- Type: Ruined Elven-halls
- Inhabitants: N/A
- Population: 0
- Origin: Built by King Oropher, circa SA 2255.
- Purpose: Former royal palace of the Woodland Realm.
- Symbol: The Beech Leaf.
After Oropher, the founder of the Woodland Realm,had removed himself from Galadhrynd to northern Mirkwood, he built a marvelous subterranean palace. Constructed during the late Second Age, the complex was called Caras Amarth, or the "City of Doom." These halls comprised the second capital of the Forest-folk.During the time of the Great Plague and susequent reduction in general population fewer travelers came near these once light and airy caverns. The cavern vaults became noisome and unvisited entirely as the few travelers became even more sparse. Thranduil moved his palace north to the Aradhrynd when he grew fearful of the dark power in Dol Guldur. With it's abandonment the caves became the abode of Giant Spiders. The well-preserved ruins of the palace were situated three miles north of the Râd Annon (S. "Gate Path") and only fifty miles east of the western edge of the wood. Here, the rising land dividing the Anduin Valley from the Valley of the Forest River reaches its highest point. A stream linking Caras Amarth to the Avar Tombs (40 miles) to the northeast at one time ran by the citadel and eventually flowed into the Forest River.Elves made occassional forays to clear out the spiders though the dark and lightless depths remained uncleansed.
Similar to the Aradhrynd, the palace was literally a maze of caverns hollowed out of a hillside deep within the forest, interconnected rooms and tunnels which wind, spiral, and turn back on themselves.Floors and corridors sloped and bent, and the footing was often uncertain. For those unacquainted with the plan of the palace, the way was dangerous. Although these halls were cold and damp, they were once warm and filled with light. Bright lamps and tapestries hung all about, and there were soft carpets spread about many of the rooms. Countless cushions and other fur- nishings adorned the passages chambers, appointments as fine as those found in most any king's hall.
1.Great Gates. Across a long stone bridge spanning the rocky riverbed of the old Avar Stream, up a steep stair, and across a grassy court are the stone doors which guard the entry to Oropher's halls. The gates themselves are fifteen feet high and thirty wide, sliding apart on cunningly designed tracks in the floor and ceiling. They are very hard to open. A foot thick, and wrought with many enchantments, they provid e a formidable defense.
4. Oropher's Hall. The main feast-hall and grandest chamber in all the complex, this is where Oropher held court. Sitting in his throne carved and wood-inlaid, he wore a crown of leaves reflecting the season and bore a staff of carved oak. The walls were hung with lamps and tapestries depicting rich forest scenes; additional lamps hung from the ceiling or flickered from the natural limestone pillars.
5. Feast Halls. These rooms were multi-purpose in nature. In addition to serving as drinking and dining rooms, these chambers were natural gathering places for the residents to sing, and play musical instruments (the harp and lute were favorites). Here they created beautiful items of cloth and wood, or told tales during the Wood- elves' frequent revels.
7.Spiral Stair. These are smooth, evenly-stepped stair- ways curving around under themselves, usually in several turns.
8.Living Quarters. These areas are still subdivided by heavy tapestries and wooden screens for added privacy. The Elves utilized the floor-level changes and myriad stalactites and stalagmites as natural room dividers. The clever Quendi worked around them to create individual- ized spaces.
10. Oropher's Quarters.The most elegant quarters in the complex, the King's chambers were filled with the most beautiful rugs and tapestries, as well as many gold and crystal lamps, flooding the area with warm light.
11.Library. The main records area of the caverns, this chamber once con- tained shelves of both wood and carved stone holding dozens of books and scrolls telling of Elven history, as well as many songs and other lore. These tomes have since been moved east- ward to the Aradhrynd.
12.Council Chamber. Within this secure room Oropher once consulted with his closest advisors regarding matters of import to the Woodland Realm. Here, the Wood-elves planned their campaign prior to the assault on Mordor at the end of the Second Age.
13.Cell. These are "holding areas" to confine prisoners of the King. All are closed with heavy oaken doors with strong steel locks.
14. Oropher's Vaults. These rooms once guarded Oropher's treasury. While hardly large by the standards of the Elf-lords of Beleriand long ago, this hoard was still one of considerable wealth, including much gold, as well as many gems and items magical in nature. Great Elven blades forged in the Undying Lands in ages past, long bows of superior quality, and magical items of all kinds were once kept here.
15. Cellar. The many barrels of food and drink used by the populace of the Halls were stored in these rooms. Contents included apples, butter, and of course fine wines.
16.Underground Stream. This narrow watercourse flows to meet the Forest Rive r eight miles to the northeast.
17.Exit Chamber. A trapdoor dominates the floor of this chamber. This aperture gave the Wood-elves access to the underground stream below.
18.Portcullis. An open wood grating, it allows water to pass freely while protecting the underside of Caras Amarth from attack. The rope to raise the portcullis is at 18a