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Aerial view of the Sea of Núrnen

The Sea of Núrnen, also called Lake Núrnen[note 1], was a large inland body of water in Mordor.[1] It was roughly half the size of the Sea of Rhûn.

Núrnen was located in the southeast of Mordor. It was fed by rivers flowing down from the outcroppings of the Ephel Dúath and Ash Mountains that separated the volcanic plateau of Gorgoroth from the fertile volcanic plains of Núrn, and its waters were described by Tolkien as "the dark, sad waters of Lake Núrnen". Its waters were likely used for irrigation purposes to water the fields of Nurn.

After the War of the Ring, King Elessar granted the lands around Núrnen to the freed slaves of Mordor.


In The Atlas of Middle-earth, Karen Wynn Fonstad assumed that the Sea of Rhûn and Sea of Núrnen were the remnants of the inland Sea of Helcar. The atlas was however published before The Peoples of Middle-earth, where it was revealed that the Sea of Rhûn existed already in the First Age, as an apparently different body of water than the Sea of Helcar.

Portrayal in adaptations

View over the Sea of Núrnen

The only appearance of the Sea of Núrnen in media is in the game Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. It depicts Mordor just after Sauron's return before the War of the Ring. In this game the history of Mordor's inland sea is enriched: after the War of the Last Alliance Gondor built defensive outposts around Núrnen to watch over it and protect the lands around it from invading forces from the south trying to enter Mordor through the Nargil pass. The southern tributary of the Sea of Núrnen is also given a name, the Gurthrant river (borrowed from MERP). However, when the Great Plague struck from the east, the Gondorian forts were abandoned, allowing the Corsairs of Umbar to claim them as places from which to direct pirate raids into Ithilien and Khand. Over the time these Corsairs, separated from their evil lords in Umbar, settled down as a peaceful independent nation, naming themselves the Tribesmen of Nurn and starting to farm the fertile lands around Mordor's inland sea. However, when Sauron returned, he fought with the Tribesmen - even though they tried to defend against him they were trapped inside Mordor, so he enslaved them to make food for his growing armies.


Foreign Language Translated name
Afrikaans See van Núrnen
Amharic ኑርነን ባሕር
Arabic بحيرة نورنن
Armenian Նւրնենյան ծով
Azerbaijani Núrnen dənizi
Basque Núrnenako itsasoa
Belarusian Cyrillic Нурненско Море
Bengali নুরনেন সাগর
Breton Mor Núrnen
Bosnian Núrnensko jezero
Bulgarian Cyrillic Нурнен море
Catalan Mar d'Núrnen
Chinese 內陸海諾南
Cornish Mor Núrnen
Croatian Núrnensko more
Czech Núrnenské moře
Danish Núrnensøen (hav)
Dutch Zee van Nurnen
Esperanto Maro de Núrnen
Estonian Núrnen meri
Faroese Núrnen sjónota
Finnish Núrnen meri
French Mer de Núrnen
Galician Mar de Núrnen
German Núrnen-Meer
Greek Θάλασσα της Νυρνεν
Haitian Creole Lanmè de Núrnen
Hebrew נורנן ים
Hindi णुर्नेन सागर
Hungarian Núrneni-tenger
Icelandic Núrnenshaf
Indonesian Laut Núrnen
Irish Gaelic Muir Núrnen
Italian Mare di Núrnen
Japanese ニュルンの海
Javanese Segara Núrnen
Kazakh Нүрнен теңізі (Cyrillic) Nürnen teñizi (Latin)
Korean 넨넨해 ?
Kurdish Deryaya Núrnen (Kurmanji Kurdish)
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Нүрнэн деңизи
Latin Mare Núrnen
Latvian Núrnenas jūra
Lithuanian Núrneno jūra
Luxembourgish Mier Núrnen
Macedonian Cyrillic Нурненско Море
Malagasy Ranomasina Núrnen
Malaysian Laut Núrnen
Manx Mooir Núrnen
Marathi नरेनअॅक समुद्र
Mongolian Cyrillic Нурненын тэнгис
Norwegian Núrnensjøen
Occitan Mar d'Núrnen
Old English Núrnen Mere
Persian دریاچه نورنهن
Polish Morze Núrnen
Portuguese Mar de Núrnen
Punjabi ਨੂਰਨੇਨ ਸਮੁੰਦਰ
Romanian Marea Núrneni
Scottish Gaelic Muir Núrnen
Serbian Нурненско језеро (Cyrillic) Nurnensko море (Latin)
Sicilian Mari di Núrnen
Slovenian Núrnensko morje
Spanish Mar de Núrnen
Swahili Ziwa Núrnen
Swedish Núrnenska sjön
Tajik Cyrillic Нурнен баҳр
Turkish Núrnen Denizi
Turkmen Núrnen deňiz
Ukrainian Cyrillic Нурнен море
Urdu بحیرہ نورنان
Uzbek Нурнен денгизи (Cyrillic) Nurnen dengizi (Latin)
Venetian Mar d'Núrnen
Vietnamese Biển Núrnen
Welsh Môr Núrnen
Yiddish ים נורנען

Seas of Arda

Belegaer | Ekkaia | Helcar | Núrnen | Rhûn | Ringol | Shadowy Seas


  1. The Lord of the Rings, "The West of Middle-earth at the End of the Third Age" (map)


  1. Both times Núrnen is referenced in The Return of the King, it is referred to as a lake. pp. 221 and 275.