This article or section needs more/new/more-detailed sources to conform to a higher standard and to provide proof for claims made.
|Location||The centre of the Misty Mountains, a couple miles north of the Gladden river|
|Language||Khuzdul, Elvish, Westron|
- "After the end of the First Age the power and wealth of Khazad-dûm was much increased; for it was enriched by many people and much lore and craft. . ."
- ― Appendix A
Khazad-dûm (also known as Moria, The Black Chasm, The Black Pit, Dwarrowdelf, Hadhodrond, Casarrondo and Phurunargian) was the grandest and most famous of the mansions of the Dwarves. There, for many thousands of years, a thriving Dwarvish community created the greatest city ever known.
It lay in the central parts of the Misty Mountains, tunnelled and carved through the living rock of the mountains themselves. By the Second Age a traveler could pass through it from the west of the range to the east.
It was founded in very ancient days by Durin the Deathless. Durin woke at Mount Gundabad in the Misty Mountains, who came upon a shimmering lake beneath the mountain Celebdil, with a crown of stars reflected in its waters. He named that lake in the Dwarvish tongue, Kheled-zâram, the Mirrormere and it remained a revered place among Dwarves of all houses ever afterwards. There in the caves above started the building of Khazad-dûm and also Dwarrowdelf by Men, Hadhodrond by the Sindar, and Casarrondo by the Ñoldor.
Durin the Deathless thus became King Durin I of Khazad-dûm. Afterwards, other rulers of Khazad-dûm were sometimes named Durin, as they were considered to be his reincarnations, who the dwarves believed came to live again among his people.
As the millennia passed, the descendants of Durin sat upon the throne of Khazad-dûm, and their cavernous city became famous throughout the world. It even has a passing mention in Quenta Silmarillion, the tale of the Elf-lords and their wars far to the west, though to them it was no more than a distant rumour they heard from the Dwarves of the Blue Mountains on their borders.
The Noldor, out of Lindon, founded a country of their own by the western gates of Khazad-dûm, Eregion. A rare friendship sprang up between the Dwarves and the Elves of this new land. Eregion's ruler, Celebrimbor, helped to construct the famous and magical gate that became known as the West-gate of Moria, and indeed went so far as to present King Durin III with a Ring of Power. The friendship of Khazad-dûm and Eregion came to a sudden end, though, in II 1697, when Sauron overran the country of the Elves, and the doors of Khazad-dûm were sealed against his forces.
Eventually, Sauron was defeated and Khazad-dûm continued to thrive. Most of its great wealth was based on the Mithril that was found in its mines, and as the centuries passed, the Dwarves mined deeper and deeper for the precious metal. In the year III 1980, they dug too deep, and unleashed a nameless terror from the depths beneath the city. The creature wreaked dreadful destruction, and in slaying the then King, Durin VI, became known as Durin's Bane. In the following year, Durin's son, Náin I, was also lost, and the Dwarves fled their ancient home.
After millennia as one of the richest cities in Middle-earth, Khazad-dûm stood dark and empty, but for the brooding menace the Dwarves had released. In that time it was given a new name, Moria, the Black Pit.
The monster - a Balrog of Morgoth, as was later known - lurked alone in Moria for nearly five hundred years. After that time, the old city of Khazad-dûm began to be peopled again, but not by Dwarves. Goblins from the North began to enter the abandoned city to raid its treasuries, and they eventually colonized it. They also began to worship the Balrog as their deity. Soon afterwards, Sauron directed his creatures there, and Moria began to fill with Orcs and Trolls from Mordor. Though the orcs' numbers were greatly reduced in the Battle of Nanduhirion, fought in the valley beneath Moria's East-gate in III 2799, the Balrog could not be bested, and Khazad-dûm remained a citadel of darkness.
Several Dwarven generations later, there was an attempt by the Longbeards to reclaim their ancient home. The expedition was led by Balin, who had accompanied Bilbo Baggins on the Quest of Erebor. He led a colony of Dwarves there from Erebor in III 2989. Though he was successful at first, he was eventually defeated and slain by the Orcs.
The Fellowship's passage
When Frodo Baggins set out from Rivendell with the Fellowship, they at first planned to travel over the Misty Mountains. When they were stopped by heavy snow on Mount Caradhras, they found themselves pursued by wolves and Orcs, and fled into Moria, so as to go under the mountains. There, they found Balin's journal in the Book of Mazarbul and learned the fate of his expedition. They were then set upon by a host of Trolls and Orcs, and they discovered that the terror was, in fact, a Balrog of Morgoth. Gandalf fought the Balrog on a narrow bridge and succeeded in destroying a section of bridge to make the Balrog fall. As it fell, the Balrog snagged Gandalf's leg with its whip of thongs and pulled him after it, sending them both plunging into the abyss spanned by the bridge. The rest of the Fellowship managed to escape Moria and reach Lórien mostly unharmed.
Unknown to the Fellowship, both Gandalf and the Balrog survived the fall and fought a ferocious battle from the depths of Moria to the mountains above, demolishing the top of the legendary Endless Stair and a part of the surrounding mountain peak in the process. Gandalf cast down the Balrog upon the mountainside and lived just long enough to see it die, but his story was not yet ended. (See Gandalf's entry for further details.)
While Gandalf had felled the Balrog, Moria remained a place of evil creatures until the Fourth Age.
Retaking and Reign of Durin VII
Though little information is given, the taking of Khazad-dûm by Durin VII seems to have occurred during the Fourth Age. He became King of Durin's Folk, and led a final return to the city. It seems he was successful, so that long after the War of the Ring, the Dwarves of Durin's line reclaimed their inheritance, and the hammers rang again in their great halls beneath the Misty Mountains until the race of Dwarves ended.
Khazad-dûm was a huge array of chambers, passages, mines, halls, stores and pits. In general, areas were either classed as mines or city. The mines were working sections of Khazad-dûm whilst the city was the area of habitation.
The city areas of Khazad-dûm were clustered mainly to the east; these were the oldest parts of the kingdom and had good access to the Great Gates. They were structured into seven Levels and seven Deeps. The Levels stretched above the gate whilst the Deeps were set deeper within the mountain below the level of the East-gate. It is possible that the First Level (on which the Great Gates were set) and the First Deep were highly intertwined.
The eastern section of the city spaces had also been delved in such a manner as to have light shafts to illuminate their chambers. One example of this is the Chamber of Mazarbul which was located on the eastern edge of the Seventh Level.
The mine areas of Khazad-dûm were interlaced with the city spaces, but spread also westward toward the Doors of Durin. The mines ran deeper and further than any other tunnels within Khazad-dûm, and it is possible that more of the lower Deeps were given over to mining, although this is only conjecture.
The defined change between mines and city can be seen when the Fellowship pass through Moria - there is a marked difference between the early passages and chambers and those of the city structures illuminated by Gandalf.
Far below Moria, there are abysses, spaces and tunnels not known even by the Dwarves, but known by the Balrog. Unknown beings gnaw the earth and make them, far from the knowledge of any lore.
The name Khazad-dûm in Khuzdul means "Dwarves' Mansion(s)". Khazâd being the plural of khuzd "Dwarves" while dûm (or possibly rather tûm) a word for "excavation(s), hall(s), mansion(s)" (it is not clear if the second word is in singular or plural form)
The common name Moria was Elvish for "Black Chasm" because the Elves understood the mines as such, and it was considered derogatory by the Dwarves.
Portrayal in Adaptations
This article or section is a stub. Please help Tolkien Gateway by expanding it.