AJ Padlock

Moria was an underground mine beneath the Misty Mountains. It was known for being the ancient realm of the Dwarves of Durin's Folk. Moria was the greatest kingdom ever by the Dwarves and one of the greatest kingdoms ever established.


Years of the Trees

The Dwarrowdelf was founded by Durin 'the Deathless' in the far distant past, long before the creation of the Sun and Moon. Durin had awakened at Mount Gundabad not long after the Elves first awoke, and as eldest amongst the Fathers of the Dwarves was acknowledged as pre-eminent amongst them, a status subsequently inherited by his descendants, the kings of the Longbeards.

From Mount Gundabad, Durin's growing clan "spread southward down the vales of Anduin", all the while "under attack from the orcs of Morgoth".[1] According to legend, Durin ultimately found "a glen of shadows between two great arms of the mountains, above which three white peaks were shining".[2] Within this heavily wooded valley, a long series of short waterfalls led down to a long, oval lake, which appeared to have a magical quality: "There, like jewels sunk in the deep shone glinting stars, though sunlight was in the sky above".[2] Perceiving these stars as a crown glittering above his head, Durin took this as an auspicious sign, and named the lake Kheled-zâram, the 'Mirrormere'.

The three peaks overshadowing the lake he named Barazinbar 'the Redhorn', Zirakzigil 'the Silvertine' and Bundushathûr, 'Cloudyhead'. The icy cold springs below the lake he called Kibil-nâla (the source of the Silverlode), and the valley itself he gave the name Azanulbizar, the Dimrill Dale. Durin chose the eastward-facing caves above Kheled-zâram[3] as the earliest beginnings of his new stronghold.

All of these places became revered amongst Durin's people in later days. His descendants erected a rune-carved stone monolith – Durin's Stone—on the site where he had first looked into the Mirrormere, and although it had become indecipherably weatherworn by the end of the Third Age—broken, cracked and faded—the influence of Durin I, the founding king of Khazad-dûm, was never forgotten.

The long reign of Khazad-dûm's first king was a golden age, remembered as Durin's Day (this name was also applied to the Dwarvish New Year). During that period Khazad-dûm grew continuously in size and population, until it became the "greatest of all the mansions of the Dwarves",[4] even before the return of the Noldor to Middle-earth. By that time, Khazad-dûm was already "a name and a rumour from the words of the Dwarves of the Blue Mountains"[4] to all the Eldar of Beleriand.

During the reign of Durin the Deathless some of the wonders of Dwarvish architecture were built in Khazad-dûm: Durin's Bridge, the Second Hall, the Endless Stair and Durin's Tower.

After his death, the reputation of Durin's realm continued to grow, not merely due to his spiritual ascendancy over the other Fathers of the Dwarves as the eldest amongst them, or the Dwarrowdelf's growing size, but to its great wealth, which was founded upon the uniquely precious metal mithril, which was universally prized yet found nowhere else except faraway Númenor.

First Age

Durin thus became King Durin l of Khazad-dum, the first of the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves.

Moria gate

Gates of Moria, and translation of the Writing

Many centuries later, the Dwarves continued to name their kings after him, as they believed that all other rulers of Moria were re-incarnations of Durin who wished to live amongst his people once again. Millennia passed and the caverns of Khazad-dûm became ever more famous in Middle-earth and many kings were set upon the throne of Durin the Deathless. The gates were kept open, as there was no shadow on the world at that point, and the Dwarves were on very friendly terms with the Elves.[5][6]

Second Age

In SA 40 after the fall of Beleriand in the War of Wrath and the Dwarves of Nogrod had deserted their city, the city was enriched in numbers, smithing, crafting, and masonry. These factors ever strengthened Khazad-dûm and brought prosperity to their city. 

With the fall of Beleriand in the north, the Ñoldor looked for a new land to call home. They founded the land west of Moria, Eregion. A rare friendship sprang up between the Elves and the Dwarves of this new land, and they each aided each other in constructing the magical Western-gate of Moria, and went so far that they even presented King Durin lll with a lesser Ring of Power. The bond between Khazad-dûm and Eregion suddenly came to end as, in SA 1697, the Dark Lord Sauron corrupted the country of the elves, and despite the best efforts of the Dwarves to help them, he succeeded in destroying the fair land driving away all the elves, though the Elves managed to win the war against Sauron, the Dwarves were not that fortunate. At this time the Doors of Durin were flung shut and sealed against Sauron's forces, and Khazad-dûm began a long seclusion from the outside world. It was at this time that the Orcs invaded Mount Gundabad, taking it from the Kingdom of Durin for themselves.

