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J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium location
Other name(s)The Hold, Dunberg
TypeCliff-top refuge of the Rohirrim
First appearanceThe Two Towers, The Return of the King, Unfinished Tales
LocationHidden in the White Mountains above Harrowdale
FounderMen of Twilight

Dunharrow is a fictional place from J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium. Aldor, third king of Rohan, established it as a refuge of the Rohirrim hidden in the White Mountains and fortified against attack. Dunharrow had been used as a refuge by the Middle Men of the White Mountains during the Second Age — many millennia before Rohan.

Dunharrow was a cliff-top overlooking Harrowdale, the valley of the river Snowbourn. Access to the refuge was only possible by a winding path known as the Stair of the Hold. This path was lined with statues known as the Púkel-men — statues originally carved by the Men of the White Mountains, in the likeness of the Drúedain. After the stair was the "Firienfeld", a large grassy area for the encampment of soldiers and refuge-seekers.[1]

Large carved stones marked the entrance to the Dimholt, a natural amphitheatre, which led into the Paths of the Dead.

As with other names in the language of the Rohirrim, Tolkien derived the name "Dunharrow" from the Old English language. He explained in his "Guide to the Names in The Lord of the Rings" that the name was "A modernization of . . . Dûnhaerg 'the heathen fane on the hillside,' so-called because [it] was on the site of a sacred place of the old inhabitants (now the Dead Men)." [2]


  1. ^ Tolkien, J. R. R. (1954), The Two Towers, The Lord of the Rings, Boston: Houghton Mifflin (published 1987), "The Muster of Rohan", ISBN 0-395-08254-4
  2. ^ A Tolkien Compass, ed. Jared Lobdell, p. 183 (Open Court Press, Chicago, 1975).