Minas TirithMinas Tirith is a fictional city in J. R. R. Tolkien's universe of Middle-earth.
Minas Tirith is the capital of Gondor since 1636 T.A. when the great plague forced the kings out of Osgiliath. Until 2002 T.A. Minas Tirith was known as Minas Anor. In that year Minas Ithil was captured by the Ringwraiths and renamed Minas Morgul
Minas Tirith means "Tower of Guard", for since the fall of Minas Ithil, Minas Tirith guards Gondor against evil from Mordor.
Minas Tirith is surrounded by the Rammas Echor, a large ringwall encircling the Pelennor Fields. This wall was built by Ecthelion II but proved no match for the Orc legions of Mordor. The city itself lies on a hill beneath Mount Mindolluin. The city is divided into seven one-hundred-foot high layers, each surrounded by white walls. The gates did not lay behind each other but each faced a different direction. Finally within the seventh wall is the Citadel with its White Tower, three hundred feet high, so that its summit is one thousand feet above the plain. Upon the saddle between the city and Mindolluin are the Tombs of the Kings.
Much of the folling strictly belongs in a separate entry on The Battle of the Pelennor Fields
At first there are fights upon the Rammas Echor, but this wall is soon breached. Then the battle sweeps over the Pelennor Fields with great losses for Gondor. Faramir, the son of Steward Denethor II and important for Gondorian morale, sustains heavy wounds. The soldiers of Gondor are driven into the city itself and Denethor, who has secretly been using a Palantír to spy upon distant events, despairs and becomes mad - Sauron has used the Palantír to poison his mind. This ultimately costs Denethor his life, and almost that of Faramir.
Early on the next day the Great Gate is breached and the Lord of the Nazgûl rides into the city - the first enemy ever to do so - but he is checked in the gateway by Gandalf, who manages to prevent his entry until the cock crows and the Great Darkness begins to disperse. At that moment the tide of siege turns when King Théoden of Rohan rides his forces into the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. The Lord of the Nazgûl, frustrated in his plans, rides out to join the battle, confident in the knowledge that no man may slay him - but he is slain by one who is not a man. Despite heavy losses battle is finally won by Gondor.
The eagle who brings the news of Sauron's defeat to Minas Tirith refers to the city as the Tower of Anor. Although Tolkien does not make it clear, it is possible that the city may have reverted to ts original name once it no longer needed to guard against evil.
The Silmarillion reveals that the name Minas Tirith had previously been used in the First Age for Finrod's fortress upon Tol Sirion which guarded the Pass of Sirion. It was later conquered by Sauron, closing the pass. When Finrod and his companions attempted the pass in disguise they were captured and died in the fortress's dungeons. Soon aferward Lúthien and Huan overpowered Sauron and Lúthien destroyed the fortress.
(Some of the above paragraph researched from Robert Foster's Complete Guide to Middle-earth)