Ruins of Ost-in-Edhil

Celebrimbor the Smith, the forger of the Great Rings, made his home here, as did the fairly disguised Sauron. Ost-in-Edhil was destroyed by Sauron's hordes in SA 1697 after the Elves discovered his treachery, and it's survivors fled to the havens of Lórien and RivendellMen now avoid the ruins out of fear of traps and baleful magic.

Ost-In-Edhil in the Second Age

The Fortress


Ost-in-Edhil -Floorplans

Ost-in-Edhil was one of the most beautiful and complex cities to grace Middle-earth. Although technically a fortress, the designs of the Noldor quickly outgrew the original intentions. Situated just downriver from the confluence of the Sirannon and Glanduin rivers, Ost-in-Edhil was built upon a bluff of granite. It looked westward over a long swell in the Glanduin, a small lake called by the Noldor Estelin (“pool of rest”). This lake was originally formed by a natural dam of rock further west, later enhanced by Noldorin engineers. Guarding the northwest edge of the city bluff was the small, swift river Iantalnith (“tumbling laughter") which drained the runoff from the rolling hills north of Ost-in-Edhil.

As one approached the city from the west, along the Tharbad Road, the nearby bank of the Glanduin became increasingly steep and rocky. At times the river was swift and even foamy, at others it widened and moved sluggishly. About thirty miles west of Ost-in-Edhil twin rectangular obelisks thirty feet tall flanked the way, and inscribed on the inner face of each were the words, in Westron and ]]Sindarin]]: “Ten leagues east lies The Fortress of the Eldar. May the Valar watch over your journey.” And below, in smaller, fine letters of ithildin (the mithril alloy which could only be seen under star and moonlight) were the words in Quenya: “ The Brotherhood of Jewelsmiths bids welcome to our kindred. " Beyond these impressive markers the road was wide and paved with smooth white flags, fitted skillfully together. The road climbed along with the bank, gracefully sloping upward, and after the river widened to become the Estelin, the gleaming city of marble might be seen nearly a league away. The copper roofs of the three towers and the bronze dome of the Council Hall were often visible in the afternoon sun. Nearing the city — now on a road a precipitous one hundred feet above the river — the traveller first cames upon two massive marble planters, twenty feet square and ten high. Flourishing in each was a large holly tree, symbol of Eregion. The “prow” of Ost-in-Edhil loomed to the east, four hundred feet tall. Beyond the holly trees lay a large track, gamecourts and an amphitheatre: the Noldor frequently tested their physical prowess in competitions and games, and enjoyed dramatic presentations of every variety. Over a graceful stone bridge one approached the northern section of town, much lower than the main section of the city. Past a number of hedged, triangular gardens. the traveller at last arrived at the Northgate, where mail-clad wardens would politely check a merchant's business, and make any necessary arrangements for the stabling of horses, carts, etc. A dizzying ride in one of the amazing ortani (or a long stair-climb for the squeamish) later one arrived in the beautiful fortress-city of the Eldar.

Other Places of Note


Ost-in-Edhil was partitioned into several districts, divided both by levels and by inner marble walls. These districts, generically called Telerim, sing. Talarem, (“flat sections of the grid") were connected by stone stairways and in some cases, by sophisticated lifts ("ortani"), with gateways to the higher levels guarded by wardens and large steel gates.

