Lowtown and the docks were carved out of the quarry rock by slaves when Kirkwall was part of the Tevinter Imperium. The docks are outside of the soaring city walls that border Lowtown to the north. To the south, the Gallows can be seen across the harbor.
A section of the docks was temporarily "gifted" to a visiting entourage of Qunari who were shipwrecked in Kirkwall around 9:31 Dragon, though this seemed as much an attempt at containment as it did courtesy.
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A statue depicting an armored figure holding a torch and standing atop the Arishok's severed head is built on the Docks after 9:34 Dragon to commemorate the expulsion of the Qunari.