Third Age

Balrog - FOT

The Balrog, Durin's Bane

Throughout the beginning of the Third Age, the Dwarves of Khazad-dûm expanded its treasure, but its numbers began to dwindle. The majority of their wealth was based on their hoards of Mithril of which they mined in their deepest tunnels, and as the centuries went by the Dwarves delved ever deeper for the precious metal. 

In TA 1980, they dug too deeply and greedily for Mithril and to their loss they unearthed a nameless terror in the depths beneath the city. This dreadful creature wrought destruction throughout the city wiping out most of the Dwarves and slaying King Durin VI. Thereafter the creature was named Durin's Bane. After the Dwarves had left, Khazad-dûm gathered dust and stood dark and empty, but for the sinister creature that lurked in the depths. This was when it was named Moria, the Black Pit.

The monster, later revealed as a Balrog of Morgoth, remained alone in Moria for nearly five centuries until it was populated once again, but not by Dwarves. The Orcs, refugees from the north, began to raid the abandoned city of its treasures and made a decision to occupy it. They came upon the Balrog and began to worship it as their deity. Mordor started to send out troops of Orcs and Cave Trolls to populate Moria, making an evil place for them to multiply. During the Battle of Azanulbizar, many of these Orcs were felled in the valley beneath the eastern gate of Moria in TA 2799, and the numbers were reduced dramatically. But the Balrog still remained and many Orcs and Trolls with him, and so Khazad-dûm stayed evil for the time being.

The wizard Gandalf entered the city for the first time at some point between TA 2845 and TA 2850 searching for King Thrain ll, who had recently disappeared on a journey to Lonely Mountain.

Balin's Expedition

Durin's grav

Chamber of Mazarbul, Balin's Tomb

In TA 2989, the Longbeards, descendants of the ancient Durin Folk living at the Lonely Mountain, ignited an attempt to reclaim and recolonize their ancestral dwelling - Khazad-dûm. The expedition was led by Balin son of Fundin, one of Thorin Oakenshield's Company of Dwarves who accompanied Bilbo Baggins on the Quest of Erebor. He led a group of Dwarves from Lonely Mountain to Moria, and successfully eviscerated a considerable amount of Orcs, taking many of the eastern halls and recovering priceless ancestral treasures such as Durin's Axe. However, the number of Orcs was too great compared to their small company and all, including Balin, were slain in TA 2994.

Quest of the Ring

Dwarrowdelf LoTR

The Fellowship passing through the great halls of stone.

When the Hobbits Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin; the Men Aragorn and Boromir; the Dwarf Gimli; the Elf Legolas; and the Wizard Gandalf set out from Rivendell on the Quest of the Ring, they were forced to make their way through Moria after the failed attempt of climbing Caradhras (Redhorn) where they were pursued by Wargs. They entered through the western-gate near a lake with dark waters from which a tentacular monster emerged and attempted to kill Frodo. When inside, the Fellowship passed through many tunnels and great halls until finally reaching a chamber and a book, explaining the last accounts of the Longbeards.[7]

They were then taken by surprise as Orcs and cave trolls pursued them through Moria to the Bridge of Khazad-dûm where the Balrog rose from the depths. Gandalf bravely confronted the creature and the two briefly dueled on the bridge before plunging together into the abyss below. This saved Gandalf's friends' lives as they carried on out of Moria into Dimrill Dale. Gandalf and the Balrog both survived the fall; the wizard then pursued the monster up the Great Stair to the peak of Celebdil, where a final battle took place. In the end, Gandalf defeated the Balrog and cast its corpse down onto the mountain side, before succumbing to the wounds of his battle.[8]

Fourth Age and beyond

Eventually, Moria was reclaimed by the Dwarves of Durin's Folk under Durin VII who became King of Durin's Folk and of Khazad-dûm and lived there ever after.


