Cair Vanta (properly the City of Vanta, but colloquially often named for the prosperous island district which was home to the nobility of Elderain) was the capital city of Elderain prior to the devastation wreaked by the Crystal Dragon in 1533DR. It was the largest city by population (circa 300,000 people, mostly human), and was located on the eastern shore of Lake Vanta.
Cair Vanta was founded in around 400DR by a group of high elves, some of the first folk to settle Elderain. Over the centuries, many of the elves moved further east to Gottsbruck, whilst humans moved in to the city they left behind. The relations between elves and humans remained cordial for many generations, and the elves handed over the keys of the Lord's Castle, built on the small outcropping near the city, when the first Queen of Elderain was crowned in 1052DR.
Historically, the city has not come under siege, being located in the centre of Elderain and well-protected from all angles of attack. However, in 1343DR, a civil rebellion against the monarchy resulted in civil war on the streets of the city, and much of the aristocracy retreated to the fortified island. After a year-long blockade, the monarchy yielded to the demands of the peasantry, granting them greater rights and governance. It is this event that is credited with creating the peaceful and prosperous nation that Elderain was long known to be.
Cair Vanta was subject to a magical plague spread during the War of Shadows by treacherous wizards from the Tower of the Moon. A mass evactuation was initiated, and it was almost a year before the city was declared safe to live in once more.
Much of Cair Vanta was destroyed in 1533DR when the Crystal Dragon attacked during a royal ceremony. The royal line which had lasted almost five hundred years was ended in the attack, and it was estimated that a tenth of the city's population perished in the battle. During and after the Devastation, Cair Vanta fell into ruin. The city is now a haven for cutthroats and thieves, living in and using the sewage system (greatly expanded during the Rise of the Giants era).
Cair Vanta is located in the very centre of Elderain, on the eastern shore of Lake Vanta. It is widely regarded to be one of the safest and most defensible locations in the Kingdom, except only for Yarburgh.
The city is mostly comprised of humans, with elves comprising roughly 10% of the population, Dwarves a further 10%, and halflings, gnomes, and assorted races another 5%. It is usually considered to be a relatively friendly city to outsiders. This reputation was lessened significantly after the events of the Devastation, and the city became almost 100% human.