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


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  • Updated 28 December 2013
  • Updates planned: 2

Rainbow Cleft

The ravine that led out of Dor-lómin

A narrow cleft running westwards out of the western hills of Dor-lómin, forged by a narrow and foaming stream that ran down from those hills towards the Firth of Drengist. The stream and its ravine ran directly east to west, and so the low Sun in the morning and evening would shine through the sprays of its tumbling waterfalls and rapids to form many rainbows. Thus the cleft gained its name: Cirith Ninniach in Elvish, translated as the 'Rainbow Cleft'.

At the eastern end of the cleft, during the time that the Noldor still dwelt in the neighbouring land of Nevrast, Turgon caused a gateway and a tunnel to be built at the head of the Rainbow Cleft, leading through the hills into Dor-lómin. Long after Turgon's people had deserted Nevrast for Gondolin, this Gate of the Noldor (Annon-in-Gelydh) remained, and it was used by Tuor to make his secret escape from Dor-lómin and along the Rainbow Cleft to reach Turgon's ancient halls at Vinyamar.

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