Who built the fortress of Dol Goldur, and when was it built? And was it always a place for evil, or Sauron just occupied it?

Despite the fact that Mordor is much better fortified; artificially by the old fortifications, and geographically, as it is surrounded by the mountains. Also considering the presence of mount doom that seem to enhance Sauron's power, Sauron chose to start his campaign from Dol Goldur, despite Mordor being ready for quite some time.

Why did he choose this enigmatic fortress, and not go straight for Mordor or even go earlier?

1 Answer 1


Dol Guldur was built on a hill called Amon Lanc which was originally the capital of the elves of Mirkwood under King Oropher. However He was killed in the war of the last alliance and his son Thranduil moved the elves into northern mirkwood. When Sauron first returned after about 1000 years, Mordor was still watched by Gondor (Minas Ithil, The tower of Cirith Ungol, Narchost, Carchost etc). So it was safer to move into an abandoned stronghold while he was still weak

  • 5
    A good answer, but you should provide some sources for the Middle-Earth illiterate, like myself, that inhabit this system of tubes. Feb 14, 2014 at 12:20
  • Sorry I dont have the source material with me, But I believe that this comes mainly from the Appendices to the LOTR and also the Silmarillion (Of the rings of Power) Feb 14, 2014 at 12:22
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    The Amon Lanc historical material is covered in Unfinished Tales; Disaster of the Gladden Fields, notes 12 and 14.
    – user8719
    Feb 14, 2014 at 12:31
  • @StevenWood Could you be more precise who built it, the elves?
    – Ray
    Feb 14, 2014 at 15:04
  • Im not sure it was ever specified who actually built the fortress but I believe that the elves built it. This is speculation but I would imagine that Sauron could have taken Amon Lanc after his return from Numenor, which could be the reason why the elves fled, abandoning a perfectly good fortress. There was also something (i cant for the life of me remember where) about a race of creatures called "Mewlips" taking up residence in the cellars and dungeons, suggesting that the fortress was present before Sauron inhabited it Feb 14, 2014 at 15:14

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