Great Gate of Minas Tirith

From Tolkien Gateway
This article is about gate of Minas Tirith. For the the gate of Moria, see Great Gates.
Great Gate
"The Gates of Minas Tirith" by Eric Faure-Brac
General Information
Other namesGreat Gate of the City
Gate of the City
City Gate
Gate of Gondor
LocationEastern point in the City Wall of Minas Tirith
DescriptionLarge rolling doors originally made of steel and iron, later mithril and steel
Destroyed15 March T.A. 3019
EventsBattle of the Pelennor Fields
GalleryImages of the Great Gate

The Great Gate was the guarded doorway in the eastern point of the City Wall, the outer wall on the first and lowest level of Minas Tirith, the capital city of Gondor.[1]:751-2


The Gate itself consisted of large rolling doors[1]:751-2 made of steel and iron with posts made of steel. It was protected by towers and bastions of indomitable stone.[2]:828-9 Behind the Gate was a wide court that ended at the base of the great "ship-keel" of stone that cut through most of the city.[1]:751-2 Before the Gate was a great paved space where all the roads that led through the Pelennor Fields to Minas Tirith converged.[1]:770


The city of Minas Tirith (then known as Minas Anor) was probably built after the founding of the realm of Gondor in S.A. 3320.[3] It is probable that the Great Gate was built later during the history of the city, because Minas Anor was originally of less importance and only consisted of a small fort on the summit of Amon Anor with the main purpose of guarding Rath Dínen, the Tombs of the Kings, while the rest of the rocky hill of Amon Anor was uninhabited.[4]

On 9 March T.A. 3019,[5] Gandalf and Pippin passed through the Great Gates on their way to meet Denethor II. Seeing the wizard the men at the Gate knew that "the storm is indeed nigh!" Gandalf did not dissuade them of this conclusion, proclaiming, "It is upon you" and that he had "ridden on its wings".[1]:751-2

Faramir was retreating with his men to the city on 10 March[5] when the Nazgûl swooped upon them. Just before the Great Gate it appeared that they would reach Faramir when Gandalf rode in and dispelled them. The next day Denethor sent his son to man the Rammas Echor; when the forces of Sauron overwhelmed the defenders Faramir was again forced to lead his men back to the city. Again the Nazgûl dove upon the Gondorians. Not two furlongs from the Great Gate they attacked and this time managed to wound Faramir.[2]:820-1

In the great siege of Minas Tirith, on 15 March 3019,[5] after midnight the host of Sauron attacked the City Wall in many places to test the strength of the defenses and to keep the defenders occupied in many places. They concentrated their attack on the Great Gate by moving great siege towers and Grond, a hundred-foot long battering ram towards the gate under the command of the Witch-king. Shortly before dawn, the battering ram reached the gate and pounded the Great Gate four times while the Witch-king spoke words of power during the last three strokes of the ram. At the last stroke there was a flash of lightning and the gate broke and the fragments of the door fell to the ground. The Witch-king rode through the Great Gate where Gandalf awaited him and forbade him to enter,[2]:828-9 but then he turned back when the Rohirrim arrived to command his troops against the onrushing Rohirrim.[6]

After the rout of the host of Sauron from the Pelennor, a temporary barricade was erected in place of the Great Gate.[7] Later, on 1 May 3019,[8] Aragorn received the Crown of Gondor in front of the ruined Gate and then Húrin, the Warden of the Keys, opened the barricade for him to enter the City.[7]

Sometime after the War of the Ring, Gimli became the Lord of Aglarond. He, and Dwarves from Erebor, built new Gates of mithril and steel for Minas Tirith as a replacement for the Great Gate that had been broken during the siege.[9]

Other names

The Great Gate of Minas Tirith was also referred to as the Great Gate of the City,[1]:750[10] the Gate of Minas Tirith,[11] the Gate of the City,[2]:820[12] the City Gate,[2]:827 the City-gate[2]:819 or the Gate of Gondor.[2]:829