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Created after the coming of the Elves to Valinor during the Years of the Trees1
In Eldamar, near the eastern end of the Calacirya, the Pass of Light that led into Valinor
Associated with the Calacirya, the Pass of Light
Probably 'land (or region) of the Pass of Light'


About this entry:

  • Updated 9 January 2024
  • This entry is complete


A region near the Pass of Light

Map of the Calacirian
Somewhat conjectural2
Somewhat conjectural2
"...through the Calacirian
to hidden land forlorn he went.
From Bilbo's "Song of Eärendil"
The Fellowship of the Ring II 2
Many Meetings

When the Elves first travelled to Valinor, they discovered a land filled with the shining Light of the Trees. As beautiful as they found the Light, however, the Elves had been born under starlit skies, and still longed to see the stars. Thus the Valar made a ravine running through the eastern mountain-border of their realm, looking out to the lands and sea beyond where the stars still shone down.

That cleft in the mountains was named the Calacirya, the Pass of Light, and the Elves raised a city within it that they named Tirion. They also dwelt in the lands about the ravine, in a region that came to be known as Eldamar or Elvenhome. That part of Eldamar that lay beyond the end of the pass of the Calacirya was known as the Calacirian, an open land filled with the Light of the Trees, and a place of astonishing beauty.

Tolkien is explicit that the place known as the Calacirian lay at the opening of the Pass of Light, he does not specifically mention which end of the ravine it occupied. Based on the available evidence, however, it seems to have been at the western end (that is, the place where the Calacirya opened onto the plains of Valinor). Notably, the Light of the Trees was said to have been at its brightest here, and the western end of the cleft would have been the nearest to the Two Trees. What's more, in Bilbo's "Song of Eärendil" in Rivendell, he describes Eärendil travelling first to Tirion, and then passing through the Calacirian into Valinor, which would only make sense if the Calacirian was at the western end of the pass of the Calacirya.

It should be said that the meaning of the name Calacirian was not always as unambiguous as these notes might imply. In textual changes from 1958 (that is, after the initial publication of The Lord of the Rings), Tolkien was still pondering possible alternative meanings. In volume X of The History of Middle-earth, there's a record of him considering changing Kalakirya (the name of the Pass of Light using an older spelling convention) to Kalakiryan. So, at least for a time, the Calacirian might have been considered as a name for the pass, or part of it, rather than an open land at its end.



The Annals of Aman in volume X of The History of Middle-earth gives an exact date for the making of the pass of the Calacirya: Valian Year 1133, or about 3,517 years before the first rising of the Sun. Presumably the region known as the Calacirian came into being, or at least gained its name, at the same date.


We have no map from any phase of Tolkien's writing showing the location of the Calacirian, and indeed all we have as a basis for its geography is brief note in the expanded index to The Lord of the Rings. That note places it in Eldamar near the pass of the Calacirya, so the location of the Calacirian must have been at least close to the point shown on the map for this entry.


About this entry:

  • Updated 9 January 2024
  • This entry is complete

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