- "A long-tilted valley, a deep gulf of shadow, ran back far into the mountains. Upon the further side, some way within the valley's arms, high on a rocky seat upon Ephel Dúath, stood the walls and towers of Minas Morgul. All was dark about it, earth and sky, but it was lit with light. Not the imprisoned moonlight welling through the marble walls of Minas Ithil long ago, fair and radiant in the hollow of the hills. Paler indeed than the moon ailing in some slow eclipse was the light of it now, wavering and blowing like a noisome exhalation of decay, a corpse-light, a light that illuminated nothing."
- —The Two Towers, "The Stairs of Cirith Ungol"
Minas Morgul was a city/fortress of Gondor, originally called Minas Ithil. As the easternmost fortification in the kingdom of Gondor, Minas Ithil safeguarded the eastern borders of the Kingdom of Gondor and protected the capital Osgiliath from the forces of Mordor during the early part of the Third Age. As Gondor's armies weakened, it was then taken by the forces of Mordor, and used as a base to attack Gondor and in the process, decayed into the dark and demonic fortress that gave the city its new name.
Minas Morgul was located in an upland valley at the feet of the Mountains of Shadow. It overlooked the region of Ithilien and controlled the only easily accessible pass through the mountains that led into Mordor, the pass of Cirith Ungol.
Minas Ithil Edit
In its heyday, Minas Ithil was described as a beautiful sight, with moonlight filling its inner courts with silver light and causing its walls to gleam silver and white. It was a walled city of white marble built on a high shelf of rock. Within the walls, there were white houses and a tall tower. The walls and the tower had many windows, and the top of the tower revolved slowly back and forth. A road ran from Osgiliath on the Anduin through Ithilien to the city and crossed the Mountains of Shadow into Mordor via the pass.
In SA 3428, Sauron sent a huge army to Minas Ithil and after about a year of siege, it was captured and the White Tree was burned (Anárion recovered a sapling and planted it in Minas Anor in TA 2). However, in SA 3430, Anárion recaptured the city, preventing Minas Ithil from being taken. After Sauron was defeated in the War of the Last Alliance in SA 3441, a watch was kept from Minas Ithil to prevent the return of evil to Mordor.
The Nazgûl, led by the Witch-king of Angmar, the most fearsome of Sauron's minions, returned to Mordor in 1980 to prepare for Sauron's return. Soon Mordor started to attack and conquer parts of Gondor. In TA 2000, the forces of the nine Nazgûl laid siege to Minas Ithil. In TA 2002 after a long siege, the city fell and was transformed into a bastion of evil. As a result, it came to be called Minas Morgul.
Minas Morgul Edit
Terror and war were directed at Gondor from Minas Morgul until Ithilien was deserted. During the War of the Ring, the army that attacked Osgiliath and undertook the Siege of Gondor came from Minas Morgul.
In fashion Minas Morgul seems to have been much like Minas Tirith, only corrupted. The topmost course of the tower revolved slowly, and the walls were illuminated by a pale luminous glow. Under a white bridge flowed the foulest river in Middle-earth, the Morgulduin.
The city had a strange watchfulness about it, and intruders to Morgul Vale were always noted. Most who approached the city could not stand to set eyes on it, and felt that they were being watched.
During the War of the Ring, Aragorn and Gandalf break the bridge and set the fields by it on fire to keep the Minas Morgul troops from the Crossroads.
After the War of the Ring, King Elessar (Aragorn) counseled Faramir to make his abode in the Emyn Arnen southeast of Minas Tirith, in Ithilien, and decreed that Minas Ithil in the Morgul Vale, despoiled by its years as Minas Morgul, be completely destroyed, for although it might in time come to be made clean, no man might dwell there for many long years. Eventually, the city was rebuilt as Minas Ithil and the evil that tainted the land was at last gone.
Portrayal in adaptations Edit
The Lord of the Rings film trilogy Edit
In Peter Jackson's movie adaptation of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Minas Morgul is shown as a massive spectral fortress on the other side of a moat. Frodo is drawn by the power of the Ring, but Sam and Gollum hide him as the Morgul army of orcs passes; the Nazgûl on their mounts are not seen, except for the Witch-king who is shown to leave the fortress on a Fellbeast. It also makes a brief appearance in the first film, The Fellowship of the Ring, when the Ringwraiths (mounted on horses) are shown exiting the fortress en route to the Shire far away.
Middle-earth: Shadow of War Edit
The video game Middle-earth: Shadow of War features Minas Ithil throughout the game, and depicts its transformation into Minas Morgul after being besieged by the Nazgûl. In the game, the main character, Talion, aided by the wraith of the Elf-smith Celebrimbor, attempts to hold back the siege only to be betrayed from within. The city falls into the hands of Sauron and becomes Minas Morgul. After Talion is betrayed by Celebrimbor and takes possession of one of the Nine Rings of Power, he recaptures the city as his stronghold to hold back the Orcs for as long as he can. Decades later, Talion finally succumbs to the power of the Ring and becomes one of the Nine, and Minas Morgul once again falls back under the control of the Witch-king until his fall.
Translation around the world Edit
|Foreign Language||Translated name|
|Belarusian Cyrillic||Мі́нас Мо́ргул (Minas Morgul)
Мінас Ітыль (Minas Ithil)
|Bulgarian Cyrillic||Минас Моргул (Minas Morgul)
Минас Итил (Minas Ithil)
|Catalan||Minas Mórgul (Minas Morgul)
Minas Íthil (Minas Ithil)
|Chinese (Hong Kong)||米那斯魔窟 (Minas Morgul)
米那斯伊希爾 (Minas Ithil)
|Hebrew||מינאס מורגול (Minas Morgul)
מינאס איתיל (Minas Ithil)
|Japanese||ミナス・モルグル (Minas Morgul)
ナス・イシル (Minas Ithil)
|Kazakh||Мінас Моргұл (Cyrillic) Minas Morgul (Latin)|
|Kyrgyz Cyrillic||Минас Моргул|
|Macedonian Cyrillic||Минас Моргул|
|Mongolian Cyrillic||Минас Моргул|
|Persian||میناس مورگول (Minas Morgul)
میناس ایتیل (Minas Ithil)
|Serbian||Минас Моргул (Cyrillic) Minas Morgul (Latin)|
|Tajik Cyrillic||Минас Моргул|
|Thai||มินัสมอร์กูล (Minas Morgul)
มินัสอิธิล (Minas Ithil)
|Ukrainian Cyrillic||Мінас Морґул (Minas Morgul)
Мінас-Ітіль (Minas Ithil)
|Uzbek||Минас Моргул (Cyrillic) Minas Morgul (Latin)|
Forests & Mountains:
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