The Adventures of Turgon

Ulmo: *helps Turgon*
Turgon: *Discovers Tumladen* wow. This place would be perfect to build a memorial to Tirion.
Turgon: hmm …….
Turgon: *goes back to Nevrast* I’ll think of something later.
*Dagor Aglareb happens*
Ulmo: ……………
Ulmo: *sends some people to build the city up; SIGH*
Turgon: oh! I came up with a name - Gondolin. Cool, right?
Ulmo: bropls
Turgon: Hey! What’s up Ulmo, did you hear? I came up with a name for my secret city and it only took me 250 years!
Ulmo: Just go to Gondolin already.
Turgon: Yeah? But who will protect the entirety of Nevrast.
Ulmo: Me. Now go to Gondolin.
Turgon: Phew. Okay.
Ulmo: Go. Now. But remember, the Doom of Mandos is still hanging over your head, buddy.
Turgon: Got it!
Ulmo: OMG leave.

‘But behind the circle of the mountains the people of Turgon grew and throve, and they put forth their skill in labour unceasing, so that Gondolin upon Amon Gwareth became fair indeed and fit to compare even with Elven Tirion beyond the sea. High and white were its walls, and smooth its stairs, and tall and strong was the Tower of the King. There shining fountains played, and in the courts of Turgon stood images of the Trees of old, which Turgon himself wrought with elven-craft…’ - Of the Noldor in Beleriand, The Silmarillion.

Gondolin 15, by LowSyet

But Turgon remembered the city set upon a hill, Tirion the fair with its tower and tree, and he found not what he sought, but returned to Nevrast, and sat in peace in Vinyamar by the shores of the sea. And in the net year Ulmo himself appeared to him, and bade him go forth again alone into the Vale of Sirion; and Turgon went forth, and by the guidance of Ulmo he discovered the hidden vale of Tumladen in the Encircling Mountains, in the midst of which there was a hill of stone. Of this he spoke to none as yet, but returned once more to Nevrast, and there began in his secret counsels to devise the plan of a city after the manner of Tirion upon Túna, for which his heart yearned in exile.
—  J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion, p.115 (Of the Return of the Noldor).
Timeline of Gondolin

Hope you don’t mind, but I expanded this a bit to make it a more general timeline of events in/concerning Gondolin. All dates take place in the First Age.

  • 50: Ulmo sends his vision to Turgon and Finrod, encouraging them to build hidden kingdoms.
  • 53: Turgon discovers the valley of Tumladen, the future site of Gondolin.
  • 64: Construction of Gondolin begins; Turgon’s people start traveling in secret from Nevrast to Gondolin.
  • 116: Gondolin’s construction is completed.
  • 304: Aredhel leaves Gondolin.
  • 400: Aredhel, Eol, and Maeglin arrive in Gondolin. Aredhel and Eol die.
  • 458: Hurin and Huor arrive in Gondolin.
  • 459: Hurin and Huor leave Gondolin.
  • 472: Gondolin’s army fights in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad. Turgon becomes High King of the Noldor.
  • 496: Tuor and Voronwe arrive in Gondolin.
  • 503: Earendil is born.
  • 509: Maeglin is captured and tortured by Morgoth’s servants.
  • 510: Fall of Gondolin. Idril and Tuor lead survivors south to Havens of Sirion. Turgon, Ecthelion, Glorfindel, and many others die.

SOURCES: The Silmarillion, The Histories of Middle Earth (various volumes, but especially vol. 11 “The Grey Annals”)

Seven Gates of Gondolin

The Seven Gates of Gondolin were seven mighty gates guarding the Orfalch Echor. They were built by King Turgon to protect Gondolin from invasion; however, it was not through these that the host of Morgoth came in the Fall of Gondolin. It was through these that Tuor and Voronwë passed to get into Tumladen.

Each of the gates had their own form and special guard. The gates are listed below, from the end of the Orfalch furthest from Gondolin to the one bordering Tumladen.

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Art: Eagles of Manwë, by jonathanguzi

The Crissaegrim were a mountain range, forming a part of the southern Echoriath, the Encircling Mountains of Gondolin, and were inaccessible from the ground. However they were home to the great Eagles, and from here Thorondor, Lord of the Eagles, watched for spies in the vale of the River Sirion. Indeed, the Eagles were the chief source of information to Turgon and the Gondolindrim.

Crissaegrim is a Sindarin name that includes the root kris-. meaning “Cleft Mountain Peaks”. It is usually referred to as the “Abode of Eagles”.

It was from the Crissaegrim that Thorondor espied Húrin and Huor when they were lost in Dimbar. The Lord of the Eagles sent two great birds to carry the men above the Crissaegrim into Tumladen, when King Turgon of Gondolin welcomed them.