5 Real-World Places Similar to Minas Tirith – #1: Mont Saint-Michel, France


Peter Jackson modeled his version of Minas Tirith on Mont Saint-Michel, and the mount does fit the idea just about everybody else has of the fictional city’s general appearance.

That said, it probably wasn’t an inspiration to the author.

J. R. R. Tolkien reportedly wasn’t fond of the French (wags among his fans suggest he never forgave them for the Norman Conquest!) – too, there are important differences between Mont Saint-Michel and Tolkien’s description, particularly that the seven levels of Minas Anor/Tirith are carved into a mountain, stepping back, with tunnels between levels.

Other sites we’ve taken a look at have included: #5, Mount Hua in China; #4, Macchu Picchu and Huayna Picchu in South America; #3, Florence, Italy; and #2, Sion, in Switzerland.

If any of these five places actually influenced the writer’s conception of Minas Tirith (a big “if”), it likely was Sion, as Tolkien would have seen it at a very impressionable age and during an experience (his Alpine tour) that most definitely did inspire parts of his later Middle-earth tales.

Still, Mont Saint-Michel is the #1 place in the real world most similar to the beautiful Third-Age jewel of Gondor.

Here’s a more traditional look at Mont Saint-Michel (it’s slightly commercial as well as informative, but I know nothing about the filmmaker and am not connected with them in any way).


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Categories: Tolkien Tuesday


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