Zin-Azshari ("The Glory of Azshara" in Darnassian) was the lavish capital city of the night elves 10,000 years ago, built on the banks of the Well of Eternity. The previous name of the city is unknown, but, after her ascension to the throne, it was renamed after their beloved Queen Azshara. Within its highest spires, the Highborne set themselves to plumbing the mysteries of the Well. When they ultimately contacted Sargeras, Zin-Azshari became the beachhead through which the Burning Legion poured. Most of the city was left to ruin almost immediately, as the first targets of the Burning Crusade were the non-Highborne inhabitants.
- Somehow, against all odds, Queen Azshara and her Highborne elite managed to survive the ordeal. Tortured and twisted by the powers they had released, Azshara and her followers were dragged down beneath the raging sea by the Well's implosion. Cursed — transformed — they took on new shapes and became the hateful serpentine naga. Azshara herself expanded with hate and rage, becoming a massive monstrosity, reflecting the wickedness and malice that had always hidden within her core.
It seems that the transformation experienced by Azshara and the Highborne was caused by the Old Gods. As her world crumbled around her, the Old Gods told her they could help. Azshara agreed and was transformed. The dark beings then said that when the time comes, she will serve them well.
Thus, Nazjatar and the naga were born.
Ruins of Zin-Azshari in Azshara
The cataclysm caused most of the ancient city to sink to the oceans below. However, a cluster of ruins still clings to the eastern cliffs of Azshara, long shunned by night elves. More recently, treasure hunters and dwarf exploration teams have made tentative forays into the ruins. They have consistently been repelled by ferocious bands of naga who appear to have claimed the ruins of Zin-Azshari for their own.
City of Azshara
Zin-Azshari (at least in some sources) is also known as "Azshara". It is said the entire region of Azshara was once the great metropolis of Azshara. Part of the city of Azshara fell into the sea.
It fell into the ocean, when the power-hungry Highborne broke the world by recklessly expending the energies of the Well of Eternity. Queen Azshara once had a home in the city. When she fell to the bottom of the sea, she ordered a palace to be built to rival her old home in Azshara. The ruined city of Azshara is the naga's largest landside holding, but there is little remaining to remind them of their glory days.
It is strange that ruins of Zin-Azshari would appear on the mainland of Kalimdor, since the city was on the shore of the Well of Eternity, hundreds (if not thousands) of miles away from the modern coast. However, there are hints the city may have been incredibly large, stretching hundreds (if not thousands) of miles across the continent, and/or that continents have drifted since the time of the Sundering.
At the time of the Sundering, a part of Zin-Azshari may have stayed on Kalimdor, while most of it may have fallen into the ocean, as the huge landmass was torn into two very separate landmasses — and a newly created ocean formed in the space left behind.