Tharbad: ON HOLD

Player name(s): Yannig, Creepyboy (previously Ytsen)

Player rank: Builder plus and Overseer.

Private or Public: Public in some sections

Location name: Tharbad


Tharbad starts out as a Númenórean settlement on the Gwathló, settled somewhere in the Second Age. The ford is first mentioned in SA 883. It is where Númenórean king Tar-Aldarion first meets Galadriel, who dwells in Eregion at that time. Several decades later, if not centuries, the Númenóreans start to interact more closely with the area around Tharbad.

Enedwaith and Minhiriath are the sites of many lumber camps. The timber is used for the harbour at Lond Daer. Lond Daer is described as “the site of a new haven entirely under Númenórean control…[which] was in origin a timber-port and ship-building harbour”. Tharbad is likely to have been a fortress-town, providing safety to the Númenóreans harvesting the trees, protecting them from Dunlendings and druedain raids.

Sauron invades Eregion in SA 1695, which is looted and razed shortly after. The gates of Moria close. In SA 1700 almost all of Eriador is held by Sauron.

“Then Tar-Minastir the [Númenórean] King sent out a great navy; but it was delayed, and did not reach the coasts of Middle-earth until the year 1700. By that time Sauron had mastered all Eriador, save only besieged Imladris, and had reached the line of the River Lhûn. He had summoned more forces, which were approaching from the south-east, and were indeed in Enedwaith at the Crossing of Tharbad, which was only lightly held. Gil-galad and the Númenóreans were holding the Lhûn in a desperate defence of the Grey Havens when in the very nick of time the great armament of Tar-Minastir came in; and Sauron’s host was heavily defeated and driven back. The Númenórean admiral Ciryatur sent part of his ships to make a landing further to the south.”

Sauron’s flight and the ensuing battle are described in more detail: "Sauron was driven away south-east after a great slaughter at Sarn Ford (the crossing of the Baranduin); and though strengthened by his force at Tharbad he suddenly found a host of the Númenóreans again in his rear, for Ciryatur had put a strong force ashore at the mouth of the Gwathló (Greyflood), ‘where there was a small Númenórean harbour’…

“In the Battle of the Gwathló Sauron was routed utterly and he himself only narrowly escaped. His small remaining force was assailed in the east of Calenardhon, and he with no more than a bodyguard fled to the region afterwards called Dagorlad (Battle Plain), whence broken and humiliated he returned to Mordor and vowed vengeance upon Númenor. The army that was besieging Imladris was caught between Elrond and Gil-galad and utterly destroyed. Eriador was cleared of the enemy, but lay largely in ruins.”

Enedwaith and Minhiriath are already devoid of trees when Sauron is defeated. Tolkien writes: "When Sauron was at last defeated and driven east out of Eriador most of the old forests had been destroyed. The Gwathló flowed through a land that was far and wide on either bank a desert, treeless but untilled".

A hundred years pass after the war. From SA 1800 onwards the Númenóreans start to establish permanent dominions in Middle-Earth. They start extorting the local population and levy heavy taxes and duties. While this mostly applies to the regions directly east of Númenór, a similar practice can be expected along the Greyflood. Only minor growth of this area -if any, since most riches were to be found near Umbar. Tharbad is still unreachable by (sea-going) ships.

In SA 3320 Arnor and Gondor are founded after the Downfall of Númenor. Annúminas becomes capital of Arnor, whereas Osgiliath becomes the capital of Gondor. Tharbad becomes the link between the two kingdoms. “In the early days of the kingdoms the most expeditious route from one to the other (except for great armaments) was found to be by sea to the ancient port at the head of the estuary of the Gwathlo and so to the river-port of Tharbad, and thence by the road”. A bridge is constructed, for which the immense labour was shared by the North and South Kingdoms. The town and haven about the great bridge are fortified. Tharbad prospers. "With long labour a port capable of receiving seagoing vessels had been made at Tharbad, and a fort raised there on great earthworks on both sides of the river, to guard the once famed Bridge of Tharbad".


Overhead plan:

In-game guide:

Link → Greyflood forts and villages thread

Will raise the ramp, make the city a swamp.
Will show the floodings by emulating breached levees
Please PM me if you have a good idea for the harbour areas
Reference Imagery:



The fortress looking something like this


Builds (which will be ruined)


I have a pretty good idea of how i want the city. Tharbad will look much like Annuminas, with the exception that only the forts, the bridge and the ramp leading up to it will be clearly visible. The residential area will look a bit like annuminas, but with a lot less buildings made out of stone. Stagnant pools will be all over this area, and the poorer areas will not be visible at all.

