This article refers to the fortress of the First Age. For other namesakes, see Minas Tirith (disambiguation).
Tol sirion s siege by filat-db8ptdd

Minas Tirith besieged by Sauron's forces, by Filat

Minas Tirith was once the name of a strong and solidly built watch-tower and fortress on the isle of Tol Sirion, in the upper reaches of the river Sirion during the First Age. It guarded the Pass of Sirion against the power of Morgoth from the north.


Watchtower of the Ñoldor

Minas Tirith was built early in the First Age by Finrod Felagund, to keep watch upon the doings of Morgoth on the northern plain of Ard-galen. Finrod entrusted it to Orodreth, his nephew and he ruled and held it for his uncle to guard the vale of Sirion for many hundreds of years.[1]

Time of Sauron's Dominion

In FA 457 it was invaded by Sauron in the aftermath of the Dagor Bragollach and Orodreth was powerless to stop him from taking the isle, and fled south. Sauron, then also known as Gorthaur, renamed the island (and presumably the tower as well) Tol-in-Gaurhoth or Isle of Werewolves. Afterwards, Sauron began breeding large wolves in the isle which he sent evil spirits in, turning them into werewolves.[2]

About ten years later during the Quest for the Silmaril, Sauron imprisoned Beren Erchamion and Finrod there. Finrod was slain, but Beren was rescued by Lúthien and the Hound Huan. Huan killed the wolves and Lúthien got control over the isle's magic from Sauron. The isle was destroyed, cleansed, and remained clean afterwards. Defeated, Sauron had to give up his mastery over the tower, which was reduced to ruins. Finrod was buried there.[3][4][5]

Although the land around the Pass of Sirion did remain under the rule of the Ñoldor for a few more years, they did not attempt to rebuild the tower.[3]

Other namesakes

In the Third Age, the name Minas Tirith was the later name of Minas Anor.


Like its later namesake, Minas Tirith was Sindarin for 'Tower of the Guard'.[6]


  1. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XIV: "Of Beleriand and its Realms"
  2. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XVIII: "Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin"
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XIX: "Of Beren and Lúthien"
  4. The Atlas of Middle-earth, The First Age, The Elder Days, "Travels of Beren and Lúthien"
  5. The Atlas of Middle-earth, The First Age, The Elder Days, "Travels of Túrin and Nienor"
  6. The Complete Guide to Middle-earth
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