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Minas Morgul

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Ted Nasmith - The Tower of the Moon.jpg
Minas Morgul
Physical Description
Locationon Ephel Dúath, Western Mordor
InhabitantsGondorians, Orcs
General Information
Other namesMinas Ithil, Tower of the Moon, Tower of the Rising Moon, Moon-tower, Tower of Black Sorcery, Dead City.
EtymologyS. minas "tower" + morgul "black sorcery"
S. minas "tower" + ithil "moon"
Minas Morgul (originally called Minas Ithil) was the twin city of Minas Tirith before its fall to the forces of Sauron in the Third Age.



Second Age

After the destruction of Númenor, Isildur and Anárion, the sons of Elendil, landed in Gondor. Isildur built Minas Ithil near the mountainous border of Mordor from where he would rule the fief of Ithilien; while Anárion built Minas Anor to rule over the fief of Anórien. Minas Ithil housed a palantír, the Ithil-stone.

When Sauron returned after escaping Númenor's destruction, he attacked the exiles of Númenor, and his forces took Minas Ithil by storm. When the Last Alliance of Elves and Men defeated Sauron in the year S.A. 3429, Minas Ithil was restored as a watchtower.

Third Age

In T.A. 1980, the Nazgûl returned to Mordor (after the defeat of the Witch-king of Angmar in the north of Middle-earth).

The Ringwraiths laid siege to Minas Ithil shortly after their return, in T.A. 2002, and they took the city for their master, Sauron (who was still hidden at the time).

Minas Ithil was occupied by fell creatures, and it changed into a foul, evil place. As a result, it came to be called Minas Morgul, which in the tongue of Gondor means "Tower of Dark Sorcery". The Ithil-stone, was captured and later used by Sauron to influence Denethor II during the War of the Ring.

Following the War of the Ring, the bridge leading to Morgul Vale was pulled down by the Army of the West and its fields set aflame, and they met no opposition as the entire city's garrison had been killed at the Battle of Pelennor Fields. Minas Morgul abandoned and fell into decay as it had become too foul for mannish habitation. After the War of the Ring, Faramir was made Prince of Ithilien by King Elessar, who advised him to make his abode in the Emyn Arnen southeast of Minas Tirith. Faramir ruled from there with his new bride Éowyn, for King Elessar counseled that even though Minas Morgul was completely abandoned, the land was such a terror on the minds of Men that it would not be fit for habitation or even mannish contact for many years. Eventually, the city was rebuilt as Minas Ithil and the evil that tainted the land was at last gone.


In its prime, Minas Ithil was a beautiful place. The moon cast silver light throughout the courtyards and streets, and reflected off the marble walls, so that it seemed to shine. The houses also shone white. The city also had one tall tower, with many windows, that rotated slowly. When it was taken by the forces of evil, the beauty was replaced by terror. The lovely white light was replaced by a sickly green glow, and dead things abounded around the city, which was now filled with spirits.

"Not the imprisoned moonlight welling through the marble walls of Minas Ithil long ago, Tower of the Moon, fair and radiant in the hollow of the hills. Paler indeed than the moon ailing in some slow eclipse was the light of it now, wavering and blowing like a noisome exhalation of decay, a corpse-light, a light that illuminated nothing." —The Two Towers: "The Stairs of Cirith Ungol"

See also