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First established shortly before II 8001
At the mouth of the river Gwathló
Originally constructed as a harbour and shipyard by Aldarion of Númenor
The haven stood at the head of the firth through which Gwathló emptied into the Great Sea
Other names


About this entry:

  • Updated 23 June 2024
  • This entry is complete

Great Haven

The port city of Lond Daer

Map of the Great Haven

The Great Haven at the mouth of the river Gwathló dated back to the earliest Númenórean explorations of Middle-earth. It was founded by Aldarion, heir to King Tar-Meneldur, who sought to establish a haven on the shores of Middle-earth where he could repair his vessels and build new ones. The heavily forested lands around Gwathló's mouth made it an ideal place for his haven. Thus the port - originally called Vinyalondë, the 'New Haven' - came into being sometime during the period between II 806 and II 813.

The haven had a turbulent history in its early times, suffering destruction by the force of the Sea, as well as invasion by the peoples of surrounding lands. Nonetheless it survived, and played an important part in the War of the Elves and Sauron, when the Númenórean admiral Ciryatur landed a force at the Great Haven that would go on to surprise and defeat Sauron at the Battle of the Gwathló.

Aldarion's old haven became established as one of the three great havens on the coasts of Middle-earth, between Mithlond to the north and Pelargir to the south. It thus came to be known as Lond Daer Enedh, the 'Great Middle Haven', a name commonly shortened to simply Lond Daer, the 'Great Haven'. Across the Second Age, it lay at the heart of the Númenóreans' operations in Middle-earth, shipping huge quantities of timber and goods back to Númenor across the Great Sea.

The history of the Great Haven after the Downfall of Númenor is less clear. During the earlier part of the Third Age, it lay on the southern coasts of Arnor, and later of the land of Cardolan. During this time it may have been maintained by the Dúnedain of the North, though if so, it is never mentioned in records. After the fall of Cardolan in III 1409 the port lay far from any civilised land, and it seems inevitable that it would have decayed over the long years that followed, and indeed it lay in ruins by the end of the Third Age. After the War of the Ring, however, the Kingdoms of the Dúnedain were re-established, and so it is possible that the Great Haven might have been brought back into use during the Fourth Age.



The Great Haven (or the New Haven as it was originally called) was founded by Aldarion on one of his earlier voyages to Middle-earth. We don't have precise dating for that voyage, but it took place immediately before Aldarion's formal recognition as King's Heir of Númenor, an event dated as II 800.

The haven stood in some form for thousands of years. It was certainly still active in II 1700, when the Númenórean admiral Ciryatur landed a naval force there. The Great Haven of Lond Daer still appears on maps from the end of the Third Age, so it must have still existed in some form even at that time, nearly six millennia after it was founded (though by this time the old port lay in ruins).

See also...

Lond Daer Enedh, New Haven


About this entry:

  • Updated 23 June 2024
  • This entry is complete

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