Minas Tirith 1

Minas Tirith

Minas Tirith (formerly Minas Anor) became the heavily fortified capital of Gondor in the second half of the Third Age. It was originally built to guard the former capital of Gondor, Osgiliath, from attack from the west, but became the capital when Osgiliath fell into ruin following the Kin-Strife and the Great Plague. It is often referred to as the White City and the City of Kings. The Rohirrim sometimes translated this into their own language as "the Mundburg". In the climax of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien's most famous book, the city comes under a very large and determined attack by the allied forces of Mordor.


The city was built on a hill, called the Hill of Guard, right against the face of Mount Mindolluin. The city looked eastward over the Pelennor Fields, which were used for farmland, toward Osgiliath, the former capital of Gondor that Minas Tirith replaced.

The name Minas Tirith means "The Tower of Guard" or "The Tower of Watch" in the Elvish language Sindarin. It was originally named Minas Anor, "The Tower of the Sun", in connexion with Minas Ithil, "The Tower of the Moon". Minas Ithil was later conquered by orcs from Mordor and was renamed Minas Morgul, "The Tower of Black Sorcery".

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Minas Tirith at sunrise

The city was divided into seven levels, each 100 feet (30.5 m) higher than the one below it, and surrounded by a white wall, with the exception of the wall of the First Circle, which was black. The outer face of this outer wall, the lowest, was made of black stone, the same material used in Orthanc; it was vulnerable only to earthquakes capable of rending the ground where it stood. The Great Gate of Minas Tirith faced east in the outer wall, guarded by huge stone towers and fortified positions. The gates were built with siege in mind: constructed of iron, they were extremely difficult to break into. This gate has only ever been assaulted and felled once, and its replacement, built by the Dwarves of Erebor of mithril (which in Tolkien's writing is the hardest metal of all) was almost unassailable.

The gates of the Second Level through the Sixth Level were built so that they were at different positions of the wall. The Second Level gate faces south-east, that of the Third north-east, and so forth. This measure was designed to make capture of the already heavily fortified city even more difficult. Also, a spur of rock, the summit of which was level with the city's uppermost tier, jutted out from the hill in an easterly direction, dividing all but the first level into two parts. On the saddle between the city and Mindolluin was Rath Dínen (The Silent Street), where the tombs of the Kings of Gondor and their Stewards were built. It was reached by a door in the Sixth Level, which was almost always closed and hence called the "Closed Door". The Sixth Level also contained stables for riders, and the famed Houses of Healing.

The gate of the seventh level was reached by a lit tunnel from the Sixth level. Within the seventh wall was the Citadel with the white Tower of Ecthelion, which was 300 feet (91.5 m) high, so that its pinnacle was one thousand feet above the plain. The Seeing Stone of Minas Anor rested in a secret chamber at the top of the Tower. In a court before the Tower grew the White Tree, the symbol of Gondor. The topmost level also contained lodgings for the Steward of Gondor, the King's House, Merethrond the Hall of Feasts, barracks for the Guard of the Citadel, and other buildings for guests and other workers.

The first level included an inn, the Old Guesthouse. The wide paved street it was on was called Lampwright's Street, which led to the gate.

During the War of the Ring, the Guard of the Citadel, of whom Beregond was a member originally, was assigned to the highest circle of Minas Tirith and protected the hall of the king and the houses of the dead. Peregrin Took was eventually assigned to serve with the Guard.


Early historyEdit

Originally known as Minas Anor, the "Tower of the Sun", Minas Tirith was built in Template:ME-date by Anárion, younger brother of Isildur and second son of Elendil, High King of Arnor. Ostoher rebuilt the city in Template:ME-date as a summer residence, and it became the capital of Gondor in Template:ME-date, when King Tarondor moved the King's House from Osgiliath following the Great Plague, which devastated the population of the much larger and populous old capital.

