by Varda-(Valar)
Dwarves > Places > Moria/Khazad-dum > Moria

    Moria is the name in Elvish. It is called Khazad-dûm in Dwarvish, meaning the Dwarrowdelf in Westron. At the time of the War of the Ring, it was called the Black Pit.
    Atop Moria stand three mountains:
    The mountain that snowed in fury on the Fellowship is Caradhras the Cruel in Elvish, Redhorn in Westron from the way the sun shone on the snow and the mountain's unfriendly temper, Barazinbar in Dwarvish, Baraz for short as Gimli used it.
    Celebdil the White is the Elvish name, Silvertine in Westron,  Zirak-zigil or Zirak for short in Dwarvish.
    Fanuidhol the Grey is the Elvish name, Cloudyhead in Westron, Bundushathur or Shathur for short in Dwarvish.
    The Misty Mountains divide at this point. Between the arms is Dimrill Dale, Nanduhirion in Elvish, Azanulbizar in Dwarvish.
    In Dimrill Dale is the Mirrormere, its dark waters called Kheled-zaram in Dwarvish. It is also the place where cold springs start the River Silverlode, Kibil-nala in Dwarvish.
    An old road had come from the elvish land of Hollin, Eregion in Elvish, and this road was followed by the Fellowship to Moria. A shallow valley lay beyond the Stair Falls and went up to the Walls of Moria, with the Sirannon running in the valley. The valley had become the dark, unwholesome lake which did not reflect the sky or sunset. A strip of dry land hugged the wall beside the lake.
    At the entrance to Moria was a lake, in which a tentacled watcher dwelt at the time the Fellowship arrived. The lake was caused when Sirannon, the swift and noisy Gate-stream, was dammed. The road from Hollin had been built along the Sirannon. The stream fell in the Stair Falls by which was carved a flight of steps. There the main road went left and looped several times to the level ground at the top.
    The gate of Moria had been built long ago when the dwarves of Moria and the elves of Eregion were friendly. The Elves and Dwarves in friendship together had made a cunning door fit so well it could not be seen when shut. In the days of Durin, the doors usually stood open. Two giant holly trees stood against the cliff by the door, marking the end of the Elvish territory with their token there at the West-door.
    Drawings were made upon the door of a material called ithildin that mirrors only starlight and moonlight, waiting for the right words to become visible. In the elven tongue of the West of Middle-earth in the elder days, the inscription on the arch translated to "The doors of Durin, Lord of Moria. Speak friend and enter." Underneath those, small and faint, was written "I, Narvi, made them. Celebrimbor of Hollin drew these signs." Narvi was apparently a Dwarf of Moria, and Celebrimbor is the famous ring-maker. The password to the door had been lost, but the clue was left in the writing to the Sindarin elvish word, mellon, which means friend.
    Inside Moria, very deep, a balrog hid after the fall of Morgoth's fort, Angband. The dwarves of Durin built a great city within Moria above him, not knowing of his existence, to mine the especially precious type of silver called mithril. Balin returned with other dwarves to rebuild this city, and they discovered that delving too deep released the balrog, a Maia beyond their strength to fight. Sauron's orcs moved into the city. The Maia, Sauron, had been the Vala, Morgoth's, right hand and would have been well known to the balrog. This was the situation when the Fellowship went into Moria.

  Names: Fellowship, "The Ring Goes South".
  Entrance: Fellowship, "A Journey in the Dark".
  Mellon is Sindarin: Silmarillion index