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Minas Tirith

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'''Minas Tirith''' is the capital city of [[Gondor]]. Originally known as '''Minas Anor''' (the "Tower of the Sun"), it was in built in 3320 [[Second Age|S.A.]] by [[Anárion]], brother of [[Isildur]] and second son of [[Elendil]], [[Kings of Arnor|High King]] of [[Arnor]]. It also known as the White City and City of the Kings. [[Ostoher]] rebuilt the city in 420 [[Third Age| T.A.]], and it gradually became more important than [[Osgiliath]], the original capital. King [[Tarondor]] finally moved the King's House from Osgiliath to the City in 1640. In the year 2002, [[Minas Ithil]] (the "Tower of the Moon") was captured by the [[Ringwraiths]] and renamed [[Minas Morgul]]. Minas Anor was renamed Minas Tirith, meaning "Tower of Guard", to indicate that since the fall of Minas Ithil, Minas Tirith was to guard Gondor against evil from [[Mordor]]. The [[Rohirrim]] sometimes translate this into [[Rohirric|their own language]] as '''Mundburg'''.
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{{disambig-more|Minas Tirith|[[Minas Tirith (disambiguation)]]}}
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{{location
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| image=[[Image:Ted Nasmith - Minas Tirith at Dawn.jpg|250px]]
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| name=Minas Tirith
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| othernames=[[Minas Anor]]<br>[[Mundburg]]<br>The Guarded City
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| etymology=[[Sindarin|S.]] ''[[minas]]'' "tower" + ''[[tirith]]'' "guard"
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| type=City
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| location=Easternmost point of the [[White Mountains]], close to [[Anduin]]
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| inhabitants=[[Gondorians]]
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| realms=[[Gondor]]<br/>[[Reunited Kingdom]]
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| description=White city of seven levels
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| events=[[Battle of the Pelennor Fields|Siege of Minas Tirith]]
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| references=
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|}}
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'''Minas Tirith''' ([[Sindarin|S.]] 'Tower of the Guard') was a city of [[Gondor]], originally called '''Minas Anor'''. From {{TA|1640}}<ref name="AppB-3A"/> onwards it was the capital of the South-kingdom and the seat of its [[Kings of Gondor|Kings]] and ruling [[Stewards of Gondor|Stewards]].
  
Minas Tirith is surrounded by the [[Rammas Echor]], a large ringwall encircling the [[Pelennor Fields]]. This wall was built by [[Ecthelion II]] but proved no match for the [[Orcs|Orc]] legions of [[Mordor]]. The city itself lies on a hill beneath Mount [[Mindolluin]]. The city is divided into seven one-hundred-foot high levels, each surrounded by white walls. The gates connecting the levels do not lay behind one another in a line, but face in different directions. A spur of rock, whose summit is level with the city's uppermost tier, juts out from the front of the city in an easterly direction, dividing all but the first level into two. Finally, within the seventh wall, is the Citadel with its White Tower, where the surviving Seeing Stones of Anor kept - three hundred feet high, so that its apex is one thousand feet above the plain gleaming when the light shone on it. Upon the saddle between the city and Mindolluin are the Houses of the Dead - tombs of the [[Kings of Gondor]] and their [[Stewards of Gondor|Stewards]].
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==History==
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===Minas Anor===
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The city of Minas Tirith was originally a fortress, Minas Anor ([[Sindarin|S.]] 'Tower of the Sun'), built in {{SA|3320}} by the [[Faithful|Faithful Númenóreans]].<ref name="AppB-2A">{{App|B1}}</ref> It was the western counterpart to [[Minas Ithil]] ([[Sindarin|S.]] 'Tower of the Moon'): guarding the western flank of the city of [[Osgiliath]] from the men of the [[White Mountains]], as Ithil guarded its east from [[Mordor]]. From Osgiliath the sons of [[Elendil]] jointly ruled the newly-founded [[Gondor|South-kingdom]], but Minas Anor was home to [[Anárion]]'s House and Minas Ithil to [[Isildur]]'s.<ref name="S-Rings">{{S|V}}</ref> Therefore when the seven ''[[palantíri]]'' were divided amongst the [[Realms in Exile]] one was placed in Minas Anor.<ref name="AppA">{{App|A}}</ref><ref name="TT-Palantir">{{TT|III11}}.</ref>
  