I’m not too sure of where I want the harbour areas to be, and how they ought to look (shapewise). Which is why i’d like some input from the community. Does anyone have any good ideas? You could draw them on the layout map in this thread or draw them on a screenshot of the dynmap. Open to other feedback as well!


How will you show the remnants of the people who lived in the city after Arnor/Gondor abandoned it, given that they lived there less than 100 years ago?

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Okay so I tried to do some research in the matter since it could end up being useful for Gondor as well.


This is what remains of the river harbor of Aquileia, one of the most important roman cities in the North of Italy. The river that once flew thru the city has almost disappeared, but back in the day it was very shallow with a slow water flow. This allowed them to tie up and unload the ships directly on the riverside, without any kind of protected harbor.

Something I find interesting is the presence of these little lateral channels that allowed them to take the smaller ships directly into the warehouses built along the bank.




This is what remains of a roman harbor + drydock near Narni, a city in the centre of Italy many km away from the sea built along a very narrow river. What they did here is quite impressive: in order to obtain a suitable slot for the drydock, they litterally cut an artificial canal on the mountainside, 280 m long, 16 m wide and 6 m deep. Then they used the rock walls on the two sides as the actual walls of the facility and simply covered a piece of the canal with a roof. What you see on the picture is the lower end of the canal, showing the water level control system.

I think we can try to combine the 2 examples. Since the Gwathlo in this area is quite wide and shallow due to the ford, originally the docks could have been built in the same way of those in Aquileia (so with the warehouses directly on the riverbank and the little side-canals leading into them) and could easily show a similar state of decay. But for the drydocks they would need an artificial canal where the water could be more easily controlled. Down here is a suggestion of how I would implement it, but that’s just a matter of personal taste and you can organize it as you like.


Thank you, this is great

Quick citation coming from the Greyflood/Gwathlo Fort and Town Ruins :

devastating floods associated with the thaw from the Fell Winter of 2912 swept away Tharbad and its satellite towns

Tharbad’s harbor is probably still visible in some way but I would make it even more destroyed than the rest of the infrastructures.
I am making a planning for CTown4 at the moment and I won’t even bother with its harbor except for some warehouses.

When you quote things it’s important to quote the source. That doesn’t sound like something Tolkien wrote to me. Did you get it from a wiki?

There were certainly floods in 2912 but the phrasing “swept away” is very extreme.

Those are Darthenigma’s words but I don’t know his sources, that is true.

The best quote we have for the state of Tharbad is this:

" When Boromir made his great journey from Gondor to Rivendell - the courage and hardihood required is not fully recognized in the narrative - the North-South Road no longer existed except for the crumbling remains of the causeways, by which a hazardous approach to Tharbad might be achieved, only to find ruins on dwindling mounds, and a dangerous ford formed by the ruins of the bridge, impassable if the river had not there been slow and shallow - but wide."

– Unfinished Tales

I have another little imput to give layout-wise. Most of the roman cities built along rivers seem to have developed almost entirely on one of the two sides and when they did develop on both of them, one of the two was clearly much bigger. Here are some examples, of Rome in the II century, London, Aquileia and Verona.



Atm Tharbad seems to be developing on both sides almost at the same extent. I think that making the north-west side (the Cardolan one) slightly bigger than the other one could be interesting. This would be the side with the forum, the cardus and decumanus and most of the city itself, while the other one, having developed later, could host what usually was built outside the city walls, such as the theater, the amphitheater, some more docks, the poorer districts, ecc…

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This would make more sense if it was completely based on Roman stuff but, in my limited knowledge, I seem to recall Osgiliath being developed on both sides equally (or at least there’s no indication of it being otherwise).

This would probably be a closer indication of how Tharbad would be, no?

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It could be like that for sure, I think there’s a lot of freedom about this.
My personal feeling is that a little disproportion would feel a lot more realistic and natural looking than a city split in half by the river. It suggests the idea of a city founded on one of the two sides that would have expanded on the other one as a result of the construction of the bridge.

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The Arnorian side is noticeably larger. However I feel the fact that each side was owned by a different state would even things out a bit.


Wait so the eastern and western banks of Tharbad actually had two separate governments?

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Correct, yeah.

Uh well that changes things then. Ignore my last argument

Dumping some reference material here.

Forum of Tharbad with adjacent theatre

Warehouses on the east bank of Tharbad

I will be using Banana’s example on the western shore.

I’m looking for a co-lead on this project, or someone who’s willing to help me with laying out one of the forts. I’ll be doing the western river bank first.


Yannig has expressed interest in co-leading this.
He also came up with this cool idea for the Numenorean fort:


Project approved and planning pasted on to the main map!