Thaylen City has a four-pointed star pattern.
There is a small building upon the platform of the Oathgate in the city, which had once included only a section near the center called the Ancient Ward. This raised portion had a distinctive shape formed by the way the rocks had been carved millennia ago.
The city has long since been built beyond that. A lower section called the Low Ward clutters stones around the base of a wall - a wide, squat fortification to the west that runs from cliffs on one side of the city to to the mountain foothills on the other.
Above and behind the Ancient Ward, the city expands up a series of steplike tiers. These Loft Wards end at a majestic Royal Ward at the top of the city, holding palaces, mansions, and temples. The Oathgate platform is on this level, at the northern edge of the city, close to the cliffs down to the ocean.
According to Dalinar, this place once would've been stunning because of its magnificent architecture. Presently, dozens ... hundreds of buildings have fallen in. Entire sections have become rubble when higher structures, smashed by the Everstorm, have slid down on top of them. What had once been one of the finest cities of all Roshar - known for its art, trade, and fine marble - is cracked and broken.
Ironically, more modest buildings at the base of the city - in the wall's shadow - have weathered the storm. But the famous Thaylen docks are out beyond this fortification, on the small western peninsula fronting the city. This is an area that had once been densely developed ... likely with warehouses, taverns, and shops. All made of wood.
Dalinar observes that they've all been swept away completely. Only smashed ruins remain.
Most of this destruction was caused by the first full Everstorm; Thaylen City was particularly exposed, with no land to break the storm as it surged across the western ocean. Beyond that, many more of the city's structures had been of wood, particularly in the Loft Wards. According to Dalinar's thinking, a luxury to a place like Thaylen City, which until today had been subject to only the most mild of storm winds.
The city's ten temples - each dedicated to one of the ten Heralds - are large spaces with high-domed ceilings and massive braziers. There, ardents burn thousands of glyphwards for the people, who supplicate the Almighty for mercy and aid. Smoke pools in the temple domes before leaking out through holes in each their roofs.
According to Navani, the progression from temple to temple is traditional in Thaylen City. Visiting all ten allows a survey of the Royal Ward, and is a not-so-subtle reinforcement of the throne's Vorin piety.
The temple of Shalash has an elaborate design on its rear wall and Queen F'en Rnamdi explains its significance to Dalinar and Navani while pointing out the carvings to them. There are also several statues therein with their faces broken off.
After the completion of the duel between Dalinar and the queen's son, Dalinar hears the phrase, Unite us. Please. For him, this is a different voice from that which he's heard before. A hundred of them overlapping, making the same plea, so quiet he can barely hear them. He closes his eyes, trying to pick out the source of these voices. He has a sensation of chunks of stone in pain. He's hearing the spren of the temple itself. The temple walls have existed as a single unit for centuries. Now the pieces - cracked and ruined - hurt. They still view themselves as a beautiful set of carvings, not a ruined facade with fallen chunks scattered about. They long to again be a single entity, unmarred. The spren of the temple cry with many voices.
Full of Stormlight, and seizing the fallen stone that blocks the doorway, Dalinar shifts the block until he can slip in and press his shoulders against it. Stone grinds stone as he lifts the block toward the top of the doorway. Getting it high enough, he then positions his hands immediately over his head. With a final push, he shoves the block upward with everything he has. Stormlight rages inside him, and his joints pop as he inches the stone back into place above the doorway. He can feel the temple urging him onward. It wants so badly to be whole again. Dalinar draws in more Stormlight, as much as he can hold, draining every gemstone he has. Sweat streaming across his face, he gets the block close enough that it feels right again. Power floods through his arms into it, then seeps across the stones. The carvings pop back together. The stone lintel in his hands lifts and settles into place. Light fills the cracks in the stones and knits them back together, and gloryspren burst around Dalinar's head.
When the glow fades, the front wall of the majestic temple - including the doorway and the cracked reliefs - are restored. Dalinar then continues in this fashion, beginning with the temple of Battah.