The walls of the city are defended by a battery of 100 trebuchets. These played a significant role in the siege shown in the movie, as they were responsible for destroying many orcs, siege towers and catapults. Sadly, a number of them were smashed to bits by fell beasts, but all were repaired in the end.  
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[[Sauron]] attacked Gondor in {{SA|3429}}, taking [[Minas Ithil]] and forcing Isildur to flee north to his father in [[Arnor]]. Anárion meanwhile was besieged in Osgiliath and Minas Anor for five years, until he was relieved by the [[Last Alliance of Elves and Men]]. In {{TA|2}} Isildur planted the second [[White Tree of Gondor]] in Minas Anor in memory of his brother, who had perished during the [[Siege of Barad-dûr]]. From this point the Kingship of Gondor belonged solely to the heirs of Anárion, who continued to rule from Osgiliath.<ref name="AppB-3A">{{App|B2}}</ref><ref name="PM-Heirs">{{PM|VII}}</ref>
  
Tolkien's description of the physical layout of Minas Tirith is followed scrupulously in [[Peter Jackson]]'s [[film|movie]] ''[[The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (film)|The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King]]'', although there is no reason to suppose that the top of the rock is flattened and paved, and in the book it is not the location for the coronation of [[Aragorn]] which occurs on the Pelennor Field outside Minas Tirith, he then enters the city as King.
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In {{TA|420}}<ref name="AppB-3A"/> Minas Anor was rebuilt by [[Ostoher]], the seventh [[Kings of Gondor|King of Gondor]], and his from his reign onwards the Kings removed there from Osgiliath in the summer.<ref name="AppA"/> It remained the second city of Gondor for the next thousand years as the Kingdom reached the height of its power under the [[Ship-kings]], and then fell into its long decline. Osgiliath was burned and its ''palantír'' lost during the [[Kin-strife]], and from this point Minas Anor gradually grew more prominent. In {{TA|1636}} the old capital was devastated by the [[Great Plague]], leaving it depopulated and falling into ruin. Soon after [[Tarondor (King of Gondor)|Tarondor]] permanently moved the King's House to Minas Anor.<ref name="AppA"/><ref name="AppB-3A"/>
  
During the [[War of the Ring]] (Third Age 3018-3019), Minas Tirith is said to "have less than half of the population which could have dwelt at ease" in it.
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For a short time under Tarandor and his heirs the decline of Gondor was slowed, although constant wars with various groups of [[Easterlings]] took their toll. In {{TA|1900}} [[Calimehtar (King of Gondor)|Calimehtar]] built the first [[Tower of Ecthelion|White Tower]] in the Citadel of Minas Anor to house the city's ''palantír''.<ref name="AppB-3A"/> Just over a century later, however, the kingdom was dealt a harsh blow. In {{TA|2002}} Minas Ithil, where the guard on Mordor had long since slackened, was captured by the [[Nazgûl]]. It became known as Minas Morgul, and in turn Minas Anor was renamed Minas Tirith, 'Tower of the Guard' or the 'Guarded City'.<ref name="RK-MinasTirith"/> Soon after [[Eärnur]], the last King of Gondor, was killed in the Morgul Vale, and the lordship of the South-kingdom passed to the [[Stewards]].<ref name="AppA"/>
  
