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Built in the earliest years of Gondor, II 3320 or soon afterward; Minas Ithil (which later became known as Minas Morgul) was razed after the War of the Ring; the other two towers survived into the Fourth Age
Minas Anor and Minas Ithil stood in eastern Gondor, to the west and east of the royal city of Osgiliath; Angrenost lay far to the west, near the Gap of Calenardhon
Raised by the sons of Elendil
Three towers originally named Angrenost,1 Minas Anor and Minas Ithil; at the close of the Third Age, these towers were usually known as Orthanc, Minas Tirith and Minas Morgul
Gondor is pronounced 'go'ndorr' (the final 'r' should be pronounced - 'rr' is used here to emphasise this)
Gondor means 'land of (the people of) stone'


About this entry:

  • Updated 19 May 2022
  • This entry is complete

Towers of Gondor

The sites of three Seeing-stones

Map of the Towers of Gondor

Three towers in Gondor, each of which held one of the South-kingdom's four palantíri. The first two Towers were founded by Elendil's sons Isildur and Anárion: Minas Ithil and Minas Anor. The third was an outpost that guarded Gondor's northern and western borders: Angrenost. By the time of the War of the Ring, each of these Towers had acquired a new name. Angrenost became better known as Orthanc in Isengard, and was taken over by the Wizard Saruman, and Minas Ithil was captured by the Nazgûl, and renamed as Minas Morgul. Only Minas Anor remained in Gondor's hands, and it was also given a new name: Minas Tirith, the Tower of Guard to keep watch on the Ringwraiths in the Tower beyond the Anduin.

Minas Ithil
(Minas Morgul)
The citadel of Isildur the elder son of Elendil was placed to guard the western borders of Mordor itself. Its palantír was known as the Ithil-stone, and when Minas Ithil was captured by the Nazgûl in III 2002, the Ithil-stone was lost to the Enemy. At some point during the later Third Age it was removed to Barad-dûr for the use of Sauron, so that looking into the other palantíri became a dangerous endeavour. The Stone was apparently lost in the Fall of that Dark Tower.
Minas Anor
(Minas Tirith)
Westward across the Great River from Minas Ithil, beyond the city of Osgiliath, was the tower of Anárion, second son of Elendil, who ruled Gondor jointly with Isildur. Like Minas Ithil, Minas Anor also contained a palantír, used by Elendil's descendants throughout the Third Age. This palantír was not lost, but in the time of the Stewards the Anor-stone became a secret all but forgotten. Denethor's use of this Seeing-stone during the War of the Ring led to his madness and ultimately his death.
(Orthanc in Isengard)
While the other two Towers were relatively close to one another (a matter of some forty miles apart) the third was much more distant. Far off in the west of Gondor, it guarded the great Gap at the southern end of the Misty Mountains that marked the South-kingdom's western frontier. When Rohan was gifted to the Northmen, Angrenost was alone retained by the Gondorians, and its Seeing-stone remained locked away in its impregnable Tower. When the Wizard Saruman was granted the Tower in III 2759, he found the Orthanc-stone still in place, and through it he was ensnared by the Ithil-stone held by Sauron.



Strictly speaking, Angrenost was the old Gondorian name for the entire complex of Isengard, including not just its central Tower, but also its surrounding enclosure and Ring. The central Tower might have been known as Orthanc even during this early period (the name is interpretable as Sindarin 'forked height', but loosely translated 'Mount Fang'). The name Orthanc, however, seems to have been applied by the Rohirrim (orthanc was a pre-existing word in their language, translated in this context as 'cunning mind'). This seems to imply that the Tower may have had a different, earlier name, but if so we have no record of it. In texts relating to the period before the founding of Rohan, the fortifications of Isengard and Orthanc are usually referred to collectively as Angrenost.

See also...

Third Tower of Gondor


About this entry:

  • Updated 19 May 2022
  • This entry is complete

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