western Harnen detail

Harnen and tributaries

River Harnen (S. "Southern River" Har."Saromís") issued forth from the black rocks of the Nargil Pass or Cirith Núrn in the southern Ephel Duath, flowed south to the gorges of Kres Lugal, and then continued south to the city of Korb Taskral where it then turned westward toward the coast.

The volcanic peaks of the mountains spilled winter rains into the highlands of the Emyn Gonngaran (Ausk Dubat) of Near Harad, which further fed the Harnen.The Harnen flowed south from the pass to the gorges of Kres Lugal. Here the river plunged into the canyons in a great cataract during the spring flood. Unlike many of the waters drawn from the Ephel Duath, those of the Harnen ran sweet and clear. From the Kres Lugal the river flowed south, past the famous trading city of Al Amrûn, and then meandered westward through some of the richest irrigated croplands in Middle-earth. Almost six hundred miles from its source, the Harnen became a broad estuary and mixed with the waters of the Bay of Belfalas.

The Harnen long defined the southern and eastern borders of Harondor, two hundred miles south of the Poros. Many in southern Gondor believed the Harnen was so named because it was the first major river south of their frontier. Scholars and archivists with access to ancient númenorean maps knew, however, that the Harnen was named by Tar-Aldarion during his youthful explorations of the coasts of Middle-Earth in the early Second Age. As it wound its way to the sea, the Harnen cutted deeply into the surrounding sandstone hills and deep escarpments paralleling the river's course for most of its length. The resultant river valley vaned in width from few hundred feet near its headwaters in the Cirith Núrn to over forty miles near its mouth. The Kres Lugal, almost seven hundred feet deep in places, was spectacular, but was nonetheless passable enough for a major road, the Rak Chelkar, to run alongside the river all along its length. Both the Ode Auchel and the Ode Pezar, which joined the Harnen at Lugarlur and Al Amrûn respectively, almost doubled the river's flow. The lower reach of the Harnen meandered considerably, particularly after the Carnen joined it in Harondor. Upstream of their juncture, the river valley width vaned from under a mile to over ten, but averaged less that three. Ships could sail upstream on the Harnen as far as the Carnen. Beyond that, only shallow draft boats could navigate the river past Amrun, though portages over bars were sometimes required. The spring floods altered the river's course from year to year, making any settlement along its banks problematic, however, farms were plentiful, with buildings located above the flood plain and the fields below to take advantage of the benefits of the flood.


  • MERP:Southern Gondor:The Land
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