In ''[[The Return of the King (book)|The Return of the King]]'', Minas Tirith is besieged by troops of Mordor, the [[Easterlings]] and the [[Haradrim]], under the Great Darkness generated by Mordor. The [[Battle of the Pelennor Fields]] takes place on March 15 3019 T. A. in the fields surrounding the city.  Despite heavy losses, the battle is finally won by Gondor.
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===Minas Tirith===
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[[File:John Howe - Minas Tirith.jpg|thumb|left|[[John Howe]] - ''Minas Tirith'']]Following a brief respite in the [[Watchful Peace]], Gondor under the Stewards became increasingly beset by enemies: control of [[Ithilien]] and the ruined bridges of [[Osgiliath]] passed back and forth between Minas Tirith and Minas Morgul,the coastlands were raided by the [[Corsairs of Umbar]], and Easterlings assailed them from the north.<ref name="AppA"/> The Citadel was improved under [[Ecthelion I]] ({{TA|2685}}&ndash;{{TA|2698|n}}),<ref name="AppA"/> who rebuilt the [[Tower of Ecthelion| White Tower]] which afterwards bore his name.<ref name="AppB-3A"/> But equally the White Tree died at the same time as the twenty-first Steward, [[Belecthor II]], and this time a new seedling could not be found to replace it.<ref name="AppA" />
  
On May 1 3019 T.A. King [[Elessar]]'s coronation took place on the plain outside Minas Tirith, he then entered the city as King.
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In the reign of [[Ecthelion II]] ({{TA|2953}}&ndash;{{TA|2984}})<ref name="AppA"/> Minas Tirith was strengthened against Mordor, where Sauron had now declared himself openly. It was at this time that [[Aragorn]] the future King first came to the city under the name [[Thorongil]], and did great deeds.<ref name="AppA"/>
  
Minas Tirith is known to stand firm well into the [[Fourth Age]].
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===War of the Ring===
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{{main|Battle of the Pelennor Fields}}
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During the [[War of the Ring]], the brunt of [[Mordor]]'s assault on the [[Free peoples]] was directed at Gondor and Minas Tirith. [[Cair Andros]] fell on [[10 March]] {{TA|3019}} and on [[12 March]] a company led by [[Faramir]] was forced to retreat from its defense of Osgiliath.<ref name="AppB-3A"/> An effort was made to repair the Rammas Echor, but this came too late.<ref name="RK-MinasTirith"/> With the crossings of Anduin taken the Pelennor was overrun, and Minas Tirith was besieged by a great army of Morgul orcs and Easterlings led by the [[Witch-king]]. The city was under-manned, and its defenders had little hope; on [[15 March]] the Great Gate was breached and the last ruling Steward, [[Denethor|Denethor II]], burned himself in despair.<ref name="RK-Siege">{{RK|V4}}</ref><ref name="RK-Pyre">{{RK|V7}}</ref> But [[Gandalf]] was also present, and rescuing Faramir from his father he took charge of the defence of Minas Tirith. The [[Rohirrim]] under [[Théoden]] also came unlooked for to the city's aid, and [[Aragorn]] led a force up the river from [[Pelargir]]. Seeing this [[Imrahil]], [[Prince of Dol Amroth]], led a sally from the city, and the three armies were able to break the siege in the decisive [[Battle of the Pelennor Fields]].<ref name="RK-Pelennor">{{RK|V6}}</ref>
  
The eagle who brings the news of Sauron's defeat to Minas Tirith refers to the city as the Tower of Anor. Although this is nowhere described, it is possible that the city may have reverted to its original name once it no longer needed to guard against evil. An argument against this is that in the abandoned sequel ''[[The New Shadow]]'', which takes place during the time of Elessar's son [[Eldarion]], the city was clearly named Minas Tirith.
 
