Before the time of the Two Trees of Valinor, and even before the Valar came to Valinor, they dwelt on the green island of Almaren in the Great Lake. In the mists of time, long before the awakening of Elves or Men, the Valar dwelt east of the Sea in Middle-earth. This was a time called the Spring of Arda, when the Earth was lit by the two Lamps of the Valar, and Almaren lay in the central regions of the World, where the light of the two Lamps mingled.
Of the details of Almaren we know little - there was green grass on the island, and the Valar had a 'dwelling' there, which presumably constituted a city, or at least a town. In the history of the Valar, Almaren was known as the place where Tulkas wed Nessa.
Of much greater importance, though, is the fact that Almaren was the site of the Valar's first major defeat at the hands of Melkor: he loosed his forces secretly from his northern fortress of Utumno (then newly delved). Both the Lamps of the Valar were thrown down and destroyed, and Almaren lay in ruins. Tulkas gave chase, but Melkor escaped into the dungeons of Utumno.
After this, the Valar left Middle-earth and seldom returned. They founded a new land far away to the west, in Aman, that they called Valinor; a land lit by the fabled light of the Two Trees.
...or '(place) of the Blessed', from a root wood almare, 'blessedness'. (According to The Etymologies in The History of Middle-earth Volume 5, The Lost Road and Other Writings III)
Aman, First War, Great Lake, Lamps of the Valar, Long Night, Lords of the West, Melkor, Middle-earth, Mountain Wall, Mountains of Aman, Ormal, Outer Lands, Powers of Arda, Second Spring of Arda, Sleep of Yavanna, [See the full list...]
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