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"Then at last his gaze was held: wall upon wall, battlement upon battlement, black tower of adamant, he saw it: Barad-dûr, Fortress of Sauron. All hope left him."
The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Breaking of the Fellowship"

Barad-dûr ("Dark Fortress") was Sauron's central stronghold in Mordor, serving as his seat of power in Middle-earth in the Second Age and late Third Age.


Barad-dûr was sustained by dark magic and was the greatest fortress in Middle-earth of its time. It was originally built in the Second Age, and leveled after Sauron's defeat in the War of the Last Alliance. Sauron had Barad-dûr rebuilt late in the Third Age as he regained his power, but the tower was forever destroyed immediately upon the destruction of the One Ring.


Ted Nasmith's rendition of Barad-dûr

In his writings, J.R.R. Tolkien describes little of the tower besides its terror, color, and surreal size.


Barad-dûr was built by Sauron in the land of Mordor, not far from the volcano known as Mount Doom. The construction of the tower began around the SA 1000, and took six hundred years to complete. It was the greatest fortress built since the fall of Angband during the War of Wrath.[4]

Barad-dûr was besieged for seven years by the Last Alliance of Elves and Men during the Second Age, and was leveled after Sauron's defeat at the hands of Isildur. But because it was created using the power of the One Ring, its foundations could not be destroyed while the Ring itself still existed.[5] As Isildur failed to destroy the Ring, the tower was eventually re-built when Sauron returned to Mordor thousands of years later in TA 2942.[6]

Some time near the end of the Third Age (TA 3009-TA 3017), Gollum was captured by Orcs and taken to Barad-dûr, while Gandalf and Aragorn were also searching for him. He was brutally tortured for information regarding the whereabouts of the One Ring, as Sauron had learned that he had once possessed it, and thus Sauron learned that the One Ring had been found. Then, after a very long time, they managed to wring the words Shire and Baggins from Gollum. Satisfied that he had learned all he could from the creature, and hoping to learn more by tracking him, Sauron released Gollum in TA 3017.

Barad-dûr, Darrell Sweet

Barad-dûr glimpsed from the slopes of Mount Doom, as imagined by Darrell Sweet


A drawing of Barad-dûr by J.R.R. Tolkien

Only when Frodo Baggins, with the unwitting aid of Gollum, destroyed the One Ring within Mount Doom, was Barad-dûr finally and permanently destroyed. Without Sauron's power from the Ring to sustain it, it could not stand. In the same moments as the finish of the Battle of the Black Gate, Barad-dûr collapsed into ruin, never to be rebuilt.[7]


Barad-dûr means "Dark tower" in Sindarin, from barad ("fortress, tower") and dûr ("dark").[8]

In Black Speech, Lugbúrz also means "Dark tower".

In adaptations

The Return of the King (1980)


Barad-dûr as depicted in the 1980 film

In The Return of the King film created by Rankin/Bass and Topcraft, Barad-dûr is only shown a few times. It is depicted as a castle-like fortress on the side of a mountain. The Eye of Sauron is not a part of the tower; rather it appears in the skies of Mordor.

The Lord of the Rings film trilogy

Rebuilding of Barad-dur

The reconstruction of Barad-dûr, after its destruction by Last Alliance of Elves and Men

For The Lord of the Rings films (2001 - 2003) directed by Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor and his design team built a 27-foot-tall "bigature" of Barad-dûr for use, at 1:66 scale, basing its appearance on an illustration by John Howe done originally for Tolkien Calendar 1991.[9][10] Using the size scale for the model, the tower is shown to be around 5,000 feet tall, with the Eye of Sauron at its apex. Barad-dûr's entirety is seen in an upward-panning vision Frodo has in the first film, at Amen Hen.

In the final battle in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, at the Black Gate, the Dark Tower is shown to be in much closer proximity than it would have been according to Tolkien's maps. The animation of the tower's climactic destruction, when the One Ring has been destroyed, was rendered by Gray Horsfield.[11]

"The Dark Tower is beyond architecture. As the physical envelope of Sauron in Middle-earth, it can obey laws beyond the strictly architectural. I see it very much as an extension of his soul. If [Sauron's] mind could take shape, then it would be a hideously tall tower such as this."
John Howe in The Art of The Return of the King, pg. 199

Middle-earth: Shadow of War

Barad-dur under construction

Barad-dûr as seen in Middle-earth: Shadow of War

Barad-dûr is visible, though not a playable location, in the region of Gorgoroth in Middle-earth: Shadow of War. It is depicted similarly to its appearance in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, though uncompleted and under construction.