  
Map #40 in Barbara Strachey's ''[[Journeys of Frodo]]'' is a plan of Minas Tirith. Pages 138&139 in [[Karen Wynn Fonstad]]'s revised ''[[The Atlas of Middle-earth]]'' is another plan of Minas Tirith. They are at variance with each other, as the only authoritative maps by Tolkien are just sketches.
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On [[1 May]] {{TA|3019}}, returning with the victorious from the [[Battle of the Morannon]], Aragorn was crowned on the plain outside Minas Tirith, and he entered the city as King Elessar. On [[25 June]] he discovered a sapling of the line of [[Nimloth of Númenor|Nimloth]] in a hidden hallow of Mount Mindolluin. This was planted in the Court of the Fountain &ndash; the fourth White Tree of Gondor.<ref name="RK-StewardKing">{{RK|VI5}}.</ref><ref name="AppB-3A"/>
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===Fourth Age===
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Under King Elessar Minas Tirith was rebuilt and restored: the Great Gate was remade in ''[[mithril]]'' and steel, the streets were repaved with white marble and gardens and trees were planted all around the city. This labour was aided by the [[Dwarves]] of the [[Glittering Caves]], led by [[Gimli]], and [[Silvan Elves|Wood-elves]] brought there by [[Legolas]].<ref name="RK-StewardKing"/>
  
Note on pronunciation: The ''i'''s are long in all cases, thus MEE-nas TEE-reeth.
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==Geography==
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[[Image:J.R.R. Tolkien - Minas Tirith.jpg|left|thumb|[[J.R.R. Tolkien]] - ''Minas Tirith'' (unfinished drawing)]]
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Minas Tirith was situated on the [[Hill of Guard]] &ndash; the "out-thrust knee" of [[Mount Mindolluin]], connected to the main mass of the mountain by a narrow 'shoulder'.<ref name="RK-MinasTirith">{{RK|V1}}.</ref><ref name="WR-MinasTirith">{{WR|3|III}}.</ref> It faced eastward towards Osgiliath, over the [[Pelennor Fields]] surrounding the city, fertile townlands stretching from the walls of the city proper to the [[Rammas Echor]].<ref name="RK-MinasTirith"/>
  
== External links ==
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The city was built on the hill with seven concentric tiers cut on the hill culminating in the [[Citadel of Gondor|Citadel]] at the summit. The outer wall was called the [[City Wall]] and was black, of the same material used in [[Orthanc]]. The City Wall was vulnerable only to earthquakes capable of rending the ground where it stood.<ref name="RK-MinasTirith"/>
  