Moria means "black chasm"' in Sindarin. Khazad-dûm means "Delving of the Dwarves" in Dwarvish.[9]

Other names

  • Dwarrowdelf
  • Hadhodrond
  • Halls of Durin
  • Mines of Moria
  • Phurunargian

Portrayal in adaptations

Durin's door

Durin's door

Moria is depicted in both Ralph Bakshi's 1978 animated film The Lord of the Rings and the 2001 live action film The Fellowship of the Ring.

The Hobbit film trilogy

Moria appears in the film adaptation of The Hobbit, in a flashback sequence where Azog killed Thrór, only to be defeated himself by Thorin Oakenshield who cuts off his hand, none of which happened in (or is consistent with) what Tolkien wrote.

Video games

It is also depicted in the video games The Lord of the Rings: Conquest, The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (video game), The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age, The Lord of the Rings Online, and The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest.


Translations around the World

Foreign Language Translated name
Arabic موريا
Amharic ሞሪኣ
Armenian Մորիա (Moria)

Խազադ-դում (Khazad-dûm)

Belarusian Cyrillic Морыя (Moria)

Казад-дум (Khazad-dûm)

Bengali মরিঅ
Bosnian Morija
Bulgarian Cyrillic Мория (Moria)

Хазад-дум (Khazad-dûm)

Catalan Mòria
Chinese (Hong Kong) 摩瑞亞 (Moria)

凱薩督姆 (Khazad-dûm)

Georgian მორია (Moria)

კჰაზად-დუმ (Khazad-dûm)

Greek Μορια
Gujarati મોરિઅ
Hebrew מוריה (Moria)

קְהָזָד דוּם (Khazad-dûm)

Hindi मोरिअ
Hungarian Mória
Japanese モリア (Moria)

カザド=ドゥーム (Khazad-dûm)

Kannada ಮೋರಿಯಾ
Kazakh Моріа (Cyrillic) Moria (Latin)
Korean 모리아 (Moria)

카자드-두무 (Khazad-dûm)

Kyrgyz Cyrillic Мориа
Lao ມໂrິະ
Latin Moriae
Macedonian Cyrillic Мориа
Marathi मोरिअ
Mongolian Cyrillic Мориа
Nepalese मोरिअ
Pashto موریا
Persian موریا (Moria)

خازاد-دوم (Khazad-dûm)

Punjabi ਮੋਰਿਅ
Russian Мория
Sanskrit मोरिअ
Serbian Морија (Cyrillic) Moria (Latin)

Казад-дум (Cyrillic) Kazad-dum (Latin)

Sindhi مورڳا ?
Thai มอเรีย (Moria)

คาซัด-ดูม (Khazad-dûm)

Sinhalese මොරියා
Tajik Cyrillic Мориа
Tamil மோரியா
Telugu మొరిఅ
Ukrainian Cyrillic Морія (Moria)

Казад-дум (Khazad-dûm)

Urdu موریا
Uzbek Мория (Cyrillic) Moriya (Latin)
Yiddish מאָריאַ (Moria)

כאַזאַד-דאַם (Khazad-dûm)

Dwarven Realms of Middle-earth throughout the Ages
Years of the Trees & First Age Bar-en-Nibin-Noeg | Belegost | Khazad-dûm | Mount Gundabad | Nogrod | Nulukkizdîn | Iron Hills | Orocarni | Blue Mountains
Second Age Khazad-dûm | Belegost | Nogrod | Mount Gundabad | Orocarni | Blue Mountains | Iron Hills
Third Age Grey Mountains | Iron Hills | Khazad-dûm | Lonely Mountain | Blue Mountains | Orocarni | Dunland
Fourth Age Glittering Caves | Khazad-dûm | Lonely Mountain | Orocarni | Blue Mountains | Grey Mountains | Iron Hills


  1. Template:ME-ref
  2. 2.0 2.1 Tolkien, J.R.R.. The Lord of the Rings, 352. 
  3. J. R. R. Tolkien. The Lord of the Rings
  4. 4.0 4.1 Template:ME-ref
  5. The Atlas of Middle-earth, The Third Age, "Migrations of Hobbits"
  6. The Atlas of Middle-earth, The Lord of the Rings, "Moria"
  7. The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter IV: "A Journey in the Dark"
  8. The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter V: "The Bridge of Khazad-dûm"
  9. The Complete Guide to Middle-earth