HASA Resources

Places in Middle-earth

Moria

Type: Cities, Towns, Settlements

Region: Rhovanion/Misty Mtns

Meaning: Black Chasm

Other Names
Khazad-dûm (Khuzdul): 'Mansion of the Khazâd' or 'Delving of the Dwarves'
Dwarrowdelf (English): 'Dwarf-delving'
Phurunargian (Westron): 'Dwarf-delving'
Hadhodrond (Sindarin): 'Dwarf-delving' (earlier Elvish name)
Moria (Sindarin): 'Black Chasm' (later Elvish name)

Location: A vast complex of chambers and tunnels delved by the Dwarves in the Misty Mountains beneath the Mountains of Moria: Caradhras, Celebdil, and Fanuidhol.

Description:

'I need no map,' said Gimli.... 'There is the land where our fathers worked of old, and we have wrought the image of those mountains into many works of metal and of stone....

'... I know... their names, for under them lies Khazad-dûm, the Dwarrowdelf, that is now called the Black Pit, Moria in the Elvish tongue. Yonder stands Barazinbar, the Redhorn, cruel Caradhras; and beyond him are Silvertine and Cloudyhead: Celebdil the White, and Fanuidhol the Grey, that we call Zirakzigil and Bundushathûr.

'There the Misty Mountains divide, and between their arms lies the deep-shadowed valley which we cannot forget: Azanulbizar, the Dimrill Dale, which the Elves call Nanduhirion.'

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 3, The Ring Goes South

'The wealth of Moria was not in gold and jewels, the toys of the Dwarves; nor in iron, their servant. Such things they found here, it is true, especially iron; but they did not need to delve for them: all things that they desired they could obtain in traffic. For here alone in the world was found Moria-silver, or true-silver as some have called it: mithril is the Elvish name.'

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 3, The Ring Goes South

'It cannot be less than forty miles from West-door to East-gate in a direct line....'

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 4, A Journey in the Dark

As the wizard passed... up the great steps, he held his staff aloft, and from its tip there came a faint radiance. The wide stairway was sound and undamaged. Two hundred steps they counted, broad and shallow; and at the top they found an arched passage with a level floor leading on into the dark.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 3, The Ring Goes South

The passage twisted round a few turns, and then began to descend. It went steadily down for a long while before it became level once again. The air grew hot and stifling, but it was not foul, and at times they felt currents of cooler air upon their faces, issuing from half-guessed openings in the walls. There were many of these. In the pale ray of the wizard's staff, Frodo caught glimpses of stairs and arches and of other passages and tunnels, sloping up, or running steeply down, or opening blankly dark on either side. It was bewildering beyond hope of remembering.

Gimli... was not... troubled by the mere darkness in itself. Often the wizard consulted him at points where the choice of way was doubtful; but it was always Gandalf who had the final word. The Mines of Moria were vast and intricate beyond the imagination of Gimli, Glóin's son, dwarf of the mountain-race though he was.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 3, The Ring Goes South

There were not only many roads to choose from, there were also in many places holes and pitfalls, and dark wells beside the path in which their passing feet echoed. There were fissures and chasms in the walls and floor, and every now and then a crack would open right before their feet. The widest was more than seven feet across.... The noise of churning water came up from far below, as if some great mill-wheel was turning in the depths.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 3, The Ring Goes South

Before [Gandalf] stood a wide dark arch opening into three passages: all led in the same general direction, eastwards; but the left-hand passage plunged down, while the right-hand climbed up, and the middle way seemed to run on, smooth and level but very narrow....

He held up his staff in the hope of finding some marks or inscription that might help his choice; but nothing of the kind was to be seen....

To the left of the great arch they found a stone door: it was half closed, but swung back easily to a gentle thrust. Beyond there seemed to lie a wide chamber cut in the rock....

He went in cautiously.... Before his feet they saw a large round hole like the mouth of a well. Broken and rusty chains lay at the edge and trailed down into the black pit. Fragments of stone lay near....

'This seems to have been a guardroom, made for the watching of the three passages,' said Gimli. 'That hole was plainly a well for the guards' use, covered with a stone lid. But the lid is broken, and we must all take care in the dark.'

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 3, The Ring Goes South

They seemed to have passed through some arched doorway into a black and empty space....

[For] a second they saw a vast roof far above their heads upheld by many mighty pillars hewn of stone. Before them and on either side stretched a huge empty hall; its black walls, polished and smooth as glass, flashed and glittered. Three other entrances they saw, dark black arches: one straight before them eastwards, and one on either side.

'There used to be great windows on the mountain-side, and shafts leading out to the light in the upper reaches of the Mines.'

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 3, The Ring Goes South

They found themselves in a wide corridor.... [The] glimmer... came through a doorway on their right. It was high and flat-topped, and the stone door was still upon its hinges, standing half open. Beyond it was a large square chamber....

The chamber was lit by a wide shaft high in the further eastern wall..., far above, a small square patch of blue sky could be seen. The light of the shaft fell directly on a table in the middle of the room: a single oblong block, about two feet high, upon which was laid a great slab of white stone.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 4, A Journey in the Dark

The Company stood silent beside the tomb of Balin....

'I now know where we are. This must be, as Gimli says, the Chamber of Mazarbul; and the hall must be the twenty-first of the North-end. Therefore we should leave by the eastern arch of the hall, and bear right and south, and go downwards. The Twenty-first Hall should be on the Seventh Level, that is six above the level of the Gates.'

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 5, The Bridge of Khazad-dûm


History
Durin... slept alone, until in the deeps of time and the awakening of [the Dwarves] he came to Azanulbizar, and in the caves above Kheled-zâram in the east of the Misty Mountains he made his dwelling, where afterwards were the Mines of Moria renowned in song.

The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: Durin's Folk

[The] halls of Khazad-dûm were too deep and strong and filled with a people too numerous and valiant for Sauron to conquer from without. Thus its wealth remained long unravished, though its people began to dwindle.

The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: Durin's Folk

The power of Sauron, servant of Morgoth, was then again growing in the world, though the Shadow in the Forest that looked towards Moria was not yet known for what it was. All evil things were stirring. The Dwarves delved deep at that time, seeking beneath Barazinbar for mithril, the metal beyond price that was becoming yearly ever harder to win. Thus they roused from sleep a thing of terror that, flying from Thangorodrim, had lain hidden at the foundations of the earth since the coming of the Host of the West: a Balrog of Morgoth. Durin was slain by it, and the year after Náin I, his son; and then the glory of Moria passed, and its people were destroyed or fled far away.

The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: Durin's Folk

'[No] dwarf has dared to pass the doors of Khazad-dûm for many lives of kings, save Thrór only, and he perished. At last, however, Balin listened to the whispers, and resolved to go; and though Dáin did not give leave willingly, he took... many of our folk, and they went away south....

'For a while... messages reported that Moria had been entered and a great work begun there. Then there was silence....'

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 2, The Council of Elrond

'They seem to have made a last stand by both doors,' [Gandalf] said; 'but there were not many left by that time. So ended the attempt to retake Moria!'

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 5, The Bridge of Khazad-dûm


Etymology
mor  'dark' in Mordor, Morgoth, Moria, Moriquendi, Mormegil, Morwen, etc.

The Silmarillion, Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names

ia  'void, abyss' in Moria.

The Silmarillion, Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names

Contributors:
Lyllyn 15Jun03
Elena Tiriel 13Nov04, 14Feb10

Related Library Entries

Places Search

   

Full Text Search


Search runs slowly