Barad-dûr ~ History of the Dark Tower ~ First Building of the Tower ~ Second Building of the Tower
The First Building of the Dark Tower of Mordor
“There above the valley of Gorgoroth was built his fortress vast and strong, Barad-dûr, the Dark Tower;
and there was a fiery mountain in that land that the Elves named Orodruin.”
Silmarillion, Akallabeth, C1
This page written and edited by our Dark Historian Grievous
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The first Dark Tower of Mordor was built from the bones of the earth, it’s sinews made of rock and stone. The building was begun in the year one-thousand of the Second Age of Middle-earth, in the land of Shadow. The site for Barad-dûr was chosen primarily because of it’s proximity to the fires of Orodruin and was so built upon a spur of the Ash Mountains that jutted out onto the plain of Gorgoroth. This rock formation was made of a unique black stone, thrust up out of the depths of the earth. Upon this outcropping of obsidian stone, there were a series of towering spires that shot upwards and loomed over the Plateau of Gorgoroth.
Inspired by the vast fortresses of his Master, Sauron tunneled deep into the hard rock to house his armories, dungeons and great forges. Yet the Dark Lord of Mordor wished to see out upon his land and so he combined the dark architecture of Utumno, which delved deep under the earth and Thangorodrim with it’s great spires of mountain rock that housed Morgoth’s fortress of Angband. And so the Dark Tower of Barad-dûr was birthed upon the world, tunneled deep within the earth and rising high above the lands surrounding it.
For six-hundred years the slaves of Mordor labored to build the Dark Tower, with brick, stone and mortar. When Barad-dûr was nearly complete, Sauron’s ultimate weapon of power was forged in the fires of Sammath Naur… the One Ring of Power. With the Ring, Sauron was able to channel his sorcery in ways he’d never been able to before. The tower could now reach a vast height that hereto would have been impossible.
Little is known or recorded about the first building of Barad-dûr and it’s appearance as it rose up out of the darkness of Gorgoroth. It’s true height will never be known, but within it’s foundations was imbued a wealth of Sauron’s power, so that as long as he lived, it’s foundations could not be broken.
The Dark Tower was greater in size and population than any of the cites of Middle-earth. It housed within it’s walls foundries and forges, dungeons and prisons, housing for men, uruks and slaves, with breeding pits for all manner of brazen beasts. Larders, granaries and storerooms, that could feed thousands for prolonged sieges. Armories, where massive numbers of weapons and armor were stored. Vast treasures and vaults it had, that held gold, silver, Mithril and precious stones.
It is said that a great library was built near the summit of the Dark Tower, perhaps just below the throne room of the Dark Lord. There a vast store of knowledge was kept in the form of scrolls, books and illuminated manuscripts, that held much of the dark sorcery employed by Sauron in his long wars with the West.
The main tower was built upon a great rock base that stood over a deep chasm. The great gate forged of black iron and steel could only be reach by traversing a natual ridge of rock upon which the slaves of Mordor fashioned a roadway out from the entrance of the tower. This in turn led to single a stone bridge that spanned the chasm. In times of war, the bridge could be broken, barring the way into the Dark Tower. During the War of the Last Alliance, the armies of the West laid siege to Barad-dûr for six years and were never able successfully assault the tower. It was only when Sauron came forth himself and led an army out of the tower, driving the forces of the West to the very feet of Mount Doom, that the Dark Lord was defeated when Isildur cut the Ring from his hand.
It is said that at the very pinnacle of Barad-dûr, a great room was built with four windows, facing East, West, North and South and from these great windows, the Dark Lord could look out upon Middle-earth and with the power of the One Ring upon his hand, could see wherever his minds eye took him.
During the second and third millenniums of the Second Age, Sauron used the power of the Ring to wage war on the West. It is believed, that when he allowed himself to be captured and taken to Númenor, that he placed the Ring in secret high in the top most tower, where it was kept safe and guarded by the Nine Nazgûl until his return to Mordor.
It is not clear how the first Tower of Barad-dûr was destroyed. It may have been that the top most tiers of the tower, held together by the power of the Ring simply fell away after Sauron was vanquished and what remained was taken down by the Armies of the Last Alliance. It is clear that a great portion of the base of the tower and it’s foundations were left untouched, until the Lord of the Nazgûl returned in secret to Mordor to prepare the way for his Masters return.
Much of what we know about the first building of Barad-dûr is merely hearsay and rumor, for none now live who remember it. And yet it was upon the foundation of the first Dark Tower, that Sauron built it’s second and final incarnation, which was his base of power once more during the War of the Ring at the end of the Third Age of Middle-earth.
You can go HERE to discover more about the building of the second Barad-dûr and look below to see what we believe may have been a rendering of the first Dark Tower of Mordor.