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"Immeasurable halls, filled with an everlasting music of water that tinkles into pools, as fair as Kheled-zâram in the starlight"
The Two Towers, Book Three, Chapter VIII: "The Road to Isengard"

The Glittering Caves, also known as Aglarond, was the cave system located behind the Deeping Wall of Helm's Deep.


The Glittering Caves was an immense, beautiful, and ore-laden cave system that extended deep down into the White Mountains for many miles and consisted of many different paths, tunnels, and chambers. A small stream ran down through The Narrows of Helm's Deep and into the caves and was its source of water.


Before the War of the Ring

The Hornburg was one of the two fortresses built by Númenóreans to guard the Fords of Isen, Angrenost (later Isengard) being the other.[1] Like Angrenost to the north it was initially well - guarded, but as the population of Calenardhon (the later Rohan) dwindled it was increasingly less supplied and deemed unimportant, until it was only ruled by a hereditary small guard who intermarried much with Dunlendings. The caves themselves remained mostly unexplored.

When Cirion, Steward of Gondor, gave Calenardhon to the Éothéod, the Glittering Caves were transferred to the Rohirrim who used them for refuge during war, strife, and the storage of provisions, but guard duty of the Fords was initially shared between Gondor and Rohan. The fortress then underwent repair with help from the masons of Gondor. The original garrison was merged with that of Angrenost to the north, which remained in the keeping of Gondor.

During the reign of Helm Hammerhand, the Dunlendings attacked from Isengard and across the river Isen conquering parts of Rohan. Edoras was overran and sacked, and King Helm was forced to take refuge with many of his people in the fortress and caves where they remained during the Long Winter of TA 2758 and TA 2759.[2] Because Helm always blew a great horn before riding out to fight the beleaguering Dunlendings, the keep was renamed the Hornburg.

War of the Ring and afterwards

A view of the Hornburg as painted by Alan Lee, shown during Gandalf's escape from Orthanc

During the War of the Ring, the Hornburg was the refuge of the Rohirrim during the Battle of the Hornburg after being driven back by the Host of Saruman.[3] After the war, Gimli the Dwarf, who had fought mightily in that battle, was allowed to settle a colony of Durin's folk there, leading a host of Dwarves from the Lonely Mountain and became the first Lord of the Glittering Caves. From this stronghold, Gimli forged a new gate for Minas Tirith made of Mithril and Steel. Gimli and Legolas made a pact of friendship, that when the wars of their age ended, that Gimli should walk in the deep woods of Fangorn and that Legolas should behold the jeweled splendour of the Glittering Caves. The Dwarves of the Glittering Caves restored and strengthened the Hornburg following the War of the Ring.


In Sindarin, it is called Aglarond, which means "Caves of Glory" or "Caves of Light". It comes from the words aglar ("glory, light") and rond ("cave").[4][5] It is called Glæmscrafu, the "Caves of Radiance", in Rohirric, which in actuality was an Anglo-Saxon word.[6]

Behind the scenes

The Glittering Caves is one of the very few locations in Tolkien's work that can be associated with a real place. They were inspired by the caves of Cheddar Gorge, in the southern English county of Somerset.[7]


Foreign Language Translated name
Afrikaans Glinsterende grottes
Albanian Stoli Shpella
Amharic የሚያብረቀርቁ ዋሻዎች
Arabic الكهوف المُتلألئة (Al-kohof Al-motala'le'aa)
Basque Kobazulo distiratsuak
Belarusian Cyrillic зіготкія Пячоры
Bengali গুহা চমকপ্রদ
Bulgarian Cyrillic блестящото Пещери
Cambodian ត្រចះត្រចង់គុហា
Catalan Brillant Coves
Cebuano Nagasiga-siga nga mga Langob
Chinese 闪闪发光的洞穴 (Glittering Caves)

愛加拉隆 (Aglarond)

Croatian Blještave Pećine
Czech Třpytivé jeskyně
Danish De Glitrende Huler
Dutch Glitterende Grotten
Esperanto Brilantaj Kavernoj
Estonian Sädelev koopad
Filipino Kumikinang na Kuweba
Finnish Kimaltelevat Luolat
French Cavernes Étincelantes
Frisian Fonkeljend Grotten
Galician Cintilantes Covas
Georgian ბრჭყვიალა გამოქვაბულები
German Glitzernde Höhlen
Greek λαμπερή Σπήλαια
Hebrew מערות נוצצות
Hindi शानदार गुफाएं
Hungarian Csillogó Barlangok
Icelandic Blikandi Hellar
Indonesian Berkilauan Gua-gua
Italian Caverne Scintillanti
Japanese きらびやかな洞窟
Javanese Sumringah guwa-guwa
Kannada ಗುಹೆಗಳು ಹೊಳೆಯುವ
Kazakh Жылтыр үңгірлер (Cyrillic) Jıltır üñgirler (Latin)
Korean 빛나는 동굴
Kurdish Xweş şikeftan (Kurmanji)
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Жаркылдаган тешик
Latvian Mirdzošs alas
Lithuanian Spindintys urvai
Macedonian Cyrillic блескавата Пештери
Malaysian Berkilauan Gua-gua
Marathi लेणी भव्य
Mongolian Cyrillic Гялалзсан агуй
Nepalese चम्किरहेको गुफाहरू
Norwegian Glitrende Huler
Persian غارهای درخشنده
Polish Błyszczące jaskinie
Portuguese Cavernas Cintilantes (Brazil)
Punjabi ਕੇਵਸ ਸ਼ਾਨਦਾਰ
Romanian Cetatea Cornului
Russian Блестящие пещеры
Serbian Блиставе Пећине (Cyrillic) Blistave Pećine (Latin)
Sesotho Phatsimang Mahaheng
Sindhi چمڪندڙ غار ?
Sinhalese දිලිසෙන ලෙන් විහාර
Slovak Trblietavé jaskyne
Slovenian Bleščeče jame
Somalian Quruxdiisa Boholaha
Spanish Cuevas Brillantes
Swedish Glittrande Grottor
Tajik Cyrillic дурахшанда мағораҳо
Tamil குகைகள் ஒளிவிடும்
Telugu మెరిసే గుహలు
Thai ถ้ำระยิบระยับ
Turkish Parlak Mağaralar
Ukrainian Cyrillic блискучі Печери
Urdu گفاوں شاندار
Vietnamese Những hang động lấp lánh
Welsh Ogofâu sgleiniog
Yiddish גליטערינג קאַוועס
Dwarven Realms of Middle-earth throughout the Ages
Years of the Trees Amon Rûdh | Belegost | Khazad-dûm | Mount Gundabad | Nogrod | Nulukkizdîn | Blue Mountains
First Age Amon Rûdh | Belegost | Khazad-dûm | Mount Gundabad | Nogrod | Nulukkizdîn | Iron Hills | Blue Mountains
Second Age Khazad-dûm | Belegost | Nogrod | Mount Gundabad | Blue Mountains | Iron Hills
Third Age Grey Mountains | Iron Hills | Khazad-dûm | Lonely Mountain | Blue Mountains | Dunland
Fourth Age Glittering Caves | Khazad-dûm | Lonely Mountain | Blue Mountains | Grey Mountains | Iron Hills


  1. The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age
  2. The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B: The Tale of Years (Chronology of the Westlands), "The Third Age"
  3. The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, Book Three, Chapter VII: "Helm's Deep"
  4. Parma Eldalamberon, Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  5. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 5: The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Three: "The Etymologies"
  6. Unfinished Tales, Part Three: The Third Age, V: "The Battles of the Fords of Isen" Notes
  7. The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 321