A map of Gondolin from The Silmarillion
by J.R.R. Tolkien.
Done again with support of my favorite Tolkien loremasters Ominously
and M.L. But this time in large amount it is result of guessing and constructing based on descriptions from The Fall of Gondolin
(The Book of Lost Tales II)
and the map from The Atlas of Middle-earth
Digital drawing done in Photoshop. Of course some statues and more important buildings are bigger than they would be naturally, other way they would get lost in a sea of small houses/shapes. I started with much smaller buildings and more streets, but abandoned that idea, enlarged the buildings and continued from there. Then I redrew and messed around a lot till I had a final b&w map in April. Blues were added in summer and final details in the last days. I still hope to color it one day or redrew to test alternative ideas I had for this map. But for now here it is - Gondolin in blues.
If you want a print
, I've placed a non labeled version at www.redbubble.com/people/sirie…
Follow me at www.facebook.com/sirielleart/ Close up
with some of the figures described & labeled.
Notes for Tolkien Geeks
There were some contradictions in the text, so we had to choose one variant or construct something new. Like - is the hill on which the castle stands the highest point of the city or is it Gar Ainion? Was GA a building, a temple or a place? (I chose something between a place and a temple, as you see.) The roads order/placement in some passages didn't match, too. In general it is based more on the text than the map from The Atlas of Middle-earth
, though I started sketching looking at the atlas map. We also decided to exclude the King's Road visible on the atlas map since we didn't find in the source text. Or to be precise - my loremasters didn't find it; I wasn't browsing the text but building
The map in the atlas is also more simplified, representing a city too small to host the population of which 10,000 men Turgon brought to Nirnaeth Arnoediad. Those 10 000 men probably had families in the city and there must have been other guards and civilians who didn't go to war, so the city had to be bigger. Michael Martinez
wrote an essay about the possible population of Gondolin (or in general Noldor in Beleriand), find it if you are interested in numbers
The city is still too small, but I left some space to build more houses
According to the text Noldorin architects flattened the whole hill of Amon Gwareth, leaving only the higher top for the king's castle, thus the city is more or less flat and easy to walk. But according to the text Gar Ainion was also the highest point in the city - both the King's Place and GA are being described as the highest points in the city (though in different text passages), so I decided GA was the second highest after the King, and was another natural remnant of the original hill left. Canals with water flow from the well/spring in the center - the Place of the Well / Square of the Folk Well - and fall outside the city walls; more than I drew.
I moved the Tower of the King from the center of King's place to the castle, so it is the tallest of castle towers. There was no way to do it as stand alone tower in a way I would like it. The trees Glingal and Belthil, which Turgon made himself in memory of the Two Trees of Valinor, stand on both sides of the king's castle. It looks like they were made of metal, with gold for Glingal and silver for Belthil. There were also two deep fountains on the King's Square - "The fountains shot twenty-seven fathoms into the air
(50m), and white birds dwelt in the trees, singing beautiful songs."
It was probably one of those fountains where Ecthelion died in a duel with Gothmog (drowning the balrog in it).
As I wrote under one close up I posted earlier - I couldn't decide if the city was parted with walls inside (being build up of many smaller walled cities) or had an open plan inside of the great wall guarding it. Also what style do I really want for the buildings. Finally I chose the option of an open city, a huge park with villas and palaces and castles inside. There is a fortress for every of the twelve houses inside of it; the houses serve as military centers in the city. Placement of the houses is hypothetical, as I remember only the House of the Harp is clearly described as being north of the Lesser Market, so this one is more or less canonical. Houses are placed on the outer parts of the city and a few in the center - should citizens need to hide behind walls there is always a fortress in neighborhood. Of course this will mean nothing when facing dragons... but there were no dragons when they built it. The XII Houses with labels
There are only 2 gates on the atlas map and an extra place/fortification on it's south which we decided to skip. Again there was no description of it in the sources. There are usually gates/roads close to markets so we decided to add the two other gates to have one gate for each side of the world. Noldor would like such symmetry, I believe, even if they rarely used the extra gates. The Main gate had the best uphill approach, while the Northern gate with narrow approach was closest to the mine of Anghabar in the North, so these two gates were used most often. This is one of reasons why I placed the House of the Mole in the NW part of the city - Maeglin would prefer to be close to the Northern gate I guess; and the same time not too close to Tuor.
Placement of Tuor's house is based on the text, but could be in any of the houses close to the towers on the southern wall and the fountains. Ecthelion got his fortress close to the Fountains of the South since musicians used to dwell there. The Hammer of Wrath got the first place near teh Main Gate since they were most eager to defend Gondolin and fight the enemy. The richest of the houses - the Heavenly Arch - got it's place close to the king's castle, as did The Wing which I imagine being king's guard, right after king's own men.
Idril's secret passage is not on the map.
If you had patience to read it all
and have any comments, let me know!
Older b&w closeup of the Main Gate / Great Gate (Wielka Brama):
Polskie napisy (Polish labels):
The continent on which it is placed: