The Cirith Ninniach was a narrow and rocky pass running through the Ered Lómin in the western part of the Beleriand.

According to The Atlas of Middle-earth, the pass was some fifty miles in length from its beginnings in the coastal lands near the Great Sea to Gate of the Noldor. It was situated between the mountains that divided the lands of Hithlum and Dor-lómin, and served as the means of connecting Hithlum to the Firth of Drengist. A stream was here fed by a freshwater waterfall that ran through the tunnel leading to the Gate of the Ñoldor, as well as other smaller falls coming down from the sides of the mountain.[1]


The cleft was no doubt formed by the many upheavals and tumults in Middle-earth caused by Melkor's marring of world, and the wars made against him by the Valar in their efforts to quell his evils. On their return to Middle-earth, the Ñoldor passed through here and re-entered the Beleriand. When Turgon lived in Nevrast, he built the Gate of the Ñoldor to facilitate travel through the Cirith Ninniach, but when he and his people removed to Gondolin, the place was forgotten for the most part. Later, Tuor passed through here on his journey to Gondolin sitting long there and drinking from the stream.[2][3]


Cirith Ninniach is Sindarin for 'Rainbow cleft' or 'Rainbow pass'[4]


  1. The Atlas of Middle-earth, The First Age, The Elder Days, "Beleriand and the Lands to the North"
  2. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XXIII: "Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin"
  3. Unfinished Tales, Part One: The First Age, I: "Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin"
  4. The Complete Guide to Middle-earth

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