* [http://www.minastirith-project.com/ The Minas Tirith Project]:  A non-comercial project to make the whole city of Minas Tirith  fully detailed in 3D.
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Each of the seven levels stood 100 feet higher than the one below it and was surrounded by a white wall. Each wall held a gate, and each gate faced a different direction: only the great gate and that of the seventh level faced east; the gate to the second level faced southeast, and that to the third faced northeast; so altering between the two such that the path up through the levels wound to and fro rather than following a straight line. An outcropping of rock as high as the seventh level bisected all the lower levels except the lowest on the line of the [[Great Gate of Minas Tirith|Great Gate]]. The winding path through the city therefore passed through tunnels in this 'keel' five times.
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The '''First Level''' included the [[Rath Celerdain]], a white paved street with an inn, the [[Old Guesthouse]].
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The '''Sixth Level''' contained stables for riders, and the [[Houses of Healing]]. There was also [[Fen Hollen]], a door which was almost always closed, leading to [[Rath Dínen]]<ref name="RK-MinasTirith" />, the 'shoulder' of rock that joined the Hill to the main mass of Mount Mindolluin rose to the level of the fifth wall and was fortified with large ramparts, where the tombs of the Kings of Gondor and their Stewards lay. The uppermost tunnel was delved into the spur of rock that jutted out of the eastern face of the Hill; The keystone of its archway was carved with the head of a crowned King. [[Guards of the Citadel]] manned the Seventh Gate which faced eastward in line with the Great Gate 700 feet below and emerged into the Citadel, the city's strongest point, surrounded by high walls and battlements on the 'keel'.
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The '''Citadel''' housed the [[Court of the Fountain (Minas Tirith)|Court of the Fountain]] and the [[Tower of Ecthelion]], which brought the total height of the city to 1000 feet.<ref group="note">On the basis of this figure and unpublished sketches by Tolkien [[Karen Wynn Fonstad]] estimated the breadth of the city at 3100 feet in her ''[[The Atlas of Middle-earth|Atlas]]''.</ref> Before the Tower grew the [[White Tree of Gondor|White Tree]] in a court. There were also the [[King's House]], lodgings for the Steward, [[Merethrond]], barracks for the Guard of the Citadel, and other buildings for guests and other workers.
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==Non-canon statistics==
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[[Image:Ryszard_Derdzinski_-_Minas_Tirith.jpg|thumb|right|[[Ryszard Derdzinski]] - ''Minas Tirith'']]
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In ''[[The Atlas of Middle-earth]]'', [[Karen Wynn Fonstad]] estimates the diameter of the city to be 3,100 feet for the First Circle of the City.
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According to the [[New Line Cinema|New Line]] book ''[[The Lord of the Rings: Weapons and Warfare]]'', the height of Minas Tirith (in the films) from the foot of the gates to the top of the Tower of Ecthelion (which individually is said to be 300 feet tall) is around 1,000 feet (304.8 m), and the diameter of the city almost three-quarters of a mile (3,960 feet). The book also suggests that the towering bastion of stone, shaped like the keel of a ship, which rose from behind the Great Gates on the first level to the citadel on the seventh, was a quarter of a mile tall (1 320 feet). However this height does not take into account the Tower of Ecthelion, which was situated on the seventh level, meaning that in total the city is some 1,620 feet tall (493.7 m). This means that the city's total height is somewhere between 1,000 feet (304.8 m) and 1,620 feet (493.7 m).
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==Portrayal in adaptations==
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'''1988: ''[[J.R.R. Tolkien's War in Middle Earth]]'':'''
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[[File:War in middle earth gameplay.gif|thumb|200px]]
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:Minas Tirith is one of the many battlefields in this game. The city is brown, unlike the books in which it is white.
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'''2001: ''[[The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring]]'':'''
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:The city appears briefly when Gandalf goes there to discern the identity of [[Bilbo Baggins|Bilbo]]'s [[The One Ring|One Ring]]
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'''2002: ''[[The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers]]'':'''
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:Minas Tirith can be seen in the distance for a few seconds when [[Faramir]] takes [[Frodo Baggins|Frodo]], [[Samwise Gamgee|Sam]], and [[Gollum]] to [[Osgiliath]].
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'''2003: ''[[The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King]]'':'''
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:Tolkien's description of the physical layout of Minas Tirith is followed scrupulously in [[The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King]] film, although there is no reason to suppose that the top of the rock is flattened and paved, and in the book it is not the location for the coronation of [[Aragorn]] which occurs on the Pelennor Field outside Minas Tirith, he then enters the city as King. In the film version it is within clear sight of the mountains surrounding Mordor and the fires of [[Mount Doom]], so much that in at least one night scene the light of it shines on the faces of viewers from the city walls.  However, in the books the mountains were far enough away that from the city they looked like a low dark shadow over the land far away.
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:According to the "Making Of" featurettes on the Extended Edition DVDs, the appearance and structure of the city was based upon [[Wikipedia:Mont Saint-Michel|Mont Saint-Michel]], France.
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:Portions of Minas Tirith were constructed as full-scale sets (built on the foundations of the disassembled [[Helm's Deep]] set), and the whole city as a highly detailed "[[bigature]]" by [[Weta Workshop]] combined with a detailed three-dimensional digital model, along with the whole of its surrounding environment. Despite the description of Minas Tirith's [[Othram]] as a black, indestructible wall, Jackson depicted all of the walls as white, which also are destructible.
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:In the films, the towers of Minas Tirith are equipped with 100 [[trebuchet]]s. These played a significant role in the siege in the movie, as they were responsible for destroying many orcs, siege towers and catapults; some were smashed to bits by fell beasts, but all were repaired in the end.
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== See also ==
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* [[:Category:Images of Minas Tirith|Images of Minas Tirith]]
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{{references|note}}
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{{FellowshipRoute}}
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[[Category:Minas Tirith| ]]
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[[de:Minas Tirith (Gondor)]]
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[[fi:Minas Tirith]]
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[[fr:encyclo/geographie/villes_tours_et_forteresses/gondor/minas_tirith]]

Revision as of 00:04, 13 November 2016

The name Minas Tirith refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see Minas Tirith (disambiguation).
Minas Tirith
City
Ted Nasmith - Minas Tirith at Dawn.jpg
General Information
Other namesMinas Anor
Mundburg
The Guarded City
LocationEasternmost point of the White Mountains, close to Anduin
TypeCity
DescriptionWhite city of seven levels
RegionsGondor
Reunited Kingdom
People and History
InhabitantsGondorians
EventsSiege of Minas Tirith
GalleryImages of Minas Tirith

Minas Tirith (S. 'Tower of the Guard') was a city of Gondor, originally called Minas Anor. From T.A. 1640[1] onwards it was the capital of the South-kingdom and the seat of its Kings and ruling Stewards.

Contents

History

Minas Anor

The city of Minas Tirith was originally a fortress, Minas Anor (S. 'Tower of the Sun'), built in S.A. 3320 by the Faithful Númenóreans.[2] It was the western counterpart to Minas Ithil (S. 'Tower of the Moon'): guarding the western flank of the city of Osgiliath from the men of the White Mountains, as Ithil guarded its east from Mordor. From Osgiliath the sons of Elendil jointly ruled the newly-founded South-kingdom, but Minas Anor was home to Anárion's House and Minas Ithil to Isildur's.[3] Therefore when the seven palantíri were divided amongst the Realms in Exile one was placed in Minas Anor.[4][5]

Sauron attacked Gondor in S.A. 3429, taking Minas Ithil and forcing Isildur to flee north to his father in Arnor. Anárion meanwhile was besieged in Osgiliath and Minas Anor for five years, until he was relieved by the Last Alliance of Elves and Men. In T.A. 2 Isildur planted the second White Tree of Gondor in Minas Anor in memory of his brother, who had perished during the Siege of Barad-dûr. From this point the Kingship of Gondor belonged solely to the heirs of Anárion, who continued to rule from Osgiliath.[1][6]

In T.A. 420[1] Minas Anor was rebuilt by Ostoher, the seventh King of Gondor, and his from his reign onwards the Kings removed there from Osgiliath in the summer.[4] It remained the second city of Gondor for the next thousand years as the Kingdom reached the height of its power under the Ship-kings, and then fell into its long decline. Osgiliath was burned and its palantír lost during the Kin-strife, and from this point Minas Anor gradually grew more prominent. In T.A. 1636 the old capital was devastated by the Great Plague, leaving it depopulated and falling into ruin. Soon after Tarondor permanently moved the King's House to Minas Anor.[4][1]

For a short time under Tarandor and his heirs the decline of Gondor was slowed, although constant wars with various groups of Easterlings took their toll. In T.A. 1900 Calimehtar built the first White Tower in the Citadel of Minas Anor to house the city's palantír.[1] Just over a century later, however, the kingdom was dealt a harsh blow. In T.A. 2002 Minas Ithil, where the guard on Mordor had long since slackened, was captured by the Nazgûl. It became known as Minas Morgul, and in turn Minas Anor was renamed Minas Tirith, 'Tower of the Guard' or the 'Guarded City'.[7] Soon after Eärnur, the last King of Gondor, was killed in the Morgul Vale, and the lordship of the South-kingdom passed to the Stewards.[4]

Minas Tirith

John Howe - Minas Tirith
Following a brief respite in the Watchful Peace, Gondor under the Stewards became increasingly beset by enemies: control of Ithilien and the ruined bridges of Osgiliath passed back and forth between Minas Tirith and Minas Morgul,the coastlands were raided by the Corsairs of Umbar, and Easterlings assailed them from the north.[4] The Citadel was improved under Ecthelion I (T.A. 26852698),[4] who rebuilt the White Tower which afterwards bore his name.[1] But equally the White Tree died at the same time as the twenty-first Steward, Belecthor II, and this time a new seedling could not be found to replace it.[4]

In the reign of Ecthelion II (T.A. 2953T.A. 2984)[4] Minas Tirith was strengthened against Mordor, where Sauron had now declared himself openly. It was at this time that Aragorn the future King first came to the city under the name Thorongil, and did great deeds.[4]

War of the Ring

Main article: Battle of the Pelennor Fields

During the War of the Ring, the brunt of Mordor's assault on the Free peoples was directed at Gondor and Minas Tirith. Cair Andros fell on 10 March T.A. 3019 and on 12 March a company led by Faramir was forced to retreat from its defense of Osgiliath.[1] An effort was made to repair the Rammas Echor, but this came too late.[7] With the crossings of Anduin taken the Pelennor was overrun, and Minas Tirith was besieged by a great army of Morgul orcs and Easterlings led by the Witch-king. The city was under-manned, and its defenders had little hope; on 15 March the Great Gate was breached and the last ruling Steward, Denethor II, burned himself in despair.[8][9] But Gandalf was also present, and rescuing Faramir from his father he took charge of the defence of Minas Tirith. The Rohirrim under Théoden also came unlooked for to the city's aid, and Aragorn led a force up the river from Pelargir. Seeing this Imrahil, Prince of Dol Amroth, led a sally from the city, and the three armies were able to break the siege in the decisive Battle of the Pelennor Fields.[10]


On 1 May T.A. 3019, returning with the victorious from the Battle of the Morannon, Aragorn was crowned on the plain outside Minas Tirith, and he entered the city as King Elessar. On 25 June he discovered a sapling of the line of Nimloth in a hidden hallow of Mount Mindolluin. This was planted in the Court of the Fountain – the fourth White Tree of Gondor.[11][1]

Fourth Age

Under King Elessar Minas Tirith was rebuilt and restored: the Great Gate was remade in mithril and steel, the streets were repaved with white marble and gardens and trees were planted all around the city. This labour was aided by the Dwarves of the Glittering Caves, led by Gimli, and Wood-elves brought there by Legolas.[11]

Geography

J.R.R. Tolkien - Minas Tirith (unfinished drawing)

Minas Tirith was situated on the Hill of Guard – the "out-thrust knee" of Mount Mindolluin, connected to the main mass of the mountain by a narrow 'shoulder'.[7][12] It faced eastward towards Osgiliath, over the Pelennor Fields surrounding the city, fertile townlands stretching from the walls of the city proper to the Rammas Echor.[7]

The city was built on the hill with seven concentric tiers cut on the hill culminating in the Citadel at the summit. The outer wall was called the City Wall and was black, of the same material used in Orthanc. The City Wall was vulnerable only to earthquakes capable of rending the ground where it stood.[7]

Each of the seven levels stood 100 feet higher than the one below it and was surrounded by a white wall. Each wall held a gate, and each gate faced a different direction: only the great gate and that of the seventh level faced east; the gate to the second level faced southeast, and that to the third faced northeast; so altering between the two such that the path up through the levels wound to and fro rather than following a straight line. An outcropping of rock as high as the seventh level bisected all the lower levels except the lowest on the line of the Great Gate. The winding path through the city therefore passed through tunnels in this 'keel' five times.

The First Level included the Rath Celerdain, a white paved street with an inn, the Old Guesthouse.