  • Aegnor's House:Seemingly “tied to the earth", one of the most rustic of the great houses in Ost-in-Edhil was Aegnor’s. Perhaps the design was inspired in part by his beautiful Sindarin wife Sulime, who lived many years in Menegroth, cavern-citadel of Doriath. All beneath one sheltering roof, the house spread out from a central hearth. The fireplace and all exterior walls were fashioned from rough-cut stones of earthen hue.Richly stained paneling and trim provided a feel of warmth, as did woven carpets in orange. reds and yellows.Aegnor's house was unpretentious and welcoming, an accurate extension of its master, for his home was often a gathering-place of many Elves seeking fellowship: a song, a glass of wine, or talk of projects to come.
  • Aldumar:This was a dining room facing a large garden and outdoor seating area. Across the way was a small inn.
  • Amphitheatre:the Noldor frequently tested their physical prowess in competitions and games, and enjoyed dramatic presentations of every variety.
  • Annatar's House:Soon after his arrival, Annatar was granted a place of his own upon which to build a house. The design was unlike any other in Ost-in-Edhil, being both more severe and more harshly symmetrical than any other in the city. lt resembled more a mausoleum of the dead Edain than a home for the living. The Eldar who dealt with the Lord of Gifts either chose not to notice, or simply discarded any criticism as closed-mindedness.The exterior of the house was faced in a black marble through which ran red~gold veins. The central dome itself was of polished gold on the outside, and a luminous pearl finish on the inside, where Annatar gret guests, The interior furnishings were mostly hard and smooth: polished marble walls and floors, unupholstered furniture of rare Dir-wood from the far north. All of the doors and windowframes (what few windows there were) were of a black metal with a dull luster. The windowpanes were of high glass — almost unbreakable — and did not open. A secret portal led down to a foul altar.
  • Ardhlarem: Just below the Tirannun was the Ardhlarem (“high city"), set three hundred feet above the water with fifteen foot high walls. Here were found the residences of the most prominent Noldor, as well as the more elite shops and inns.
  • Bakery: Ragnor the Baker did little more than intermittently supervise his crew of Silvan bakers, but his breads and cakes remained the most prized in the city.
  • the Bottomless Mug: Coincidentally very near Daniros’ Brewery this was a popular spot for many Silvan Elves to gather and sing. lt was frequently the scene of Vairimbre (“ — entangle") meaning anything from a rowdy party to a good natured brawl.
  • Brewery:Dantharos (“Man of Foam") was a Noldo of the House of Fingolfin, and so a possessor of the prized golden hair. He also had pale blue eyes, and a penchant for strong ale. He was master of his own brewery (operated by several Silvan Elves) and was generally acclaimed the best brewer in Eregion.
  • Celebrimbor's Home:Osteledan (S. “Fortress of the Silver-smith") Continuing the triangular motif of the city (the design for which Celebrimbor was primarily responsible), his house was isolated on a small rocky outcrop, connected to the city by a single bridge. The villa was palatial, and includes a large library, a laboratory, and three vaults. There was also a secret passage under the river connecting this house to the Mirdaithrond. The house was constructed primarily of grey-blue azurite, trimmed at the railings and frames with purple porphyry. The roof was of very resilient tiles painted and glazed to match the trim. At night, blue-tinted lanterns were lit along the perimeter walls, giving the villa an unusual luminous blue appearance Although Celebrimbor did not actually make the Three Rings here, much of his preliminary research was done in this house.
  • The Common Baths:Considerably larger than the Fountain Baths, these served a similar purpose for the majority of Sindar and Silvan Elves.
  • The Central Market
  • Council Hall and Library: This great structure held not only the domed Council Chamber, but the greatest library of the Noldor in Middle-earth, brought with them out of Beleriand. Although the Mirdaithrond had most of the texts on the physical arts and science, here were the histories, literature and songs of the people.
  • The East Garden: The Parth Rhûnen weretwo gardens, containing a variety of trees, including a large beech. In each was a small fountain surrounded by benches.
  • East-Gate and Stables:Similar in concept to the rectangular North-Gate, the eastern portal had two lifts as well as twin spiral stairs connecting the twelve floors of this high tower. At ground level were reinforced steel gates and numerous stables delved into the rock.
  • The Estelin
  • Estelisse: a three-story building faced in Malachite and trimmed with white wood. Facing the central plaza, it was an impressive structure, and the traveller would find the interior no disappointment. Twenty-four suites were all well furnished and each was fit for a king. Although — as mentioned earlier — Elves did not usually “sleep”, all rooms had comfortable beds for the convenience of mortal guests.
