HASA Resources

Places in Middle-earth

Lake-town

Type: Cities, Towns, Settlements

Region: Rhovanion/Misty Mtns

Other Names
Esgaroth

Location: A town east of Mirkwood and south of the Lonely Mountain, built on pilings at the western margin of the Long Lake near the inflow of the Forest River.

Description:

Lake Town.
Lake Town, by JRR Tolkien.
Not far from the mouth of the Forest River was the strange town [Bilbo] heard the elves speak of in the king's cellars. It was not built on the shore, though there were a few huts and buildings there, but right out on the surface of the lake, protected from the swirl of the entering river by a promontory of rock which formed a calm bay. A great bridge made of wood ran out to where on huge piles made of forest trees was built a busy wooden town, not a town of elves but of Men, who still dared to dwell here under the shadow of the distant dragon-mountain. They still throve on the trade that came up the great river from the South and was carted past the falls to their town; but in the great days of old, when Dale in the North was rich and prosperous, they had been wealthy and powerful, and there had been fleets of boats on the waters, and some were filled with gold and some with warriors in armour, and there had been wars and deeds which were now only a legend. The rotting piles of a greater town could still be seen along the shores when the waters sank in a drought.

But men remembered little of all that, though some still sang old songs of the dwarf-kings of the Mountain, Thror and Thrain of the race of Durin, and of the coming of the Dragon, and the fall of the lords of Dale. Some sang too that Thror and Thrain would come back one day and gold would flow in rivers through the mountain-gates, and all that land would be filled with new song and new laughter. But this pleasant legend did not much affect their daily business.

As soon as the raft of barrels came in sight boats rowed out from the piles of the town, and voices hailed the raft-steerers. Then ropes were cast and oars were pulled, and soon the raft was drawn out of the current of the Forest River and towed away round the high shoulder of rock into the little bay of Lake-town. There it was moored not far from the shoreward head of the great bridge. Soon men would come up from the South and take some of the casks away, and others they would fill with goods they had brought to be taken back up the stream to the Wood-elves' home.

The Hobbit, Ch 10, A Warm Welcome

[The] captain... led them over the bridge through the gates and into the market-place of the town. This was a wide circle of quiet water surrounded by the tall piles on which were built the greater houses, and by long wooden quays with many steps and ladders going down to the surface of the lake. From one great hall shone many lights and there came the sound of many voices.

The Hobbit, Ch 10, A Warm Welcome

In two days going they rowed right up the Long Lake [from Lake-town] and passed out into the River Running, and now they could all see the Lonely Mountain towering grim and tall before them.

The Hobbit, Ch 11, On the Doorstep

Contributors:
Lyllyn 10Jun03
Elena Tiriel 9Oct11

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