Cirith Ungol

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Post  Yrobryn on Tue Jun 09, 2009 2:02 pm

The name is Sindarin for Spider's Cleft, or Pass of the Spider, presumably referring to the guardian of the pass, Shelob; it is the pass through the western mountains of Mordor and the one of two entrances to that land from the West (the other being the Morgul Pass). It was guarded by the Tower of Cirith Ungol, built by the Men of Gondor after the War of the Last Alliance, but occupied by Orcs at the time of the Lord of the Rings.
Its principal purpose was to defend Ithilien and Minas Ithil (later known as Minas Morgul) from attacks from Sauron's remaining servants. For that reason its two bastions were directed to the north and southeast. It also served to stop Sauron's servants from deserting Mordor.
Gondor occupied the fortress probably until T.A. 1636 when the Great Plague killed large parts of Gondor's population. After the Plague Gondor never again occupied Cirith Ungol and evil was allowed to return to Mordor. The fortress was associated with the mountain fortress of Durthang in Northwestern Mordor, and the Towers of the Teeth at the Morannon. All three fortifications were taken over by Orcs once the Gondorians had abandoned them.
During the Quest of the Ring Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee were led to this pass by Gollum to Torech Ungol, the lair of the giant spider-like creature Shelob who dwelt there.

Cirith Ungol Cirithungol-lee

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