One of two stairs cut into the Ephel Dúath that led away from the main road through the Morgul Valley and up towards the Tower of Cirith Ungol. The Straight Stair was the lower of the two, leading steeply from the city of Minas Morgul through a narrow cutting in the mountainside. At its upper end was a long rising passage, which led on to the second of the two Stairs of Cirith Ungol, known as the Winding Stair.
The origins of the Stairs are not known, but by the end of the Third Age, they had long fallen out of repair. It was by this treacherous route that Gollum chose to lead Frodo and Sam up into the mountains and towards Shelob's Lair.
We have no definite information about the origins of the stairs that led up to Cirith Ungol. They were perhaps most likely created to provide a passage from the Tower of Cirith Ungol down to Minas Ithil (later Minas Morgul) implying that they probably dated from the late Second Age. If so, the steep Straight Stair would have been more than three thousand years old at the time Frodo and Sam used it to help find their way into Mordor.
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