The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien


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  • Updated 1 May 2011
  • Updates planned: 2


The roadway through the Mountains of Shadow

Where the stream known as Morgulduin ran down out of the Ephel Dúath, it formed a narrow valley that could be used as a pass from Ithilien into Mordor. At the mouth of this valley, in the earliest days of Gondor, the Dúnedain built a city: Minas Ithil, the fortress of Isildur. Long afterwards, that city was captured by the Nazgûl and renamed Minas Morgul, and the road that ran from the city and over the mountains was in turn named the Morgul-way. Once it reached the eastern side of the mountains, the road ran on across the Plateau of Gorgoroth to Mount Doom, and from there to Sauron's fortress of Barad-dûr, some sixty miles to the east.

Above the Morgul-way was even more difficult passage across the mountains, leading up by a set of perilous stairs and over the mountains far above the main roadway: a dangerous pass known as Cirith Ungol.

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