Sindarin: os(t)...city, fortress, citadel + giliath ... star
aka Citadel of the Stars
Chief City of Gondor (on the river Anduin, north east of MinasAnor) until it was burned during the Kin-strife (ThA:1437).
When Isildur and Anárian established the Kingdom of Gondor they built three cities: MinasAnor, MinasIthil, and Osgilliath. Osgilliath was the chief city of the realm. Osgilliath was built on both sides of River Anduin and on the river itself. Since the river at that place was quite broad, a great stone bridge was made and there were houses and towers on them as cited by Tolkien.
After Orthanc, probably the greatest work of Numenoreans was the Stone Bridge of Osgilliath.
Osgillath was finally ruined in 2475 T.A and the great bridge was broken. Osgillath suffered many setbacks; the Kin-strife lessened its population and it was greatly affected by the great plague of 1636 ThA. In the aftermath of the plague, MinasAnor was made the Capital and Osgillath became deserted.
The bridge of Osgilliath
Lets take a general look at the facts provided about it.
|...and the Númenoreans built there a great bridge, upon which there were towers and houses of stone wonderful to behold, and tall ships came up out of the sea to the quays of the city."|
These "towers and houses of stone" are not described by Tolkien, and he seldom names them.
But a few references can be found in the texts. In Unfinished Tales Meneldil says farewell to Isildur and his sons at the East gate of the Bridge. One almost gets the impression that at this time the entire city of Osgiliath must be contained on the bridge, but perhaps not.
Isildur and Anarion had their thrones "set side by side in the Great Hall of Osgilliath." The placement and structure of the hall are not given, but it may be a part of the House of the Kings, and perhaps one of the chief structures of the Bridge. (Parma Endoras)
There can be no doubt that Osgiliath experienced a period of growth at least in the early centuries of Gondor's existence, and the city even if confined to the Bridge originally must have flowed out onto both shores of Anduin. The river was quite wide, perhaps a mile wide, at the city's location, and the Bridge would have contained many houses and towers. Its population should have numbered in the thousands, and perhaps fleets of ships sailed under it as far north as CaírAndros?.
FolderCities FolderLocations FolderCompendium