The Sixth Level contained stables for riders, and the Houses of Healing. There was also Fen Hollen, a door which was almost always closed, leading to Rath Dínen[7], the 'shoulder' of rock that joined the Hill to the main mass of Mount Mindolluin rose to the level of the fifth wall and was fortified with large ramparts, where the tombs of the Kings of Gondor and their Stewards lay. The uppermost tunnel was delved into the spur of rock that jutted out of the eastern face of the Hill; The keystone of its archway was carved with the head of a crowned King. Guards of the Citadel manned the Seventh Gate which faced eastward in line with the Great Gate 700 feet below and emerged into the Citadel, the city's strongest point, surrounded by high walls and battlements on the 'keel'.

The Citadel housed the Court of the Fountain and the Tower of Ecthelion, which brought the total height of the city to 1000 feet.[note 1] Before the Tower grew the White Tree in a court. There were also the King's House, lodgings for the Steward, Merethrond, barracks for the Guard of the Citadel, and other buildings for guests and other workers.

Non-canon statistics

Ryszard Derdzinski - Minas Tirith

In The Atlas of Middle-earth, Karen Wynn Fonstad estimates the diameter of the city to be 3,100 feet for the First Circle of the City.

According to the New Line book The Lord of the Rings: Weapons and Warfare, the height of Minas Tirith (in the films) from the foot of the gates to the top of the Tower of Ecthelion (which individually is said to be 300 feet tall) is around 1,000 feet (304.8 m), and the diameter of the city almost three-quarters of a mile (3,960 feet). The book also suggests that the towering bastion of stone, shaped like the keel of a ship, which rose from behind the Great Gates on the first level to the citadel on the seventh, was a quarter of a mile tall (1 320 feet). However this height does not take into account the Tower of Ecthelion, which was situated on the seventh level, meaning that in total the city is some 1,620 feet tall (493.7 m). This means that the city's total height is somewhere between 1,000 feet (304.8 m) and 1,620 feet (493.7 m).

Portrayal in adaptations

1988: J.R.R. Tolkien's War in Middle Earth:

Minas Tirith is one of the many battlefields in this game. The city is brown, unlike the books in which it is white.

2001: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring:

The city appears briefly when Gandalf goes there to discern the identity of Bilbo's One Ring

2002: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers:

Minas Tirith can be seen in the distance for a few seconds when Faramir takes Frodo, Sam, and Gollum to Osgiliath.

2003: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King:

Tolkien's description of the physical layout of Minas Tirith is followed scrupulously in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King film, although there is no reason to suppose that the top of the rock is flattened and paved, and in the book it is not the location for the coronation of Aragorn which occurs on the Pelennor Field outside Minas Tirith, he then enters the city as King. In the film version it is within clear sight of the mountains surrounding Mordor and the fires of Mount Doom, so much that in at least one night scene the light of it shines on the faces of viewers from the city walls. However, in the books the mountains were far enough away that from the city they looked like a low dark shadow over the land far away.
According to the "Making Of" featurettes on the Extended Edition DVDs, the appearance and structure of the city was based upon Mont Saint-Michel, France.
Portions of Minas Tirith were constructed as full-scale sets (built on the foundations of the disassembled Helm's Deep set), and the whole city as a highly detailed "bigature" by Weta Workshop combined with a detailed three-dimensional digital model, along with the whole of its surrounding environment. Despite the description of Minas Tirith's Othram as a black, indestructible wall, Jackson depicted all of the walls as white, which also are destructible.
In the films, the towers of Minas Tirith are equipped with 100 trebuchets. These played a significant role in the siege in the movie, as they were responsible for destroying many orcs, siege towers and catapults; some were smashed to bits by fell beasts, but all were repaired in the end.

See also

Notes

  1. On the basis of this figure and unpublished sketches by Tolkien Karen Wynn Fonstad estimated the breadth of the city at 3100 feet in her Atlas.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Second Age"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Palantír".
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "The Heirs of Elendil"
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Minas Tirith".
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Siege of Gondor"
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Pyre of Denethor"
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Battle of the Pelennor Fields"
  11. 11.0 11.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Steward and the King".
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Ring, "Part Three: Minas Tirith", "Minas Tirith".