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Khazad-dûm, also known as the Dwarrowdelf, the Mines of Moria, or simply Moria, was an underground kingdom beneath the Misty Mountains. It was known for being the ancient realm of the Dwarves of Durin's Folk, and the most famed of all Dwarven realms.


First Age

The Dwarrowdelf was founded by Durin 'the Deathless' in the far distant past, long before the creation of the Sun and Moon in the Years of the Trees of the First Age. Durin had awakened at Mount Gundabad not long after the Elves first awoke, and as eldest among the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves was acknowledged as preeminent among them, a status subsequently inherited by his descendants, the Kings of the Longbeards.

From Mount Gundabad, Durin made his way south until according to legend, Durin ultimately found "a glen of shadows between two great arms of the mountains, above which three white peaks were shining".[2] Within this heavily wooded valley, a long series of short waterfalls led down to a long, oval lake, which appeared to have a magical quality: "There, like jewels sunk in the deep shone glinting stars, though sunlight was in the sky above".[2] Perceiving these stars as a crown glittering above his head, Durin took this as an auspicious sign, and named the lake Kheled-zâram, the Mirrormere.

The three peaks overshadowing the lake he named Barazinbar 'the Redhorn', Zirakzigil 'the Silvertine' and Bundushathûr, 'Cloudyhead'. The icy cold springs below the lake he called Kibil-nâla (the source of the Silverlode), and the valley itself he gave the name Azanulbizar, the Dimrill Dale. Durin chose the eastward-facing caves above Kheled-zâram as the earliest beginnings of his new stronghold.[3]

Moria, RD

A great hall of Khazad-dûm, imagined by Ralph Damiani

All of these places became revered amongst Durin's people in later days. His descendants erected a rune-carved stone monolith, Durin's Stone, on the site where he had first looked into the Mirrormere, and although it had become indecipherably weatherworn by the end of the Third Age—broken, cracked and faded—the influence of Durin I, the founding king of Khazad-dûm, was never forgotten.

The long reign of Khazad-dûm's first king was a golden age, remembered as Durin's Day (this name was also applied to the Dwarvish New Year). During that period Khazad-dûm grew continuously in size and population, until it became the "greatest of all the mansions of the Dwarves",[4] even before the return of the Ñoldor to Middle-earth. By that time, Khazad-dûm was already "a name and a rumour from the words of the Dwarves of the Blue Mountains"[4] to all the Eldar of Beleriand.

During the reign of Durin the Deathless some of the wonders of Dwarvish architecture were built in Khazad-dûm: Durin's Bridge, the Second Hall, the Endless Stair and Durin's Tower.

After his death, the reputation of Durin's realm continued to grow, not merely due to his spiritual ascendancy over the other Fathers of the Dwarves as their eldest, or to Dwarrowdelf's growing size, but to its great wealth founded upon the uniquely precious metal mithril, which was universally prized yet found nowhere else in Middle-earth.

Khazad-dûm played no part in the wars of Beleriand, and in fact gained a respite from Orc attacks throughout the First Age, "when Morgoth needed all his strength" elsewhere.[5]

Moria gate

Gates of Moria, and translation of the writing

The eventual death of Durin 'the Deathless' occurred before the end of the First Age. He was buried in a tomb in Khazad-dûm.

Second Age

Early in the Second Age, Khazad-dûm's realm of Longbeards was enriched in culture, skills, and population by large numbers of refugees from Belegost and Nogrod, cities ruined at the end of the First Age along with most of Beleriand in the cataclysmic final battle against Morgoth. The Dwarves of Belegost and Nogrod were not Longbeards, but Broadbeams and Firebeards. Whether they remained separate clans or groups within their new home, or became merged with the Longbeards, is not known.

With the foundation of the Ñoldorin realm of Eregion to the west of Khazad-dûm around SA 700,[6] friendly relations between the Longbeards and the Elves were firmly established.