In 2002 S.A., the White City's companion city, Minas Ithil, Tower of the Moon (Moontower), on the borders of Mordor, was captured by the Nazgûl and renamed Minas Morgul, Tower of Black Sorcery (Dead City, accursed tower). Minas Anor was renamed Minas Tirith, meaning "Tower of Guard", to indicate that since the fall of Minas Ithil, Minas Tirith assumed the role of guarding Gondor against Mordor's forces. For the next thousand years, the two cities were in a stalemate, with neither able to topple the other. With the rebuilding of the Dark Tower and the open return of Sauron, the forces of Mordor gathered their strength to topple Minas Tirith in the upcoming War of the Ring.

The War of the RingEdit

(Template:ME-date–3019), Minas Tirith is said to have had less than half of the population which could have dwelt there at ease. Many of the buildings had fallen into ruin and disrepair, a sad yet fitting picture of Gondor in those latter days.

Rammas EchorEdit

In the latter part of the Third Age, Minas Tirith and its lands were surrounded by the Rammas Echor, a fortified wall encircling the Pelennor Fields and meeting up with Osgiliath, where the Causeway Forts were built on the west bank of the Anduin and garrisoned, though Osgiliath itself remained in ruins. This outwall was built by Ecthelion II but fell into disrepair after his death, only to be repaired in the year leading up to the War.

His successor Denethor II ordered Osgiliath and the Rammas to be defended, despite the advice of the council who wanted to retreat back to Minas Tirith and hold out from there. As told in The Return of the King, the Rammas proved an ineffective defence due to the overwhelming Orc legions of Mordor, who penetrated the wall and laid siege to the city before the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.


Faramir and the garrison were unable to hold Osgiliath and the Causeway Forts against the overwhelming forces of Mordor and were driven back with heavy loss. Leading the rearguard against the onslaught, he was wounded and nearly slain but the cavalry charge of Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth and Gandalf saved him and the counter-attack allowed the rest of Gondor's soldiers to reach the safety of the city.

Minas Tirith was besieged by troops of Mordor, the Easterlings and the Haradrim, and the land fell under the darkness generated by Mordor. Significant damage was done to the first circle of the city but the Enemy was unable to break through the wall — except in one place. The gate of the city was broken by a combination of the battering ram Grond and the Witch-king's sorcery. However, the Witch-king was halted at the entrance by Gandalf.

During the siege the House of the Stewards in Rath Dìnen was destroyed by a fire lit by the Steward Denethor in suicidal despair at the illness of his son Faramir.

The timely arrival of the Rohirrim led by King Théoden forced the armies of Mordor to face the newcomers instead of assaulting the city. The resulting Battle of the Pelennor Fields took place on March 15, 3019 in the fields surrounding the city. Despite heavy losses, Minas Tirith itself was not seriously threatened again and the battle was won by Gondor and its allies from Rohan and Gondor's fiefs.


On May 1, 3019 King Elessar's coronation took place on the plain outside Minas Tirith, he then entered the city as King.

Minas Tirith is known to have stood firm well into the Fourth Age. Gimli the Dwarf and some of Durin's folk used mithril, a nigh-indestructible metal, to replace the gates that had been broken in the War of the Ring. The Dwarves also improved the layout of the city's streets. The elves planted trees in the city.

"In his time the City was made more fair than it had ever been, even in the days of its first glory; and it was filled with trees and with fountains, and its gates were wrought of mithril and steel, and its streets were paved with white marble; and the Folk of the Mountain laboured in it, and the Folk of the Wood rejoiced to come there; and all was healed and made good, and the houses were filled with men and women and the laughter of children, and no window was blind nor any courtyard empty; and after the ending of the Third Age of the world into the new age it preserved the memory and the glory of the years that were gone".

It remained the chief city of Gondor, as it is not actually known whether Osgiliath was ever rebuilt. Minas Ithil, however, was destroyed by Elessar, King of Gondor, soon after the War of the Ring.


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