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Official Site: J. R. R. Tolkien
In J. R. R. Tolkien's fictional universe of Middle-earth, Mordor (pronounced ; from Sindarin Black Land and Quenya Land of Shadow) was the dwelling place of Sauron, in the southeast of northwestern Middle-earth to the East of Anduin, the great river. Orodruin, a volcano in Mordor, was the destination of the Fellowship of the Ring (and later Frodo Baggins and Sam Gamgee) in the quest to destroy the One Ring. Mordor was unique because of the three enormous mountain ranges surrounding it, from the north, from the west and from the south. The mountains both protected the land from an unexpected invasion by any of the people living in those directions and kept those living in Mordor from escaping. Tolkien was reported to have identified Mordor with the volcano of Stromboli off Sicily.
Three sides of Mordor were bounded by mountain ranges, arranged in a rough rectangle: Ered Lithui, translated as 'Ash Mountains' in the north, the Ephel Dúath ("Fence of Shadow") in the west, and a range of unknown name in the south. In the northwest the pass of Cirith Gorgor led into the enclosed plain of Udûn. Sauron built the Black Gate of Mordor (the Morannon) across the pass, joining the Towers of the Teeth, two earlier guard towers built by Gondor to keep a watch on this entrance. The passage through the inner side of Udûn into the interior of Mordor was guarded by another gate, the Isenmouthe. Outside the Morannon lay the Dagorlad or Battle Plain.
In the interior within this mountainous border lay Sauron's main fortress Barad-dûr, the arid plateau of Gorgoroth, and Mount Doom. To the east lay the plain of Lithlad. A narrow pass led through the Ephel Dúath, guarded by Minas Morgul (earlier Minas Ithil). A higher, more difficult pass, Cirith Ungol, just to the north, was guarded by a tower originally built by Gondor. This pass, "the pass of the spider", was also blockaded by Torech Ungol, the lair of the giant spider Shelob. The fortress Durthang lay in the northern Ephel Dúath above Udûn.
Núrn, the southern part of Mordor, was less arid and more fertile. Streams here fed the salt Sea of Núrnen. This region was farmed by Sauron's slaves to support his armies.
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