This friendship also resulted in a massive westwards extension of the subterranean realm of Khazad-dûm. Its habitable parts remained in the eastward side, but passages were delved through miles of rock that terminated at a gigantic stone portal—the West Gate. This stood on the borders of Eregion. Celebrimbor, the Lord of Eregion, used ithildin lettering on this gate on behalf of its builder: his friend Narvi,[7] a great craftsman of Khazad-dûm. The inscription read, Im Narvi hain echant. Celebrimbor o Eregion teithant i thiw hin: "I, Narvi, made them. Celebrimbor of Eregion drew these signs."

The West Gate allowed the Elf lady Galadriel and her followers to pass eastwards through Khazad-dûm and settle in Lothlórien, downstream of Azanulbizar. Galadriel's presence enabled Silvan Elves to return to Lothlórien; they had earlier evacuated the area to escape Khazad-dûm's growing power.

Gandalf in Moria by Matěj Čadil

Gandalf illuminating the dark of Moria while leading the Fellowship, by Matěj Čadil

All of the Dwarrowdelf was originally illuminated by many "shining lamps of crystal",[3] although the halls of the highest level were also lit with windows and shafts carved through the mountain sides. These levels lay between flights of fifty or more stone steps, with seven hollowed out of the mountains above ground level, and many more subterranean levels—or 'Deeps'—beneath the Great Gates at the head of the Dimrill Dale. Every level comprised a multitude of arched passages, chambers and many pillared halls, often with "black walls, polished and smooth as glass".[3] Below the level of the Gates lay mines, treasuries and even dungeons,[3] although far below the lowest Deep of Khazad-dûm, lay primordial tunnels in perpetual darkness, gnawed by 'nameless things' that had lived there since the earliest beginnings of Arda. Few if any actually ever glimpsed these creatures, and no description of them is extant (with the possible exception of the Watcher in the Water, which Gandalf suggested may have come from these regions.)

One important feature of the Dwarrowdelf was the defensive structure known as Durin's Bridge, "a slender bridge of stone, without kerb or rail",[3] that spanned a fifty foot wide chasm of indeterminate depth, allowing enemy soldiers to cross it only in single file (one after another), not side by side. Another, steeped in legend, was the Endless Stair, which ascended "from the lowest dungeon to the highest peak",[3] where it terminated within Durin's Tower, carved from the solid rock at the tip of Zirakzigil.

In the War of the Elves and Sauron, Eregion was destroyed and the survivors, along with a relief army led by Elrond were in danger of being overtaken and destroyed. But Durin III sent an army of Dwarves which attacked the Morgul-host in the rear, allowing the Elves to escape. Following the battle the Dwarves retreated into their city and closed the gates. It is unclear if the Ring of Power possessed by the House of Durin was given to them by Sauron, as the Dwarves themselves held that it had been given by Celebrimbor himself directly to Durin III, although it had certainly been created by the Dark Lord.

Afterwards, Sauron harboured deep hatred for Khazad-dûm and ordered his Orcs to trouble Durin's folk at every turn, even though "the halls of Khazad-dûm were too deep and strong and filled with a people too numerous and valiant for Sauron to conquer from without".[3] Despite this, "its people began to dwindle"[5] from this time. In the reign of Durin IV, the Dwarves joined the Last Alliance of Elves and Men, fighting against Sauron in the Battle of Dagorlad and Siege of Barad-dûr.

Third Age

Balrog - FOTR

The Balrog, Durin's Bane

Throughout the early Third Age, the Dwarves of Khazad-dûm expanded their treasure, but their numbers continued to dwindle. The majority of their wealth was based on their hoards of mithril, which they mined in their deepest tunnels, and as the centuries went by the Dwarves delved ever deeper for the precious metal.

In TA 1980, they dug too deeply and greedily for mithril and to their loss they unearthed a nameless terror in the depths beneath the city. This dreadful creature wrought destruction throughout the city wiping out most of the Dwarves and slaying King Durin VI. Thereafter the creature was named Durin's Bane. The Dwarves tried to fight but the following year Durin's son Náin I was also slain, forcing the Dwarves to abandon their home for good. After the Dwarves had left, Khazad-dûm gathered dust and stood dark and empty, but for the sinister creature that lurked in the depths. This was when it was named Moria, the Black Pit.

Durin's grave

Chamber of Mazarbul, Balin's Tomb

The monster, later revealed as a Balrog of Morgoth, dwelled alone in Moria for nearly five centuries until it was populated once again, but not by Dwarves. The goblins, fleeing from the north, began to raid the abandoned city of its treasures and occupied it. They came upon the Balrog but established a sort of uneasy coexistence with it. Sauron started to send out troops of Orcs and Cave-trolls to populate Moria, making the abandoned city a stronghold for them to multiply. During the Battle of Azanulbizar, many of these Orcs were felled in the valley beneath the eastern gate of Moria in TA 2799, and the numbers were reduced dramatically. But the Balrog still remained and many Orcs and Trolls with him, and so Khazad-dûm remained a stronghold of evil.

The wizard Gandalf entered the city for the first time at some point between TA 2845 and TA 2850 searching for King Thráin II, who had recently disappeared on a journey to the Lonely Mountain. [[File:Fellowship in Moria, Giancola.jpg|left|thumb|402x402px|The Fellowship of the Ring passing deep within Moria, by Donato Giancola

Balin's expedition

In TA 2989, the Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain, descendants of the ancient Durin's Folk, attempted to reclaim and recolonize Khazad-dûm. The expedition was led by Balin son of Fundin, one of Thorin Oakenshield's Company of Dwarves who accompanied Bilbo Baggins on the Quest of Erebor. He led a group of Dwarves from Erebor to Moria, and successfully drove back the Orcs, taking many of the eastern halls and recovering priceless ancestral treasures such as Durin's Axe. However, the Balrog remained active, and the number of Orcs was too great compared to their small company, and all, including Balin, were slain by TA 2994.

Quest of the Ring

When the Fellowship of the Ring set out from Rivendell on the Quest of the Ring, they were forced to make their way through Moria after the failed attempt of climbing Caradhras (Redhorn) where they were pursued by Wargs. They entered through the West-gate, near a lake with dark waters, from which the Watcher emerged and attempted to kill Frodo Baggins. When inside, after escaping the Watcher, the Fellowship passed through many tunnels and great halls until finally reaching the Chamber of Mazarbul, where they found a book recounting the last accounts of Balin's expedition.[8] They were then taken by surprise as Orcs and Cave-trolls pursued them through Moria to the Bridge of Khazad-dûm, where the Balrog had risen from the depths, and stood before them. Gandalf bravely confronted the creature and, the two briefly dueled on the Bridge before falling together into the abyss below. The rest of the Fellowship safely fleed Moria, into the Dimrill Dale. Gandalf and the Balrog both survived their fall, landing in a swamp, before the wizard then pursued the monster up the Endless Stair, to the high peak of Celebdil, where a final battle took place. Gandalf slew the Balrog, before succumbing to his wounds from the fight.[9][[File:Balrog and Gandalf, Velhagen.png|left|thumb|275x275px|"Beneath Khazad-dûm", by Eric Velhagen]]

Fourth Age

Following their exile from Khazad-dûm, the Longbeard Dwarves always yearned for their homeland, even after more than a thousand years had passed; Azanulbizar became "the deep-shadowed valley which we cannot forget", just as they felt compelled to continue incorporating "the image of those mountains into many works of metal and stone, and into many songs and tales. They stand tall in our dreams."[citation needed]

With the destruction of the Balrog, the way was at last clear for the Longbeards to reclaim Khazad-dûm, and a few centuries into the Fourth Age, Durin VII, a descendant of Thorin III Stonehelm, led his people back to their ancient homeland, retrieving what they could of Khazad-dûm's once-mighty riches and restoring the realm.