  • The forum and main marketplace: this wide open area was the daily scene of much trade and social intercourse. A great number of food-merchants had set up shop here. selling their comestibles to the city dwellers.
  • Fountain Baths:A favorite gathering place of the Noldor, this building featured the usual amenities: sauna, warm baths, and a swimming pool. More than a recreation area, the baths of Ost-in~Edhil (as was true of any city of this size) were a major social center.
  • Galadharm: Further east of the mid-city was the other residential section of the city, the Galadharm (“Wooded city"), again three hundred feet above the water. Here lived for the most part the Sindar and Silvan Elves who had choosen to reside within Ost-in-Edhil. This section had a different character than the Ardhlarem, bearing a larger number of trees and a generally more rustic atmosphere.
  • The Gamecourts
  • Gardener:Rúmil the Silvan Elf was a skilled gardener, though somewhat absent-minded. He had a tendency to wander in a dreamlike state at unlikely times.
  • Glassblowers:Although associated with the Gwaith-i-Mirdain, Celeglîn and his two sons prefered to live and work in the city proper, and were generally accepted as the finest glassblowers and cutters in Eregion. Occasionally a smith from the Halls would visit Celeglin to confer or seek advice on a technique related to glassworking.
  • Hall of the Gwaith-i-Cirdain:These large buildings housed materials for ship construction and were large enough to accommodate smaller ships in drydock.
  • Herb Baths:Repleted with several steam chambers, the Herb Baths featured a variety of diversions; most of the herbal steams had some sort of "effect" (relaxant, intoxicant, etc.). A central, invigorating pool was available when the sauna was complete.
  • High Citadel:Íntruding into the northern portion of the Galadharm was the High Citadel, which served as the home of the Guard of the city, and a last place of retreat in time of danger.
  • Houses of Healing:His house open to anyone in need of aid. Thalos the Healer was a widely trusted and respected Noldo. Although Elves were immune to disease and sickness, they could at times fall victim to injury. Two Sindar aided Thalos and tend the occasional patient who had to stay for an extended period.
  • Lay Healer:the beautiful Noldor woman Ariel was skilled and efficient, if perhaps chill of demeanor.
  • The Marble Planters
  • Medhlarem: This was the center of Ost-in-Edhil, at two hundred feet above the water line with twenty foot walls, the Middle City. This section was given over almost completely to commercial areas and storage.
  • Mindolini:All three of these bell-towers were essentially the same in design, no more than a hollow pillar of white marble with a steep spiral stair twisting up through the central core to a hexagonal platform at the top. This lookout was fifteen feet across and fully enclosed. Marble walls rose to three feet, and framed windows filled the remainder of the gap to a ten foot high ceiling.
  • North-Gate and Stables:Two lifts as well as twin spiral stairs connected the eight floors of the tower. At ground level were the gates — made of reinforced steel — and numerous stables delved into the rock. Within the stables were not only horses, but numerous beautiful palanquinss and carriages, transport for the Noldor to their country homes or other far-flung destinations.
  • The Ortani:These devices, called ortani (“to lift up") were no less than elevators, which, though manually operated, were cleverly designed and operated with smooth efficiency. There are not many of these machines, which were placed where a great height was spanned, or cargo was moved. Three were located adjacent to the docks, one in the central tower, and two in the each of the city gates. The last and undoubtedly most beautiful one was built against the wall behind Galadriel and Celeborn’s house. connecting their enclosure to the upper city. Though relatively short (65 feet high), it was an elegant glass-enclosed carriage clinging to the white marble wall. At night it was lit with many small lamps, looking like a strange, huge crystal and gold lantern as it glid skyward. The lifts were operated by counterweights and other complex mechanisms which acted to balance the weight of the passengers. Controlled externally by an operator, they ran on steel tracks supported by several cables. All could be locked at the top and disabled should the city be attacked.
  • Palace of Galadriel and Celeborn:Built of pale brown travertine marble, with its almost wood-grain like bands, the trim of this small but regal house was dark cherry,stained to almost black. The house was constructed upon the side of the granite bluff, so that the terraces and all rooms looked westward.lnterior furnishings tended to be simple but elegant, stressing organic comforts. When Galadriel left in 1375, They removed most of their possessions to their country house, where Celeborn retired. The city house was closed and never reinhabited.
