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This article is about the fortress. For the place in Mordor, see Udûn.
Background Information
Type Fortress
Location Iron Mountains[1]
Founded/Built Around the Valian Year 3400[2]
Ruler Melkor
Other Information
Summary Known for being Melkor's first fortress of Darkness with pits extending deep into the earth
Other names Udûn
Inhabitants Dark servants and slaves of Melkor
Spoken Languages
Lifespan Valian Year? - VY 1099[2]

Utumno was the first fortress of Melkor in the far North of Middle-earth before he destroyed the Two Trees of Valinor and before even the First Age.


Utumno was delved very deep into the flesh of the Earth. Here Melkor built his first of many dungeons and deep halls of obsidian, fire, and ice. Utumno had many hundreds of caves, tunnels, corners, and rooms, which allowed many things to remain hidden and secret for a very long time.[1]


When the world was young and Arda was bathed in the light of the two lamps Illuin and Ormal, it was then Melkor first dug the great Pits of Utumno deep beneath the mountains of the North. The fortress was constructed in the North in the Iron Mountains over one-thousand miles from Angband, where the light of the lamps was almost nonexistent.[1]

Here were gathered all the evil powers of the World under the Lord of Darkness. Their numbers were vast, and Melkor twisted many beautiful things into horrifying and dreadful forms. All the great evils of the world were bred in this place. He also bred trolls, "made in mockery" of the ents as stated by Treebeard. It is likely that orcs were first bred here by torturing, mutilating, and corrupting lost Elves. Cruel spirits, phantoms, wraiths, and evil demons stalked the halls of Utumno and haunted the surrounding forests; all were under the command of Melkor and his fallen Maiar servants: Gothmog the Balrog and Sauron the Sorcerer.

From Utumno, Melkor poisoned and interfered with all the Valar's work done during the Spring of Arda. Soon afterwards, Melkor and his servants waged his war against the lamps of the Valar and struck them down, ruining the world, and forcing the Valar to move further west onto the continent of Aman.[3]

Utumno endured for many more millennia well into the beginnings of the Elves at Cuiviénen during the Years of the Trees when Middle-earth lay in the light of stars. Taking advantage of the new arrivals, Melkor captured some of them and thus, the hideous race of orcs was bred. Knowing that Melkor would continue to be a blight upon the world, the Valar decided to protect the elves by ending his power in the north. Amidst the sounding of the trumpets, the Valar came out of the west, and after the Battle of the Powers Utumno was besieged and destroyed in VY 1099.[2] and Melkor was chained for about three thousand years.[4]


Utumno was the Quenya word for "Underworld", also known as Udûn (Sindarin for Hell).[5]

Earlier versions of the legendariumEdit

Earlier texts referred to it as the Fortress of the North[6] or Utumna.[7]

Translations around the WorldEdit

Foreign Language Translated name
Chinese (Taiwan) 烏圖姆諾
Chinese (Mainland) 乌图姆诺
Chinese (Hong Kong) 烏塔莫
Georgian უთუმნო
Kyrgyz Утумно
Macedonian Утумно
Russian Утумно
Serbian Утумно (Cyrillic) Utumno (Latinised)
Tajik Утумно
Dark Lord Realms throughout the Ages
Years of the Lamps Utumno First Age Angband · Dor Daedeloth
Second Age Gundabad · Mordor Third Age Angmar · Mordor
Angband | Barad-dûr | Black Gate | Carchost | Dol Guldur | Durthang | Narchost | Minas Morgul | Tol-in-Gaurhoth | Tower of Cirith Ungol | Towers of the Teeth


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Atlas of Middle-earth, The First Age, The Elder Days, "Introduction"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 10: Morgoth's Ring, The Annals of Aman
  3. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter I: "Of the Beginning of Days"
  4. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter III: "Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor"
  5. The Complete Guide to Middle-earth
  6. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 1: The Book of Lost Tales Part One, X: "Gilfanon's Tale: The Travail of the Noldoli and the Coming of Mankind"
  7. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 1: The Book of Lost Tales Part One, III: "The Coming of the Valar and the Building of Valinor"

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