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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 the Dark Lord Sauron's primary stronghold in Mordor, serving as his base of operations in Middle-earth during the Second Age and late Third Age.


Barad-dûr was held together 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.

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


The Gates of Barad-dûr, and rivers of molten rock from Mount Doom

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 and taken to Barad-dûr, while Gandalf and Aragorn were also searching for him. He was 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. Satisfied that he had learned all he could from the creature, Sauron allowed Gollum to be released in TA 3017.

The eye of Sauron upon Barad-dûr

Only when Frodo Baggins (with the unwitting aid of Gollum) destroyed the One Ring, the Tower was finally brought down. Without Sauron's power from the Ring to sustain it, it could not stand. The moment the One Ring was thrown into the fires of Mount Doom and was unmade, 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".

Portrayal 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

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

For The Lord of the Rings films by Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor and his design team built a 25-foot high "bigature" of Barad-dûr for use in the film. 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, when he is at Amon 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.

Middle-earth: Shadow of War

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 | 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 | Tower Hills | Weathertop


Angband | Barad-dûr | Bree | Caras Galadhon | Dol Guldur | Fornost | Hornburg | Isengard | Minas Morgul | Minas Tirith | Orthanc | Osgiliath | Rivendell | Umbar | Utumno


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

The rest of Arda:

Aman | Dark Land | Land of the Sun | Númenor | Tol Eressëa | Valinor


  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