Minas Tirith was the capital city of Gondor.
- "For the fashion of Minas Tirith was such that it was built on seven levels, each delved into the hill, and about each was set a wall, and in each was a gate. But the gates were not set in a line: the Great Gate in the City wall was at the east point of the circuit, but the next faced half south, and the third half north, and so to and fro upwards; so the paved way that climbed toward the citadel turned this way and that and then that across the face of the hill."
- —The Return of the King, Chapter I: "Minas Tirith"
Minas Tirith was surrounded by the Rammas Echor, a large ringwall encircling the city and the Pelennor Fields. This wall was built after Minas Ithil fell and was renamed Minas Morgul. It was repaired by Ecthelion II during the time of the War of the Ring, but it had not the strength to defend the city from the Dark Lord Sauron's legions of Uruk-hai from Mordor. The city itself lay on a hill beneath Mount Mindolluin, which rose above the city's citadel, by a length of a couple of thousand feet. Mount Mindolluin was where Aragorn found the seedling of the White Tree.
The city was divided into seven one-hundred-foot high levels, each surrounded by white walls, except the first walls which had the same kind of black stone as Orthanc as a face. The gates connecting the levels did not lay behind one another in a line, but faced in different directions. A spur of rock, whose summit was level with the city's uppermost tier, jutted out from the front of the city in an easterly direction, dividing all but the first level into two. Each level was scattered with many alleys, narrow passageways, and full-fledged houses (which were probably quite rare in the city). On the sixth level were located the Houses of Healing, surrounded by pleasant gardens. Finally, within the seventh wall, was the Citadel of Minas Tirith, with the White Tower of Ecthelion - three hundred feet high, so that its apex was one thousand feet above the plain.
The First Level was the lowest tier of the city, at which the main gate was located.
During the Siege of Minas Tirith, Uruk-hai cast fire into the First Level, burning many buildings and causing general havoc to many of the defenders. Later on, the Main Gate was breached when Grond was finally used against it, and the soldiers of Gondor and Uruk-hai clashed in the streets of the First Circle but Gandalf ordered a retreat and then made their way up.
Minas Tirith, first named Minas Anor, was built by the Faithful following their arrival in Middle-earth in SA 3320. It initially served as a fortress against "wild men" in the foothills of the White Mountains. Anárion lived in Minas Anor as co-ruler of Gondor and set his Palantír there. Following Anárion's death, his brother Isildur lived there while tutoring Anárion's son Meneldil in kingship. Before leaving Minas Anor in TA 2, Isildur planted a seedling of Nimloth which grew into the White Tree.
King Ostoher rebuilt the city in TA 420, establishing his summer court there. Gradually, it became eclipsed by Osgiliath in importance as the original capital slowly declined into ruin. King Tarondor permanently moved the King's House to the city in TA 1640. In the year TA 2002, the White City's companion tower Minas Ithil on the borders of Mordor was captured by the Ringwraiths. Minas Anor was then renamed Minas Tirith, or the "Tower of Guard." The Rammas Echor, the great wall encircling the rich farmlands and suburbs of the City, was built at this time.
Siege of Minas TirithEdit
Minas Tirith was besieged by the armies of Mordor, under the Great Darkness generated by Sauron's power. The Battle of the Pelennor Fields took place on March 15, 3019 in the fields surrounding the city. It was a very large battle. Theoden, the King of Rohan was killed during this battle by the Witch-king of Angmar. At about the same time, the Witch-king was destroyed by Éowyn, lady of Rohan, who was severely wounded in the process. It was also there that Gandalf took command of the City's defenses from the Ruling Steward Denethor after he fell to despair. Aragorn later arrived at the hour of need with Gondor's Army of the South which he had liberated from defending the port city of Pelargir, turning the tide of battle in favor of the Free Peoples. After the battle, the stench of death was heavy in Minas Tirith's air, and the Pelennor Fields lay strewn with bodies.
On 1 May 3019, the Crowning of King Elessar took place on the plain outside Minas Tirith. After his coronation, he entered the city as the King of Gondor, as he was destined to become from the start of his lifetime. With his coronation, King Elessar refounded the line of the Kings of Gondor, and as he was also the King of the Kingdom of Arnor, Minas Tirith became Capital of the Reunited Kingdom.
Minas Tirith was repaired by its new king (who grew plants inside of its walls to add to its luster and beauty) and by the Dwarves of Glittering Caves, particularly Gimli, who built a new gate for the city (made of mithril and steel) and altogether fixed the layout of the city as well. Minas Tirith was said to have been made even more beautiful than when it was at the time of its founding. The city is known to have stood firm and strong well into the Fourth Age because of these two renovations.
Portrayal in adaptationsEdit
Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings films Edit
Minas Tirith appears briefly in Peter Jackson's first movie The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, where Gandalf learns about the One Ring; as well as his second film The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers where it is seen as a glimpse in the distance when the rangers of Ithilien hold Frodo and Sam captive. It is a central and major location in Peter Jackson's third movie The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
Tolkien's description of the physical layout of Minas Tirith is largely followed in Peter Jackson's movie. The films crew built a model of Minas Tirith closely based on Tolkien's description, although there are a few of assumptions made by the director and differences from the book. One of these is the assumption that the top of the courtyard of the White Tree was flattened and paved. Another difference between film and book is that in the book the coronation of Aragorn takes place not in the courtyard atop the city but outside the city, and only after his coronation does he march into the city as new King of Gondor.
Despite the book's describing the first wall as dark in colour (similar to Orthanc), unusually high and almost indestructible, in the movies it is not only white and several times lower than the rest of the walls, it's also heavily damaged because of attacks. The film also shows the old White Tree with blossom at the arrival of Aragorn, though in the book Gandalf and Aragorn discover a new sapling on the slopes of Mount Mindolluin and replant it in the place of the old tree.
The Great Gate of Minas Tirith in the films was flanked by towers and bastions made from the white (though black in the book) almost indestructible stone (similar to that of Orthanc) which makes up the entire lower level. The Gate was replaced by one that was made in the Lonely Mountain. In addition there is a wall surrounding Pelennor fields called Rammas Echor which was breached during the siege of Gondor.
The Battle for Middle-earth Edit
In Electronic Arts' RTS The Battle for Middle-earth series, Minas Tirith can be played at in Skirmishes, and appears in the Campaign of the first installment The Battle for Middle-earth. The city's scale and depth are accurate to its depiction in the films.
Translations around the worldEdit
|Foreign Language||Translated name|
|Belarusian Cyrillic||Мі́нас Ты́рыт|
|Bulgarian Cyrillic||Минас Тирит|
|Chinese (Hong Kong)||米那斯提力斯|
|Kazakh||Мінас Тірітһ (Cyrillic) Minas Tirith (Latin)|
|Kyrgyz Cyrillic||Минас Тиритч|
|Macedonian Cyrillic||Минас Тирит|
|Mongolian Cyrillic||Минас Тиритh|
|Serbian||Минас Тирит (Cyrillic) Minas Tirit (Latin)|
|Sindhi||مڳناس تڳرڳته ?|
|Uzbek||Минас Тиритҳ (Cyrillic) Minas Tirith (Latin)|
- ↑ The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
- ↑ The Art of The Return of the King, Introduction, pg. 11
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