Foreign Language Translated name
Amharic ባራድ፡ዱር
Arabic باراد-دور
Armenian Բարադ-դուր
Belarusian Cyrillic Барад-дур
Bengali বারাদ্-দুর
Bulgarian Cyrillic Барад-дур
Catalan Bàrad-dûr
Chinese (Hong Kong) 巴拉多
Danish Det Sorte Tårn (Barad-dûr)
Georgian ბარად-დური
Greek Μπαράντ-Ντούρ
Gujarati બરદ્-દુર
Hebrew באראד-דור
Hindi बाराद-दूर
Japanese バラド=ドゥーア
Kazakh Барад-дұр (Cyrillic) Barad-dur (Latin)
Korean 바랏두르 (Hangul) Baradureu (Latin)
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Барад-дур
Macedonian Cyrillic Барад-дур
Marathi बारादा-दुर
Mongolian Cyrillic Барад-дур
Nepalese बाराद-दूर
Norwegian Mørketårnet (Barad-dûr)
Pashto باراد-دور ?
Persian باراد-دور
Portuguese Torre Negra
Russian Барад-Дур
Sanskrit बरद्-द्ûर्
Serbian Барад-дур (Cyrillic) Barad-dur (Latin)
Sinhalese බරාඩ්-ඩර්
Tajik Cyrillic Барад-дур
Tamil பாரட்-கதவு
Telugu బరద్-దుర
Thai บารัดดูร์
Ukrainian Cyrillic Барад-Дур
Urdu بارادءدور
Uzbek Барад-дур (Cyrillic) Barad-dur (Latin)
Yiddish וואַראַד-סופּ
Places of Middle-earth and Arda

Middle-earth Locations:


Arnor | Dunland | Ettenmoors | Forochel | Forodwaith | Gondor | Harad | Ithilien | Khand | Lindon | Minhiriath | Mordor | Rhovanion | Rhûn | Rivendell | Rohan | The Shire

Forests & Mountains:

Amon Dîn | Amon Hen | Amon Lhaw | Caradhras | Emyn Muil | Erebor | Fangorn Forest | High Pass | Iron Hills | Lórien | Mirkwood | Mount Doom | Mount Gundabad | Old Forest | Orod-na-Thôn | Tower Hills | Weathertop Hill


Angband | Barad-dûr | Bree | Caras Galadhon | Dol Guldur | Fornost Erain | Hornburg | Isengard | Minas Morgul | Minas Tirith | Last Homely House | Tower of Amon Sûl | Tower of Orthanc | Osgiliath | Umbar | Utumno


Argonath | Astulat | Buckland | Cair Andros | Dagorlad | Dead Marshes | Enedwaith | Fords of Isen | Gap of Rohan | Grey Havens

The rest of Arda:

Aman | Burnt Land of the Sun | Dark Land | Empty Lands | Neldoreth | New lands | Númenor | Tol Eressëa


  1. The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B: The Tale of Years (Chronology of the Westlands), "The Second Age"
  2. The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, Book Six, Chapter I: "The Tower of Cirith Ungol"
  3. The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B: The Tale of Years (Chronology of the Westlands), "The Great Years"
  4. The Silmarillion, Akallabêth (The Downfall of Númenor)
  5. The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age
  6. The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A: Annals of the Kings and Rulers, I: The Númenórean Kings, (iv): "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion"
  7. The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, Book Six, Chapter III: "Mount Doom"
  8. Parma Eldalamberon, Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  9. (The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, Extended Edition appendices) Part Four: The Battle for Middle-earth Begins, Visual Effects, Big-atures, 5:10
  10. Gary Russell, The Art of The Two Towers, pg. 10
  11. (The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, Extended Edition appendices) Part Six: The Passing of an Age, Visual Effects, Wētā Digital