  • Pelonde :The Fenced Haven was a small but well-protected harbor, serving mainly as a stopping-point for the bustling river trade along the wide Glanduin.The southernmost region of Ost-in-Edhil was adjacent to the Pelonde.
  • Pennahithri: Stepping down to the north of the city were the Pennahithri (“misty steps downward“), two shelves which followed the descending granite bluff towards the Lantalaith river. These were so named because they were considerably lower than even the Middle City, and on cool mornings the entire section was completely shrouded in mist, while the main city seemed even more like a great ship, sailing on a foggy sea.
  • Scribery - Neithan was the Master Scribe of Ost-in-Edhil and supervised maintenance of the Library, aided by nine Sindar. He had a considerable collection of his own here in his combined house/shop, where he also had three Elves in his employ, all of whom copied and transcribed various texts.
  • Seer:Orophin the Seer was a sulky, mysterious Noldo with curly black hair and ebony eyes. He habitually wore a full length hooded black robe over his large frame. Frequently seen in the company of Annatar (who was fair-haired and wore white) they were an odd pair.
  • Starwatch:Balglîn the Astrologer, by most peoples’ standards, was not a sane man. This had not always been the case, however. A friend of Galadriel’s,this short (5'8") grey-eyed Noldo was, in the early days of Eregion,a seemingly happy man of even temper and quick wit. He was also a forecaster of considerable skill,and very knowledgeable in the ways of the stars. It was curious that his mental abnormality developed soon after the arrival of Annatar to Ost-in-Edhil. Balglin‘s sense of humor departed, and he became a recluse, cloistered in his domed house, often studying the stars but telling nothing of what he saw. At last Galadriel, concerned for his welfare, visited him one summer night and tried to breakthrough his melancholy. The entire time he spoke only gibberish, except for one phrase: "The Noldor are trapped; Artano has entangled us in the Remmiranth!“ He gestured to his telescope, then collapsed. She called the best Healers in the city, who rushed him to the House of Healing. Galadriel looked in the telescope, and there illuminated were the Remmirath: the Net of Stars (also known to some mannish peoples as the Seven Sisters) but in the center was Earendil, the Evening Star, most beloved of the Elves. Balglin recovered his physical health, but would never speak again. Although the Noldorin Queen feared that Annatar was somehow responsible (some of the Noldor called him at times Artano: the High Smith), she had no proof.
  • Stone Bridge
  • Theatre:This domed chamber served the entire city, and was the site of many smaller dramatic productions (larger plays were put on in the large. outdoor amphitheatre).
  • Tingled Vine:A Tavern Serving a variety of wines as well as mead and beer, the Tingled Vine was an informal room with adjacent gazebo, all situated in a well-tended garden.
  • Tiranmin: The westernmost section Tiranmin (“western watch"), was some four hundred feet above the river and consisted of the West Garden, the small palace of Galadriel and Celeborn and the Council Hall.The outer walls of this section along the garden side were only five feet tall, allowing the inhabitants to see outwards. Note the two flanking areas, the northern one holding the Council hall, and the southern one enclosing the city palace of Celeborn and Galadriel. The walls of this southern enclosure slope downwards, allowing a wide view from the house.
  • Vingilot's Quay:The Inn, which name referred to the ship which bore Earendil and the Silmaril into the sky, was an elegant, quiet inn and dining room. All twelve rooms were for one or two occupants, though spacious and richly furnished.
  • Vintner: Carnil the Vintner had a shop here where he sold his vintages for coin or trade. Normally one of his daughters actually operated the shop, aided by a Sindarin clerk.
  • West Garden:The West Garden ("Parth Annún") Covered by a green lawn beneath poplars and birches, this westernmost tip of the city afforded a breathtaking view over the lake for many miles. Numerous carefully tended flowers bloomed here year-round,as well as Thurl, athelas, and other healing herbs. Many winding paths led through hedges to sheltered clearings, each with a marble bench for rest and contemplation.

Estates outside the City:

The Ruins of Ost-in-Edhil in later Times

Places of Note:

  • Ancient Foundation
  • City Remains
  • Collapsed Tower
  • Desecrated Ruins
  • Ruined Plaza
  • The Secret Chamber


Aegnor of Mirdaithrond Amroth Annatar Ariel the Healer Argwîr the Weaver Brethil the Herbalist Carnil the Vintner Celeborn the Wise Celebrimbor Celedring the Smith Curudol Danil Dantharos Elenril Enerdhil Fanari Faemîr Fenlómë Fincúlin Galadriel Helcamá Hemeldir Hirdûr Celeglîn Laerdan Lalaith Lalinyë Maenadar Moranari Narmeleth Narvi Neithan the Scribe Orophin the Seer Órëré Ragnor the Baker Rúmil the Gardener Súlicáno Sulimë Tathlîn Thalos the Healer Thranduil Balglîn

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