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Constructed in the last years of the Second Age; began to fall into decay from the seventeenth century of the Third Age
Running north to south between the ancient kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor
Built by Elendil and his sons
Uncertain, but probably ran between Annúminas1 and Osgiliath;2 settlements on the road included Tharbad and Bree
Other names
The Great Road, The North-South Road, The Royal Road; especially along its southern course it was known as the Great West Road or simply West Road; in its later ruined state it was known (especially along its northern stretches) as the Greenway or Old South Road


About this entry:

  • Updated 28 November 2015
  • This entry is complete

North Road

The road to the North-kingdom

Map of the North Road

The name for the great road that ran northwards out of Gondor and across the wide lands of Middle-earth to come eventually to Fornost in Arnor. Also called the North-South Road or simply the Great Road, it left Gondor through the Gap of Calenardhon, and then carried on almost straight for some three hundred miles before it crossed the river Gwathló at Tharbad. From there it ran on across Minhiriath, and within that region it branched into two paths. The North Road itself continued almost directly north from the branching point, through the township of Bree and onward to the city of Fornost on the North Downs.

The North Road was important during the early years of the Third Age, but as the North-kingdom broke apart and eventually fell, the road was used less and less. By the end of the Third Age the North Road was ruined and overgrown, at least along its northern stretch, and had become known as the Greenway.



According to our extant maps, at its northern end the road ran only as far as Fornost (as shown on the map for this entry). At the time the road was made, however, the northern capital of the Dúnedain and the seat of the High King was at Annúminas on Nenuial. Annúminas stood some hundred miles to the west of Fornost, and given its importance, it seems almost inconceivable that the road would not originally have continued as far as that city.


At least, Osgiliath was the capital of the South-kingdom during the first centuries of Gondor, so it would have been natural for the road to run to the gates of that city. Maps of eastern Gondor from the time of the War of the Ring actually show the North Road running to Minas Tirith, with a branch extending eastward from there to Osgiliath. This branch was perhaps also considered part of the North Road at the time (or the arrangement of roadways may have been different in the distant past).

See also...



About this entry:

  • Updated 28 November 2015
  • This entry is complete

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