part of the completion of this quest. Before then, the guard commander Paladin Bael will gruffly deny you entry.

It is possible to enter the Citadel by glitching into a pile of rubble to the northwest of the Citadel (YouTube video). This is an effective way to unlock the Power Armor Training at an early point in the game, although various NPCs in the Citadel, when talked to, will tell you about events that might not have happened yet due to the non-completion of the main quest segment The Waters of Life. As seen in the video, leaving the Citadel after using this glitch will result in completion of the quest The Waters of Life, even if it was never begun or known about, along with all prior quests in the main quest arc that the player did not complete. It seems that using Fast Travel in the courtyard avoids this glitch, which means that the main quest line can still be completed normally.


The Citadel appears only in Fallout 3.

Behind the scenes


Citadel concept art

The Citadel was the original name of the Cathedral in early design documents (like the Vault 13: A GURPS Post-Nuclear Adventure timeline).

Notable Loot

  • A Duck and Cover! book in a crate in one of the stalls in the bathroom of the Citadel Lab.
  • A Guns and bullets book under Paladin Vargas' bed (the rightmost one) in The Den in A-Ring.
  • A captured Enclave Plasma Rifle can be found on Scribe Peabody's workbench in the Lab area. However, it is at fairly low condition.
  • Power Armor sits on Scribe Bowditch's desk in the lab.
  • Elder Lyon's unique AEP7 Laser Pistol, Smuggler's End, can be found in his safe inside his personal quarters in The Solar area of B-Ring. You won't lose karma for opening the safe or taking its contents.
  • 1000 Caps can be earned by completing the unmarked quest Gallows Humor started by talking to Paladin Gallows from Lyon's Pride then talking to Paladin Glade, also from Lyon's Pride about finding out Gallows's name. Speak to Gallows again and pass a speech check to find out his name and claim the money from Glade.
  • Unlimited Brotherhood Power Armor and Helmet: On the south side of the citadel, near the 2 Mark VI Turret, there are two guards high up the citadel wall shooting a Super Mutant Master and a Centaur (or another mutant). Most of the time one or both of the guard will die and fall to the side of the wall with stuff to loot. They will respawn after three days fighting again.
  • Two footlockers needing a lockpick skill of 100 to open is on a jetty, containing full set of Combat Armor and two Power Fists in each. The key, named "Captain's key", is located underwater in the sunken boat, next to some stimpacks, bottle caps, a skeleton and an ammo box containing .44 rounds. The boat is easy to spot from the jetty, since a radaway will float to the top of the water, just above the spot, and the boat is just 10 feet from the jetty.


In the Laboratory there is a digital wall display of a map that shows the locations of Vault-Tec Vaults in the Capital Wasteland. If you study this map you will be able to extrapolate the locations of most of the remaining Vaults. Or, once you speak to Scribe Rothchild about finding a G.E.C.K., he will use the map to show you the locations of the other Vaults in the Capital Wasteland. Once this dialog is complete, the locations are marked on your Pip-Boy 3000 map.


  • If you go behind the dummy terminal there will be a barrel that says "Activate Target". If you interact with it nothing seems to happen.
  • After getting special permission from Elder Lyons you can receive Power Armor Training to wear any class of Power Armor by talking to Paladin Gunny.
  • You can shoot the grenades worn by the initiates doing push-ups without getting any retaliation or bad karma.
  • After downloading Broken Steel a Raider will sometimes spawn outside of the Citadel every 72hrs (also happens on PS3 without Broken Steel, don't know about 360 or PC) - (Note: This might be one of the Raiders that live under the bridge directly north of the Citadel's entrance. A Raider from behind Springvale school has been seen running through Springvale and attacking the Eyebot there before. Players can accidentally lure enemies and then find them killed by NPCs. Later, the enemies spawn where they got killed.)
  • Geographical error: If you enter the labs directly (missing out the A-Ring) from the far side of the courtyard, the door you enter through leads straight down into the lab. However as you find out during the final mission, Liberty Prime is raised through the very center of the courtyard, implying the lab is directly below it. It is worth noting that the door from the courtyard is a double door while the door in the Lab is a single door, implying that there is a section missing maybe a simple stairwell etc...
  • The player character can occupy a room located in B-Ring, next door to the residence of Elder Lyons.

Citadel Armory

If you chose to take the option of destroying the Citadel in Broken Steel, when entering the Citadel courtyard, you will find a door leading to the armory within the crater, and one on the far side of the circular path around the crater.

Within the armory, there are 4 First Aid Boxes and plentiful supplies of various ammos and weapons, including:

Note: The requisitions report states that 4 Tesla Cannons were added to the armory, however there are only 2 Tesla Cannons in the armory

- This may be explained by the fact that if you don't blow up the citadel, 2 Tesla Cannons are in the Laboratory. It could be that two were moved to the Lab, and two left in the armory.

In the offices beside the armory, there is a terminal (Hard) describing several "incident reports" and a wall-safe (Hard; unlockable through the terminal) containing Callahan's Magnum and magnum rounds.


  • There are at least two Brotherhood of Steel Initiates using the firing range, and one is firing a Laser Rifle. You will not be attacked if you shoot the Laser Rifle out of his hands, and he will start throwing Frag Grenades at the target. Many of his throws will either be off target or ricochet in various directions, causing numerous casualties among the nearby Brotherhood of Steel, and allowing you to search the bodies. (Confirmed PS3/Xbox 360)
  • When watching Dr. Li and Elder Lyons discuss the matter of the purifier after completing The Waters of Life, Dr Li appears to have giant hands (similar size to a death claws). (unconfirmed)
  • If you fast-travel to the Citadel whilst an Enclave-controlled Deathclaw is following you, upon reaching the destination the Deathclaw will promptly die. From then on, whenever you fast travel to the Citadel, the same Deathclaw will constantly respawn and then die when you get there. This is a great way to collected an unlimited amount of Deathclaw Hands. (Confirmed Xbox 360)
  • If you try to shoot the grenade from the initiate while in VATS, and the mysterious stranger appears and kills him, the game will freeze. (unconfirmed)
  • When you first arrive to the Citadel with Dr. Li and company, fast traveling away from the Citadel and fast traveling back before the gate opens will cause a bug in which Dr. Li and the rest of the scientists disappear and it will become impossible to enter the Citadel.
  • The Radio in the courtyard will continue to play GNR as if Three Dog is still alive after the PC has killed him. Where as the Pipboy radio will play just music. (Confirmed Xbox 360)