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Cirith Ungol and its tower, as painted by Alan Lee

The Tower of Cirith Ungol was a fortress in western Mordor that guarded the pass of Cirith Ungol.


At the top of the pass was a cleft with two rock horns on each side, with the tower on the northernmost. The tower was built of black stone against the eastern rock face. There were three tiers, each set back from the last. The two sides face northeast and southeast, and meet to form a bastion pointing eastward. At the top of the tower was a tall round turret overlooking the pass. A high, outer wall surrounded the bottom tier, and formed an overhanging parapet to prevent enemies from climbing over.

The Tower of Cirith Ungol in the third New Line film

A road ran from the pass of Cirith Ungol to the tower, with the fortress to the north and a sheer precipice to the south. In the southeastern side of the outer wall was the main gate, guarded by two hideous statues on each side, called Watchers. Each statue was of three bodies connected to one vulture-like head. Also on the southeastern wall of the lowest tier of the tower itself was the gateway leading inside. A hallway with rooms branching off traveled back through the building to a curved archway called the Undergate, which led to Shelob's Lair. To the right of the Undergate was a spiral staircase leading up through the tower, opening up onto the roof of the third tier. On the western side of the roof was the round turret. A winding staircase went up to a passageway running across the turret. Above the passage was a trapdoor leading to a room in the very top of the tower.

The fortress was associated with the mountain fortress of Durthang in northwestern Mordor, and the Towers of the Teeth at the Morannon. All had been part of Gondor's defensive scheme that proved too costly to maintain in the course of long hardship.[1]


Under Gondor

The tower was built by the Men of Gondor after the War of the Last Alliance to guard the province of Ithilien and to prevent evil from returning to Mordor. For this reason its two bastions were directed to the north and south-east. At some date prior to the fall of Minas Ithil and possibly through treachery, the tower fell to the forces of the Witch-king of Angmar.

Under Sauron

The tower itself became a stronghold of the enemy and was garrisoned by Uruks and Orcs. After Sauron's second return it was used by Orcs to watch the lands of Mordor to prevent the desertion of any of Sauron's forces. During the War of the Ring, Frodo Baggins was imprisoned here after being captured by Shagrat's Orc party as he lay on the ground paralyzed by the poison of Shelob. They intended to hold him for questioning but when he was searched, Frodo's Mithril-shirt was found. Afterwards, Orcs from Minas Morgul led by Gorbag did battle with Shagrat's Orcs to possess it. By the time the battle was over, Orcs and Uruks from both sides had nearly wiped each other out, allowing Samwise Gamgee to enter the tower unopposed and rescue Frodo.[2]


Foreign Language Translated name
Afrikaans Toring van Cirith Ungol
Arabic برج سيريث اونغول
Armenian Կիրիտհ Օնգոլ աշտարակ
Azerbaijani Cirith Ungol qülləsi
Basque Cirith Ungoleko dorrera
Bulgarian Cyrillic Кула на Кирит Унгол
Catalan Torre de Cirith Úngol
Croatian Cirith Ungolska kula
Czech Cirith Ungol Věž
Danish Tårnet i Cirith Ungol
Dutch Toren van Cirith Ungol
Esperanto Turo de Cirith Ungol
Estonian Cirith Ungoli torn
Filipino Tore ng Cirith Ungol
Finnish Cirith Ungolin torni
French Tour de Cirith Ungol
Galician Torre de Cirith Ungol
German Turm von Cirith Ungol
Greek Πύργος του Κιριθ Ονγολ
Hebrew מגדל קירית אונגול
Hungarian Cirith Ungol tornya
Irish Gaelic Túr Cirith Ungol
Indonesian Menara Cirith Ungol
Italian Torre di Cirith Ungol
Japanese シリスアンゴルの塔
Korean 키리스 웅골 탑
Latin Turris Cirith Ungol
Latvian Cirith Ungol tornis
Lithuanian Cirith Ungol bokštas
Luxembourgish Tuerm vu Cirith Ungol
Macedonian Cyrillic Кирит Унгол кула
Malagasy Tilikambon'i Cirith Ungol
Malaysian Menara Cirith Ungol
Norwegian Tårnet i Cirith Ungol
Persian برج کیریت آنگول
Polish Wieża Cirith Ungol
Portuguese Torre de Cirith Ungol
Russian Башня Кирит Унгол
Slovenian Cirith Ungolski stolp
Spanish Torre de Cirith Ungol
Swedish Tornet av Cirith Ungol
Tagalog Torre ni Cirith Ungol
Turkish Cirith Ungol Kulesi
Ukrainian Cyrillic Кіріт Унґол вежа
Vietnamese Tháp Cirith Ungol
Welsh Tŵr Cirith Ungol
Yiddish טורעם פון כּיריטה ונגאָל