Barad-dûr ~ History of the Dark Tower ~ First Building of the Tower ~ Second Building of the Tower


Fortress of Sauron in the Land of Mordor!

“Then at last his gaze was held: wall upon wall, battlement upon battlement,
black, immeasurably strong, mountain of iron, gate of steel, tower of adamant, he saw it: Barad-dûr, Fortress of Sauron.”


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TolkienCanon3Barad-dûr was literally the personification of evil in Middle-earth. The Dark Tower of Sauron, was erected as a testament to his power and was tied to his fate. This vast edifice stood upon an outcropping of rock at the end of a mountain spur, that jutted out from the Ered Lithui onto the plain of Gorgoroth. It’s height was never measured, but it was said to have stood well over a 1,000 feet above the plain and by some estimates, perhaps as much as 5,000 feet. It’s true height will likely never be known, for it was ever swathed in the veils of Shadow that Sauron wove about himself.

The Dark Tower by JRR TolkienFrodo’s first glimpse of the Dark Tower came in a vision after putting on the One Ring atop the high seat of seeing on Amon Hen. As he looked eastward, he beheld the vast fortress of Sauron in the land of Shadow!

“Thither, eastward, unwilling his eye was drawn. It passed the ruined bridges of Osgiliath, the grinning gates of Minas Morgul, and the haunted Mountains, and it looked upon Gorgoroth, the valley of terror in the Land of Mordor. Darkness lay there under the sun. Fire glowed amid the smoke. Mount Doom was burning, and a great reek rising.”
“Then at last his gaze was held: wall upon wall, battlement upon battlement, black, immeasurably strong, mountain of iron, gate of steel, tower of adamant, he saw it: Barad-dûr, Fortress of Sauron.”
“All hope left him.”

From the The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in the chapter ‘The Breaking of the Fellowship’


Orthanc the other Dark Tower in Middle-earth, stood within the ring of Isengard upon the last edge of the Misty Mountains at the Gap of Rohan and lay within the valley of Nan Curunír. The wizard’s vale. It stood 500 feet above the plain below and yet it is described as a mere child’s model compared to the vast fortress of Barad-dûr.

A strong place and wonderful was Isengard, and long it had been beautiful; and there great lords had dwelt, the wardens of Gondor upon the West, and wise men that watched the stars, but Saruman had slowly shaped it to his shifting purposes, and made it better, as he thought, being deceived-for all those arts and subtle devices, for which he forsook his former wisdom, and which fondly he imagined were his own, came but from Mordor; so that what he made was naught, only a little copy, a child’s model or a slave’s flattery, of that vast fortress, armoury, prison, furnace of great power, Barad-dûr, the Dark Tower, which suffered no rival, and laughed at flattery, biding its time, secure in its pride and its immeasurable strength.”

From The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers in the chapter ‘The Road to Isengard’


Barad-dur3On the slopes of Mount Doom, Frodo and Sam came upon an ancient road that wound about the cone and then ran down the side of the fiery mountain to the plain of Gorgoroth below. There is cross ed dark plain until it reached the Dark Tower of Mordor!

“He was looking at Sauron’s Road from Barad-dûr to the Sammath Naur, the chamber of fire. Out of the Dark Tower’s huge western gate it came over a deep abyss by a vast bridge of iron, and then passing into the plain it ran for a league between two smoking chasms, and so reached a long sloping causeway that led between up on to the Mountain’s eastern side. Thence, turning and encircling all it’s wide girth from south to north, it climbed at last, high in the upper cone, but still far from the reeking summit, to a dark entrance that gazed back east straight to the Window of the Eye in Sauron’s shadow-mantled fortress.”

From The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in the chapter ‘Mount Doom’


In the distance a vision of Mordor could be seen through the Shadow that wrapped itself about the Dark Tower.

Barad-dur1“Behind Mount Doom there hung a vast shadow, ominous as a thunder cloud, the veils of Barad-dûr that was reared far away upon a long spur of the Ashen Mountains thrust down from the North. The Dark Power was deep in thought, and the Eye turned inward, pondering tidings of doubt and anger: a bright sword, and a stern and Kingly face it saw, and for a while it gave little thought to other things; and all its great stronghold, gate on gate, tower on tower, was wrapped in a brooding gloom.”

From The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in the chapter ‘Mount Doom’


The hobbits could feel the threat of Mordor bearing down upon them, as they crept inch by struggling inch amid the ruin of Gorgoroth on their way toward Orodruin, the fiery Mountain of Doom.

“Out from the Dark Tower there crept the veils of Shadow that Sauron wove about himself. But far worse then all such perils was the ever-approaching threat that beat upon them as they went: the dreadful menace of the Power that waited, brooding in deep thought and sleepless malice behind the dark veil about its Throne. Nearer and nearer it drew, looming blacker, like the oncoming of a wall of night at the last end of the world.”

From The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in the chapter ‘Mount Doom’


For one moment only, Frodo turned and looked upon the blackness in the east. From the height of Mount Doom the veiling shadow was ripped away and a true vision of Sauron was revealed to him.

“Far off the Shadows of Sauron hung; but torn by some gust of wind out of the world, or else moved by some great disquiet within, the mantling clouds swirled and for a moment drew aside; and then he saw, rising black, blacker and darker then the vast shades amid which it stood, the cruel pinnacles and iron crown of the topmost tower of Barad-dûr.”
“One moment only it stared out, but as from some great window immeasurably high there stabbed northward a flame of red, the flicker of a piercing Eye; and then the shadows were furled again and the terrible vision was removed. The Eye was not turned toward them: it was gazing north to were the Captains of the West stood at bay, and thither all it’s malice was now bent, as the power moved to strike its deadly blow; but Frodo at that dreadful glimpse fell as one stricken mortally”

From The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in the chapter ‘Mount Doom’



The History of the Dark Tower of Mordor

Much can be told about the History of Barad-dûr, for it stood as a symbol of Sauron’s malice toward Middle-earth and it’s fate was tied to that of the Dark Lord. Twice it loomed over the valley of terror in the land of Mordor and twice it was leveled by the forces of the West.

The Dark Tower of Mordor had two incarnations

The first building of Barad-dûr took place in the year 1000 of the Second Age. For 600 years the slaves of Mordor labored to build it and the Tower’s completion coincided with the forging of the One Ring in 1600 SA. The Tower was leveled at the end of the second age, yet it’s foundations remained in tact. As long as Sauron lived, the foundation of the Dark Tower could not be destroyed.

The second building of Barad-dûr took place in the Third Age of Middle-earth. In the year 2941 of the Third Age, after fleeing Dol Guldur, Sauron returned to Mordor as he had long planned and began and the rebuilding of the Dark Tower. This time it is completed in less then 60 years. With it’s vast foundations still in place and thousands of Uruks and Dark Men of the South at his disposal, the rebuilding took much less time. In addition there was no longer a need for secrecy, for Sauron had openly declared himself, when Mount Doom once more filled the skies with fire.

These two towers were likely very different in appearance and we here in Mordor will be discussing their appearance in more detail in future updates to this page as wee seek more knowledge in the Library of Shadow.

Atop the Dark Tower was fashioned a great seat of viewing, called the Well of the Eye!


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 Posted by at 1:34 pm