Moria meant "black chasm"' in Sindarin. Khazad-dûm meant "Delving of the Dwarves" in Dwarvish.

Other names

  • Dwarrowdelf (Westron translation of Khazad-dûm)
  • Hadhodrond (Sindarin translation of Khazad-dûm)
  • Halls of Durin
  • Mines of Moria
  • Phurunargian

In adaptations

Durin's door

Doors of Durin as seen in Peter Jackson's films


Moria is depicted in both Ralph Bakshi's 1978 animated film The Lord of the Rings, and in the 2001 live-action film The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Its depths are seen in Frodo's dream at the very start of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, as Gandalf fights the Balrog while falling.

Moria appears again briefly in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, in a flashback to the Battle of Azanulbizar, in which Azog kills Thrór, only then to be defeated (though not killed) by Thorin Oakenshield.

Video games

Moria is depicted in the video games The Lord of the Rings: Conquest, The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth (Good campaign only), The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring game, The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age, The Lord of the Rings Online, The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest, and The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

Khazad-dûm is seen at the pinnacle of its might in Amazon Studios' The Rings of Power as a flourishing civilization. At Celebrimbor's behest, Elrond travels there in an attempt to establish a strong relationship between Dwarves and Elves.[10]



Foreign Language Translated name
Arabic موريا
Amharic ሞሪኣ
Armenian Մորիա (Moria)

Խազադ-դում (Khazad-dûm)

Belarusian Cyrillic Морыя (Moria)

Казад-дум (Khazad-dûm)

Bengali খাজাদ-দুম (Khazad-dûm)

মোরিয়া (Moria)

Bosnian Morija
Bulgarian Cyrillic Мория (Moria)

Хазад-дум (Khazad-dûm)

Catalan Mòria
Chinese (Hong Kong) 摩瑞亞 (Moria)

凱薩督姆 (Khazad-dûm)

Georgian მორია (Moria)

კჰაზად-დუმ (Khazad-dûm)

Greek Μορια (Moria)

Κάζαντ-Ντουμ (Khazad-dûm)

Gujarati મોરિઅ
Hebrew מוריה (Moria)

קְהָזָד דוּם (Khazad-dûm)

Hindi मोरिअ
Hungarian Mória
Japanese モリア (Moria)

カザド=ドゥーム (Khazad-dûm)

Kannada ಮೋರಿಯಾ
Kazakh Моріа (Cyrillic) Moria (Latin)
Korean 모리아 (Moria)

카잣둠 (Khazad-dûm)

Kyrgyz Cyrillic Мориа
Laotian ມໂrິະ
Latin Moriae
Macedonian Cyrillic Мориа
Marathi मोरिअ
Mongolian Cyrillic Мориа
Nepalese मोरिअ
Pashto موریا
Persian موریا (Moria)

خازاد-دوم (Khazad-dûm)

Punjabi ਮੋਰਿਅ
Russian Мория
Sanskrit मोरिअ
Serbian Морија (Cyrillic) Moria (Latin)

Казад-дум (Cyrillic) Kazad-dum (Latin)

Sindhi مورڳا ?
Thai มอเรีย (Moria)

คาซัด-ดูม (Khazad-dûm)

Sinhalese මොරියා
Tajik Cyrillic Мориа
Tamil மோரியா
Telugu మొరిఅ
Ukrainian Cyrillic Морія (Moria)

Казад-дум (Khazad-dûm)

Urdu موریا
Uzbek Мория (Cyrillic) Moriya (Latin)
Yiddish מאָריאַ (Moria)

כאַזאַד-דאַם (Khazad-dûm)

Dwarven realms of Middle-earth throughout the Ages
Years of the Trees and First Age Amon Rûdh | Belegost | Khazad-dûm | Mount Gundabad | Nogrod | Narukuthûn | 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 | Iron Hills