Lake-town, or Esgaroth (known fully as "Esgaroth upon the Long Lake"), was a small settlement of Men in the north-western part of the Long Lake in Rhovanion. The town was constructed entirely of wood and stands upon wooden pillars sunk into the bed of the Long Lake, south of the Lonely Mountain and east of Mirkwood. It seems that the town's prosperity was built on trade between the Men, Elves, and Dwarves of northern Middle-earth.[1]

It was also known as the final resting place of the Dragon Smaug, whose bones ended up at the bottom of the lake, and by whom it was destroyed.[1]


Lake-town may have been separate settlements established on the same site, one predating Smaug's destruction of Dale and the Lonely Mountain in TA 2770[2] and the other built afterwards. Uniquely, of all of the towns, settlements, fortresses, and cities of Middle-earth, Lake-town utilized water as its defense. The Long Lake was also surrounded by towering cliffs and high mountains, all helpful natural barriers that had the potential to aid its defenders in a siege (such as the Easterling invasion of the North in TA 3018). While these defenses slowed and diverted Lake-town's human enemies, it did nothing to prepare its inhabitants against Smaug. The villagers would be harassed on a regular basis by Smaug. Smaug would steal an occasional maiden or just burn down their homes.

Lake-town was founded sometime during the Third Age and its inhabitants traded extensively with the Elves of Thranduil's Woodland Realm, the Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain and Iron Hills, and their kin in Dale and Dorwinion to the south. In trading with Mirkwood, wine barrels were sent floating down from Thranduil's caverns (the Wood-elves were copious wine-drinkers, as found in The Hobbit) along the Celduin to Lake-town. These barrels were quite large, for they could fit a Hobbit or Dwarf (even the extremely fat Bombur).

Lake town

A sketch of the city of Lake-town

ESGAROTH location map in middle earth

The location of Lake-town on a map of Middle-earth

This town is where Bilbo and the Dwarves travelled in their adventure to reclaim the Lonely Mountain. In the year TA 2941 of the Third Age the town was attacked by the dragon, but Bard the Bowman, who had indirectly learned of a weakness in Smaug's armor that had first been noticed by Bilbo, slew the dragon. Livid with fury, Smaug had winged his way to the town at night and promptly began to immolate its structures. Some inhabitants got away safely on boats, while many perished in the maelstrom of fire. A brave company of spearmen and archers attempted in vain to shoot down the dragon. It wasn't until Bard managed to kill Smaug that the destruction ended. Afterwards, Lake-town was rebuilt using some of the treasure that Smaug had stolen, though the town's Master ran off with some of the Gold. Part of the town's population followed Bard to resettle the Kingdom of Dale.[4]

Smaug destroys Lake-town

As trading people, the Men of Lake-town knew the Common Speech, Westron. However, amongst themselves they spoke an ancient form of it, which was loosely related to but distinct from the also ancient language of the Rohirrim. Tolkien "translated" Westron into English in his text, so to represent its ancient relative that the Rohirrim spoke he substituted Old English. Thus, Tolkien substituted Old Norse for the language of the Men of Esgaroth (in person and place names, etc.).

After Lake-town's near destruction by Smaug, its inhabitants rebuilt it with more splendor and grandeur, expanding it further down the lake.

Portrayal in adaptations

The Hobbit film trilogy

In Peter Jackson's The Hobbit movie trilogy, the clear Eastern design and culture of Lake-town and its inhabitants (including, the military and political leaders) are primarily derived from medieval Russian influences - i.e., the early Rus' states of Kievan Rus' and its successors. Indeed, Lake-town is reminiscent of the old northern Rus' trading city of Novgorod - itself, like Lake-town, also situated on a lake.

Also, as presented in the movies, per the complex nature of Russian ethno-cultural history, Lake-town itself and its people are also infused with Finnic, Baltic, and Turkic influences. In the movies, Peter Jackson clearly defines the culture of Lake-town and Dale as a part of the East.


