Khazad-dûm ~ The Founding of Khazad-dûm ~ The Fall of Durin’s Realm into Moria ~ Map of Moria


The Founding of Khazad-dûm

“No words were lain on stream or stone, when Durin woke and walked alone.”



This page written and edited by our Dark Historian Grievous 

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The origins of the Black Pit of Moria lies in the depths of the history of Middle-Earth. In the Elder Days Durin awoke alone at Mount Gundabad, and journeyed south along the Misty Mountains, naming the mountains, the hills, and the streams in his language of Khuzdul.

He came to the Dimrill Dale, and named the vide valley Azanulbizar. In the Dale he saw the Mirrormere, and he named it Kheled-zâram. He looked up and saw three great mountains rise up around him, and he named them Zirakzigil, Barazinbar, and Bundushathûr. In Sindarin, they are Celebdil, Caradhras, and Fanuidhol.


“He stooped and looked in Mirrormere, and saw a crown of stars appear.”


He looked into the depths of Mirrormere, and had a vision of a crown of stars above his head. Durin took it as a good omen, and soon discovered great caverns in the side of Mount Celebdil. There he founded the great dwarf-realm of Khazad-dûm, of which many songs were sung.


“A king he was on carven throne, in many-pillared halls of stone
With golden roof and silver floor, and runes of power upon the door.
The light of sun and star and moon, in shining lamps of crystal hewn
Undimmed by cloud or shade of night, there shone for ever fair and bright.”


Durin, with many of his folk, made the eastern side of Khazad-dûm in those days. The Great Gates were strong with a net of defenses behind, and inside the mountain were Seven Levels and Seven Deeps. The First, Second, and Third Deeps were made first, and contained thirteen of the greater Halls. The Levels were made next, which contained halls Fourteen through Twenty-One. The lower deeps are recorded to have nine more halls, making a total of thirty halls. On the Seventh Deep were many treasuries and service-halls for the deep Mines of Moria. Midway across the mountain were more mines, wells, guard-rooms, and tunnels, made around a great meeting of three ways, Durin’s Crossroads. The middle road went to the Market Hall on the Second Deep, the right road went to the Twenty-First Hall on the Seventh Level, and the left road went to the Endless Stair. This stair stretched from the lower dungeons and foundations of stone to Durin’s Tower on the peak of Celebdil. There in the dark mines they discovered mithril, true-silver, a rare material only found in the depths of the Misty Mountains. Durin and his folk became rich and powerful.


“There hammer on the anvil smote, there chisel clove, and graver wrote;
There forged was blade, and bound was hilt; the delver mined, the mason built.
There beryl, pearl, and opal pale, and metal wrought like fishes’ mail,
Buckler and corslet, axe and sword, and shining spears were laid in hoard.”


Durin lived so long he became known as the Deathless; yet in the end even he passed away. He was laid to rest in the Hall of the Kings, and his line continued. The smith-work of the dwarves of Khazad-dûm became unrivaled in the world. Refugees from the ruined cities of Nogrod and Belegost swelled Khazad-dûm’s ranks, and by the start of the Second Age the city stretched halfway across the mountains, from the mines and roads near Durin’s Crossroads to the Great Gates to the Endless Stair and Durin’s Tower. On occasion a king was born so alike to his ancestor that he was named Durin, and believed to be a reincarnation of the king of old. The dwarves spread, and built a city in Mount Gundabad as well.

In the beginning of the reign of Durin III, the dwarves broke through the west side of Celebdil. They built the Doors of Durin for trade with the elves of Eregion, and Durin became great friends with Celebrimbor of Ost-in-Edhil. Great mines, forges, and city sections sprung up behind the West-gate. Durin was given the greatest of the Seven Rings, one of which was given to each dwarf-lord. But in the end this friendship only caused more trouble for the dwarves. For in the War of the Elves and Sauron, the realm of Eregion was destroyed. Celebrimbor was captured, tortured, and killed. Durin sent an army of dwarves from the western side of the city to fight, but they were slain, and retreated into the city. The Gates of Khazad-dûm were shut against Sauron, secluding the kingdom from the outside world.


After the War, the dwarves became occupied in a war of their own, for Sauron ordered that Orcs should attack the dwarves wherever they would be found. In this way Mount Gundabad was lost, and the dwarves retreated south of the Gladden Pass. The dwarves of Khazad-dûm then faded out of the history of the world, excepting the War of the Last Alliance, when the Great Gates opened again, and King Durin IV led a great army of dwarf warriors to Dagorlad. Before the gates of Barad-dûr they fought, and with his great warhammer Durin is said to have defeated one of the Nazgûl. But he was mortally wounded in the process, and the remains of his armies returned home with him after the victory over Sauron. He died soon after, and the Gates were shut again.

For nearly two thousand years afterward, the dwarves lived on under the mountains. The mines stretched ever northwards, and under Caradhras they delved deeper and deeper into the mountain.


“The dwarves tell no tale;
but even as mithril was the foundation of their wealth, so also it was their destruction: they delved too greedily and too deep,
and awoke that from which they fled, Durin’s Bane.”


Under Caradhras, in the year 1980 of the Third Age, during the reign of Durin VI, the miners accidentally unearthed a Balrog of Morgoth, a fire-demon of the ancient world. It captured the mines and halls under Caradhras, and Durin it slew. As such the dwarves named it Durin’s Bane. The Balrog attacked the dwarves for a year, and after killing King Nain I in a great battle in the Second Hall, the dwarves fled. Darkness fell over Khazad-dûm, and Durin’s Bane became the lord of the now forsaken halls.


“No harp is wrung, no hammer falls: the Darkness dwells in Durin’s halls;
the Shadow lies upon his tomb in Moria, in Khazad-dûm.”



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 Posted by at 8:18 am