Ruins of Osgiliath
Background Information
Type City/Fortress
Location On the Anduin between Minas Tirith and Minas Morgul.[1]
Realms Gondor
Founded/Built after SA 3319
Ruler Kings of Gondor
Other Information
Other names Citadel of the Stars
Inhabitants Men of Gondor
Spoken Languages Westron
Lifespan after SA 3319 -

Osgiliath was the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Gondor. Depopulated during the Third Age, it gradually fell into ruin. During the War of the Ring, the abandoned city gained strategic importance as a crossing point over the Anduin, both for the Men of Gondor and Orcs of Mordor.


Second AgeEdit

Rise and DeclineEdit

Osgiliath reclaimed

City of Osgiliath

The city was founded by Isildur and Anárion near the end of the Second Age. Ruling Gondor jointly, they used Osgiliath as their capital. It was defended by two smaller fortress cities, Minas Ithil (where Isildur lived) and Minas Anor (where Anárion lived). Osgiliath soon became a large and flourishing city.

At the heart of Osgiliath was a great stone bridge over the river. On the bridge was a tower containing the famous Dome of Stars, which housed the city's Palantír. Another important building (or possibly the same one) was the Great Hall, which initially served as a throne room for Isildur and Anárion.

In SA 3429, Sauron attacked Gondor, beginning the War of the Last Alliance. Though he took Minas Ithil, Anárion successfully defended Osgiliath.

For over a thousand years, Osgiliath remained the greatest city in Gondor, though from the 5th century of the Third Age, the kings, beginning with Ostoher, used Minas Anor as a summer residence.

Screen shot 2010-12-15 at 8.16.39 PM

Osgiliath Buildings

Osgiliath was hit hard by the catastrophic civil war of the Kin-strife. In TA 1437, the city, then held by Eldacar, was besieged by Castamir's forces. During the conflict, fire broke out, and large parts of the city were destroyed, including the Dome of Stars. The Palantír housed in the Dome was lost in the river.

The decline of the city was greatly accelerated by the Great Plague of TA 1636. Many of its people died from the disease, while others fled to remote parts of the country, few of whom returned. Severely depopulated, Osgiliath began to fall into ruin. In 1640, Tarondor, whose predecessor Telemnar had died from the plague, moved the capital permanently to Minas Anor.

In TA 2000, Minas Ithil was besieged by the Nazgûl, who captured it two years later. Osgiliath, by this time mostly ruined and deserted, became a no man's land between its two former fortresses, now called Minas Morgul and Minas Tirith.

The final blow came in TA 2475, when Uruks of Mordor overran Ithilien and captured Osgiliath. Though they were thrown back by Boromir, son of the then-Steward Denethor I, Osgiliath was finally ruined and completely abandoned, and its great bridge was broken.[2]

Third AgeEdit

War of the RingEdit

Boromir speech

Boromir's speech to the populace after the defense of the city keeping the western shore in TA 3018.

In TA 3019, Beregond recounted to Pippin how Gondor recaptured East Osgiliath a few decades before the War of the Ring (" the days of the youth of Denethor..."), for use as a military outpost and to secure a crossing of the Anduin. In June 3018, however, a detachment of Sauron's forces, led by a Nazgûl, again took the east bank, and the defenders, led by Boromir and Faramir, were forced to retreat, destroying the bridge they had built.[3]

Boromir in Osgiliath

Boromir's victory in Osgiliath.

Osgiliath was one of the few places between Rauros and the sea where large armies could cross the Anduin without needing many boats. Thus, a key part of Gondor's defensive strategy after the loss of East Osgiliath was to hold West Osgiliath and oppose any attempt at crossing the river. It was while he was on guard in West Osgiliath in February 3019 that Faramir saw Boromir's funeral boat. But when the Witch-king and his armies attacked Gondor in March 3019, it was revealed that Sauron's forces had secretly built many floats and barges in East Osgiliath. Though they met with determined opposition from Faramir and the Osgiliath garrison, they were able to cross with fewer casualties than the defenders had hoped, and Faramir ordered a general retreat to the Rammas Echor. When he led the bulk of his army to besiege Minas Tirith, the Witch-king left some reserves in Osgiliath. Gothmog later deployed these forces against Gondor and their allies in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.[4]

Fourth Age and BeyondEdit

After Sauron was defeated and the Fourth Age began, Aragorn II Elessar, the new King of Gondor, may have rebuilt the city, but he kept Minas Tirith as his capital. He rebuilt the ruined northern city of Annúminas and proclaimed it capital of his Northern kingdom.[citation needed]


Osgiliath in Sindarin means "Citadel of the Host of Stars"[5]: from ost ("city, town") and giliath ("host of stars").

Translations around the WorldEdit

Foreign Language Translated name
Amharic ዖስጊሊኣጥ
Armenian Ոսգիլիատհ
Belarusian Cyrillic Осгилиат
Bosnian Ozgiliat
Bulgarian Cyrillic осгилиат
Chinese (Hong Kong) 奧斯力亞古斯
Georgian ოსგილიათჰ
Greek Οσγκίλιαθ
Gujarati ઑસ્ગિલિઅથ
Hebrew אוסגיליאת
Hindi ओस्ज़ीलैथ
Japanese オスギリアス
Kannada ಒಸ್ಗಿಲಿಥ್
Kazakh Cyrillic Осгіліатһ
Korean 오스길리아스
Kurdish ئۆسگيلياته (Arabic script) Osgîliyath (Latin)
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Осгилиатч
Macedonian Cyrillic Осгилиатх
Marathi ओस्गिलिअथ
Mongolian Cyrillic Осгилиатh
Nepalese ॐस्गिलिअथ
Pashto وسګیلیاته
Persian ازگیلیات
Punjabi ਓਸ੍ਗਿਲਿਅਥ
Russian Осгилиат
Serbian Осгилиатх (Cyrillic) Osgiliath (Latin)
Tajik Cyrillic Осгилиатҳ
Telugu ఒసగిలియాత్
Ukrainian Cyrillic Осґіліат
Urdu عثگالیات
Uyghur وسگىلىاتھ ?
Uzbek Осгилатҳ (Cyrillic) Osgiliath (Latin)
Yiddish אָסגיליאַטה
Places of Middle-earth and Arda

Middle-earth Locations:


Dunland | Ithilien | Rohan | Arnor | Ettenmoors | Gondor | Lindon | Minhiriath | Rhûn | The Shire | Mordor | Harad | Forochel

Forests & Mountains:

Amon Dîn | Amon Hen | Amon Lhaw | Emyn Muil | Erebor | Fangorn Forest | High Pass | Iron Hills | Lórien | Mirkwood | Mount Doom | Old Forest | Redhorn Pass | Tower Hills | Weather Hills


Angband | Barad-dûr | Bree | Caras Galadhon | Dol Guldur | Fornost | Helm's Deep | Isengard | Minas Morgul | Minas Tirith | Osgiliath | Rivendell | Umbar | Utumno


Cair Andros | Gap of Rohan | Grey Havens | Buckland | Enedwaith | Dagorlad | Dead Marshes | Fords of Isen | Weathertop | Argonath

The rest of Arda:

Númenor | Dark Land | Aman (Valinor) | Tol Eressëa


  1. The Atlas of Middle-earth, The Second Age, "The Realms in Exile"
  2. The Return of the King, Appendix A: "Annals of the Kings and Rulers"
  3. The Fellowship of the Ring, Book II, Chapter 2: "The Council of Elrond"
  4. The Return of the King, Book I, Chapter 6: "The Battle of the Pelennor Fields"
  5. The Complete Guide to Middle-earth

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