Art hobbit-laketown-05
Art hobbit-laketown-07
Art hobbit-laketown-06
Art hobbit-laketown-04
Concept Art
Lake-Town TORn
The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug Concept Art of Lake-town.
Ss hobbit-laketown-01
Smaug in Lake town
Smaug in Lake-town
Lake town after Smaug attack
Lake Town Burning


Foreign Language Translated name
Afrikaans Meer-dorp
Albanian Liqeni-qytet
Amharic ሐይቅ-ከተማ
Arabic بحيرة بلدة (Lake-town)

إسغاروث (Esgaroth)

Armenian Լիճ-քաղաք
Azerbaijani Göl-şəhər
Basque Aintzira-herri
Belarusian Cyrillic Азёрны горад (Lake-town)

Эсгарот (Esgaroth)

Bengali লেক শহরে
Bhojpuri झील कस्बा
Bosnian Jezero-grad
Bulgarian Cyrillic Град на езерото
Burmese ရေကန် မြို့
Cambodian ទីក្រុងបឹង
Catalan Ciutat del Llac (Lake-town)


Cebuano Lungsod sa lanaw
Chinese (Hong Kong) 長湖鎮
Croatian Jezergrad
Czech Jezero-město
Danish Søenby
Dutch Meerstad
Esperanto Lago-urbo
Estonian Järve linn
Filipino Lawa bayan
Finnish Järvikaupunki
French Bourg-du-Lac / Lacville
Galician Cidade do lago
Georgian ტბა ქალაქი (Lake-town)

ესგაროთი (Esgaroth)

German Seestadt
Greek Λίμνη-πόλη
Gujarati તળાવ-નગર
Haitian Creole Lak-bouk
Hausa Tafki-garin
Hebrew עיר האגם (Lake-town)

אסגארות (Esgaroth)

Hindi झील शहर
Hungarian Tóváros
Icelandic Vatnabænum
Indonesian Danau kotamadya
Irish Gaelic Loch-baile
Italian Pontelagolungo / Città del Lago
Japanese レイクタウン
Kannada ಸರೋವರ ಪಟ್ಟಣ
Kazakh Көл-қала (Cyrillic) Köl-qala (Latin)
Korean 호수 마을
Kurdish Gol bajar (Kurmanji Kurdish)
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Көл шаар
Latin lacus oppidum
Latvian Ezers-pilsēta
Lithuanian Ežeras-miestas
Luxembourgish Séi-stad
Macedonian Cyrillic Езеро-град
Malagasy Farihy tanàna
Malaysian Tasik bandar
Manx Logh Balley
Marathi लेक-टाउन
Mongolian Cyrillic Нуур-хот
Nepalese ताल-शहर
Norwegian Langsjøby
Occitan Estanh ciutat
Pashto د جهيل ښار
Persian شهر دریاچه
Polish Miastem Na Jeziorze
Portuguese (Brazil) Cidade do Lago
Punjabi ਝੀਲ ਦਾ ਸ਼ਹਿਰ
Romanian Lacului Orașul
Romansh Lai Citad
Russian Озёрный город (Lake-town)

Эсгарот (Esgaroth)

Serbian Град језера (Cyrillic) Grad jezera (Latin)
Scots Loch Toun
Scottish Gaelic Loch a 'bhaile
Shona Nyanza-taundi
Sindhi ڍنڍ جو ڳوٺ
Sinhalese ලේක් නගරය
Slovak Jazero-mesto
Slovenian Jezero-mesto
Somalian Harada magaalada
Spanish (Spain and Latin America) Ciudad del Lago
Sundanese Situ kota
Swahili Ziwa mji
Swedish Sjöstaden
Tajik Cyrillic шаҳраки кӯл
Tamil ஏரி-நகரம்
Tatar Күл шәһәр
Telugu లేక్ పట్టణం
Thai เมืองริมทะเลสาบ
Turkish Göl Kasabası
Turkmen Kol Şäher
Ukrainian Cyrillic Озеро-місто
Urdu جھیل قصبہ
Uzbek Кўл шаҳар (Cyrillic) Ko'l shahar (Latin)
Vietnamese Thị trấn hồ
Waray Danaw Bungtó
Welsh Llyn-dref
Xhosa Echibi idolophu
Yiddish אָזערע שטאָט
Yoruba Adágún ilu
Zulu Ichibi idolobha


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Atlas of Middle-earth, The Hobbit, "Lake-town"
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B: The Tale of Years (Chronology of the Westlands), "The Third Age"
  3. The Atlas of Middle-earth, Thematic Maps, "Languages"
  4. The Hobbit
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