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General Information
LocationAnduin, between Minas Tirith and Minas Morgul
DescriptionRiver city with bridge
Reunited Kingdom
GalleryImages of Osgiliath
"The city of Osgiliath has been reclaimed... for Gondor! For Gondor!"
Boromir, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (extended)

Osgiliath (S, pron. [osˈɡiljaθ]) was the old capital city of Gondor. The city straddled the Anduin River at a point approximately half way between the cities of Minas Anor to the southwest and Minas Ithil to the northeast, and north of the nearby Emyn Arnen. In its days of glory, the city featured quays to handle sea-going vessels that came up from the sea, a great stone bridge supporting houses and towers of stone, and the Dome of Stars, which housed the Osgiliath-stone, the greatest of the seven Palantíri.[1]



Founded by Isildur and Anárion[1] near the end of the Second Age,[2] Osgiliath was designated the capital of the southern Númenórean kingdom in exile, Gondor. In the Great Hall of the city the thrones of the sons of Elendil were set side by side. Soon after its founding, Sauron attacked and took Minas Ithil in S.A. 3429 and then moved westward. While Isildur sought aid from the north, Anárion defended the city. When the army of the Last Alliance arrived and later defeated Sauron the threat to the city was lifted.[1] Thereafter, for over a thousand years, Osgiliath was the capital of Gondor, as well as its largest and most important city.

The beginning of the city's decline came in T.A. 1437 when it was sacked and burned, after a siege by the rebel Castamir's forces during the Kin-strife. It was during this siege that the Osgiliath-stone was lost in the River. The Great Plague of T.A. 1636 led to further depopulation, and the city began to fall into ruin; the capital was moved to the more secure Minas Anor. Over the next few hundred years, Gondor endured many military defeats east of the Anduin, especially the fall of Minas Ithil in T.A. 2002. Osgiliath became vulnerable to attack and was widely believed to be haunted, as its population continued to shrink. Osgiliath was finally abandoned by the remaining civilian population after being captured (temporarily) by Uruk-hai in T.A. 2475.[3]

Over the centuries leading up to the War of the Ring, the western part of the ruined city was under the control of Gondor, and was at times provided with a military garrison as a means of defending the crossing of the Anduin. The eastern part, with Ithilien, was disputed territory, under Gondor's control for most of the rule of Denethor II, but was taken and occupied by Sauron's forces in a maneuver some later considered the beginning of the War.[4]

When, during the War, Sauron launched a full-scale invasion of Gondor west of the Anduin, Osgiliath quickly fell to his forces,[4] but it was reclaimed by Gondor after Sauron's ultimate defeat a few weeks later.

After the destruction of the One Ring, Osgiliath was rebuilt, but it never became as great as it once was. Minas Tirith remained the capital and King's city.


The Sindarin name Osgiliath, "Citadel of the Stars", consists of the elements ost ("fort, citadel") + giliath ("hosts of stars").[5]

Portrayal in Adaptations

Because the city was not visited in the books, it did not appear in many adaptations.

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

Osgiliath is one of the many maps of this game. The maps shows the bridge but the city itself is not shown.

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

After capturing Frodo and Sam, Faramir takes them to Osgiliath, in the hope of harnessing the power of the Ring to the betterment of Gondor. Osgiliath is fully ruined, and partly flooded. After being attacked by several winged Nazgûl, Faramir releases them.
In a scene in the extended edition, Faramir has a flashback. Boromir reclaims the city for Gondor, and the soldiers feast. The scene is meant to highlight the relation between Boromir, Faramir and Denethor.

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

Gothmog and his orcs finally breach the defenses of the Gondorian troopers, and beat them back with heavy losses. Madril is slain, as are several others. On their retreat to Minas Tirith, they are beset by the Nazgûl, only to be saved by Gandalf.
Not impressed by Faramir's deeds, and more upset about the loss of Osgiliath, Denethor sends his son back to Osgiliath, but his company is slaughtered, and Faramir badly wounded. This scene replaced the defense of the Causeway Forts in the book.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Second Age"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  4. 4.0 4.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Great Years"
  5. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 232 (citing from the Unfinished index)