In J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium, Nargothrond (Sindarin portmanteau of Narog-Ost-Rond, "The great underground fortress on the river Narog", called Nulukkhizdīn by the Dwarves) was the elvish stronghold built by Finrod Felagund ("the cave delver") during the First Age of Middle Earth. The Realm of Nargothrond consisted of the underground city delved into the banks of the river Narog in Beleriand, and the lands to the north, the Talath Dirnen or Guarded Plain.
|J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium location|
|Type||Hidden Kingdom of Finrod|
Fortified, hidden city
|Ruler||Finrod, later Orodreth|
|Lifespan||Years of the Sun|
Inspired by the caverns of the elaborate and secret elven city of Menegroth in Doriath, and seeking a hidden place from which to be safe from the forces of Melkor/ Morgoth, Finrod established Nargothrond in the early years of the First Age in the Caverns of Narog beneath the forested hills of Taur-en-Faroth on the western bank of the river. The original denizens of this huge cave system had been the Noegyth Nibin, the so-called 'Petty-dwarves', who had been driven out; whether this was by Finrod's people, or earlier by the nearby Sindar is not established in Tolkien's works, though the storyline suggests it must have been one or the other.
Other Dwarves, stonemasons and craftsmen from the Ered Luin (literally "Blue Mountains"), were hired by the Noldor to enlarge and landscape the caves into a formidable yet concealed stronghold. Originally, the fortress could only be reached by a narrow path along the banks of the river, but later a bridge was built across Narog.
Finrod ruled Nargothrond until he was compelled by oaths he had sworn to the House of Bëor to join the Man Beren in his quest for a silmaril, one of the three jewels created by Fëanor and worn in the iron crown of Melkor. The regency of the city/ fortress passed to his nephew (or, depending on the version of the story, his brother) Orodreth. However, two of their cousins, Celegorm and Curufin, both sons of Fëanor and both with legitimate claims to ownership of the silmarils, also lived in Nargothrond at this time and commanded a more powerful faction than Orodreth, until their homicidal dispositions were exposed following Finrod's death, at which point they were exiled from the city.
The Man Túrin Turambar later came to Nargothrond and became one of its greatest warriors, but he also persuaded the people to fight openly against Morgoth (the bridge was built at this time), which eventually led to its sack by an army of the dragon led by the worm Glaurung.
Glaurung then used Nargothrond as his lair until his death not long afterwards at Túrin's hands, after which the caves were claimed by Mîm, the last of the Petty-dwarves, until he himself was slain by Húrin, Túrin's father. After Húrin's deed, the caves were probably completely abandoned, as they fall out of Tolkien's recorded history, but they were certainly drowned and lost along with the rest of Beleriand at the end of the First Age.