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Riva was the capital city of the Kingdom of Riva. It had twenty districts and each district was ruled by a baron.

The city sits on the east coast of the Isle of Winds, at the mouth of the River of Veils. The story recounts, in Castle of Wizardry (pg 132-133), 'A jutting promentory of wind-lashed rock protected the harbour basin and the city itself. Riva, Garion saw immediately, was a fortress. The wharves were backed by a high, thick city wall, and the narrow, snow-choked gravel strand stretching out to either side of the wharves was also cut off from access to the city. A cluster of makeshift buildings and low, varicolored tents stood on the strand, huddled against the city wall and half-buried in snow.

Garion recounts reconizing both a few Tolnedran and Drasnian merchants moving through the enclave in the raw wind.

The city itself rose sharply up the steep slope upon which it was built, each succeeding row of gray stone houses towering over the ones below. The windows facing out towards the harbour were all very narrow and very high up in the buildings, and Garion states that he can see the advantages of such construction. The city was a series of successive barriers. Breaching the gates would accomplish virtually nothing. Each terrace would be as impregnable as the main wall. Surmounting the entire city and brooding down at it rose the final fortress, it's towers and battlements as gray as everything else in the bleak city of the Rivans. The blue and white sword-banners of Riva stood out stiffly in the wind above the fortress, outlined sharply against the dark grey clouds scudding across the winter sky.

Garion noted that there was a kind of unrelieved bleakness about it's snow-covered streets, and that the buildings were very tall and were a uniform gray color. He also notes, however, that the few evergreen boughs, wreaths, and brightly-hued buntings hung in celebration of the Erastide season seemed to somehow accentuate the stiff grimness of the city. Beyond that, the buildings lacked any exterior decoration. Garion notes that the solid, square, and colorless buildings carried the same grimness of the Rivan's gray cloaks. Some notable buildings within the city are the Temple of Belar and the glassmaker's shop where Joran, a young genius of glass-work, resides.

A 'shallow square before the great hall' is briefly described before Garion enters the Citadel proper.

Within Castle of Wizardry, the Citadel is said to have dimly lit corridors, various courtyards, kitchens, a stable, and baths in a cavernous tiled cellar beneath the west wing, made from hot springs deep in the rock. It is said to have a faintly sulphurous smell. Silk tells Garion and Lelldorin that the women's baths are separate from the mens. The Citadel also houses The Hall of the Rivan King, royal apartments for the King's family, and a set of apartments set aside for Polgara's personal use over the centuries. There are also apartments used by Brand, the Rivan Warder, and rooms for the other Alorn monarchs.

The Hall of the Rivan King is described as a huge, vaulted throne room with massive and ornately carved wooden buttresses supporting the ceiling beams. During Castle of Wizardry, the walls were festooned with banners and green boughs, and hundreds of candles burned in iron sconces. Three great stone firepits were set at intervals in the floor; instead of logs, blocks of peat glowed in the pits, radiating an even, fragrant warmth. During this time, there was also a broad avenue of blue carpet leading from the doors to the throne. The throne of the Rivan King had been chiseled from a single basalt block. It's back and arms were all one height, and it is described by Garion as having a massiveness about it that made it seem more permanent than the mountains themselves. It sat solidly against the wall, and, hanging point downward above it, the Sword of the Rivan King.