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Became the Dead City of Minas Morgul in III 2002; destroyed in the early Fourth Age
In the valley of Imlad Morgul, on the western slopes of the Ephel Dúath
Originally built by Elendil and his sons, but later captured by the Nazgûl
The tower was originally built by the Dúnedain, but during the time it was known as the Dead City it was occupied by the Nazgûl
Guarded the mouth of Imlad Morgul and the entrance to Cirith Ungol, passes leading through Ephel Dúath into Mordor
Other names


About this entry:

  • Updated 18 February 2024
  • This entry is complete

Dead City

The stronghold of the Nazgûl

Map of the Dead City

The gleaming tower of Minas Ithil had been raised by Isildur in the earliest days of the realm of Gondor. It stood beneath the Mountains of Shadow, directly on Mordor's western border, as a defence against the Dark Lord. In this it failed; in II 3429 Sauron emerged from Mordor and captured the tower, triggering the War of the Last Alliance. Sauron was ultimately defeated in that War, and Minas Ithil was recaptured by Gondor. The Gondorians held the city guarding the walls of Mordor for the next two millennia.

In the year III 2002, Minas Ithil was again attacked, as the Lord of the Nazgûl and his fellow Ringwraiths came out of Mordor and besieged the tower. Its defenders survived for two years, but eventually the city of Isildur fell to the besieging Nazgûl. Thereafter the city became the domain of the wraiths under the rule of the Witch-king. The Gondorians changed its name to Minas Morgul, the tower of dark sorcery, but it was also known as the Dead City, because of the wraiths who now occupied it.

Soon afterward, the Witch-king challenged the King of Gondor, Eärnur, and the King eventually answered the challenge, entering into the city of the Ringwraiths. He never returned, and from the time of his loss Gondor was ruled by its Stewards, until the coming of Aragorn Elessar a thousand years later.

The Dead City remained a threat to Gondor thoughout that millennium, and played a vital part in the War of the Ring. It was here that the Enemy gathered its forces to attack Minas Tirith beyond Anduin, and this immense Morgul-host crossed the Great River and marched up to the walls of the City of Gondor. There followed the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, in which the Lord of the Nazgûl, ruler of the Dead City, was slain along with most of his host, though the other eight Nazgûl survived.

Those remaining Nazgûl were lost ten days later in the eruption of Mount Doom that followed the destruction of the One Ring. After this absolute defeat of Sauron, the Dead City of Minas Morgul was once more in the hands of Gondor. The new King, Aragorn, made no attempt to repopulate it, instead commanding that it should be utterly destroyed, and all trace of the Nazgûl erased from the valley where the Dead City had stood.

See also...

Morgul-host, Wraith-lord


About this entry:

  • Updated 18 February 2024
  • This entry is complete

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