The Aro River passed through the northern section of the city, while the southern part consisted of tall Ferrocrete buildings in a few blocks surrounding the city center, which was located against the south wall of the canyon to take advantage of the shade it provided. The city continued into the canyon wall through a series of natural and artificial tunnels, many of which were connected to the exterior building by bridges.
Much of the city was destroyed in the Mandalorian Wars. Banol, the southernmost sector of the city, was transformed into the area known after as Banol's Maze, a labyrinth of collapsed tunnels and destroyed stores.
During the Mandalorian Wars the city was taken by the Mandalorians and used as a command center. It was the site of several battles and was heavily damaged in the intense fighting. When the Republic military attempted to drive the Mandalorians from Iridonia, they encountered fierce resistance, as the Mandalorians retreated into the underground sections of the city. Many of the underground blocks were destroyed before the Republic retook the city.
At the time of the Jedi Civil War, Wortan still had less than a third of the population it had before the war. Many of the isolated underground sections had not yet been reconnected to the city, and much of the outlying and underground portions were inhabited mainly by criminals. Among the criminals were swoop gangs, many of which employed former Mandalorians.