The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Built after the coming of Elendil to Middle-earth in II 33191
On Emyn Beraid, the Tower Hills, between the Grey Havens and the Shire
Built by Gil-galad as a gift for Elendil
Created by Elves for Elendil, a Man
Undertowers was founded under the Elf-towers in the Fourth Age
Important peaks
Other names
The Towers, The White Towers; the tallest of the three was named Elostirion


About this entry:

  • Updated 6 January 2023
  • Updates planned: 1


The three White Towers of Emyn Beraid

A group of tall White Towers that stood on - and gave their name to - the Tower Hills or Emyn Beraid that lay westward of the Shire. There were three Elf-towers on the Hills, of which one, known as Elostirion, was built taller than the others and stood out west of them on a mound of its own. According to legend it was possible to glimpse the Sea from that tower's top.2

The Towers were built by Gil-galad and the Elves of Lindon for Elendil, High King of the Dúnedain, in the last years of the Second Age. In Elostirion was placed the Elendil Stone, a palantír with the power to look out across the western seas and glimpse the Blessed Realm beyond. That Stone remained in its tower through the long centuries of the Third Age - more than three thousand years - until it was returned into the West by Gandalf aboard the White Ship.

In the Fourth Age King Elessar extended the borders of the Shire so that its western edge reached to the Tower Hills. In that new part of their land, known as the Westmarch, the Hobbits built a new settlement for its Wardens that they named Undertowers for the three Elf-towers that rose above it on their Hills.



The Elf-towers were built for Elendil, so they must have been raised after his arrival in Middle-earth in II 3319. Elendil dwelt in Middle-earth until his death in II 3441, so the towers must have been constructed at some point within this period of 122 years.


The Great Sea itself was some two hundred and fifty miles from the Elf-towers at its closest, and so was almost certainly not visible. More plausibly, a viewer on the top of Elostirion might have glimpsed the Grey Havens on the Gulf of Lhûn; though still some fifty miles distant, if the hills and the tower were sufficiently high, the Havens might have been visible on the distant horizon.

Alternatively, perhaps the traditions of the tower looking out over the Sea were not literally true, but rather a faint folk memory of Elendil looking westward across the Great Sea through his Seeing-stone atop the tower.


About this entry:

  • Updated 6 January 2023
  • Updates planned: 1

For acknowledgements and references, see the Disclaimer & Bibliography page.

Original content © copyright Mark Fisher 2016, 2023. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

Website services kindly sponsored by Discus, the DISC profiling solution.
About DISC Sub-traits: Self-motivation (D/S) describes profiles that are dynamic, motivated and pro-active.
The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda
Homepage Search Latest Entries and Updates Random Entry