Dwelling places in the Undying Lands
Alqualondë, the “Haven of Swans”, was situated in a natural harbour along the north shore of the Bay of Eldamar. The city was built by Olwë and the Telerin elves, and was built of stone, and adorned with pearls. Olwë’s Halls, in particular, were made of pearl and lit with many lamps. In the years of the Trees, the city was lit by many lanterns.
The ships in the harbour were made in the likeness of swans, with beaks of gold and eyes of gold and jet. The harbour gate was an arch of living rock carved by the sea.
By the time Fëanor attacked the city, it was walled. It lay to the north of Tirion, upon the confines of Eldamar, north of the Calacirya.
Avallonë was the haven of the Eldar in Tol Eressëa. It was said to be visible by the “farsighted” from the summit of the mountain Meneltarma in Numenor. The Tower of Avallonë held the master-stone of the Palantíri.
While Eärendil and the Silmaril were sailing the skies, Elwing waited for him in a tower on the shores of Aman. It was situated between the land of the Teleri and Araman.
The Northern Fortress of Fëanor in the Northern hills of Valinor, built after his banishment from Tirion. There he kept the Silmarils until they were stolen in the same attack that killed his father, Finwë. It was abandoned when Fëanor and his sons went to Middle-earth.
It was a stronghold and treasury, and a multitude of gems were secreted there, as well as weapons. The Silmarils were shut away in a chamber of iron.
Halls of Lórien
A description of the Halls and Gardens of Lórien was given in the Book of Lost Tales. His hall was great and dimly lit and had wide gardens. Aulë had created his realm from mists gathered upon the Shadowy Seas, and the name of realm was Murmuran. The hall was set in the South of Valinor by the Pelori, but its gardens wandered around, winding almost to the feet of Telperion, and they were lit by the tree’s shining light. The gardens were full of labyrinths and mazes of yewtrees and cedars. Pine trees hung over deep pools and scented the air in the evenings. Varda had created stars to sit in the depths of the pools, and glowworms crept around their borders. The scent of nightflowers and the songs of sleepy nightingales filled the air.
One of the greatest wonders of Lórien’s realm was Silindrin, a deep vat that was set within a ring of shadowy cypresses. It lay in a bed of pearls, and its surface was shot with silver flickerings. When Lórien gazed on it, he saw many visions of mystery pass across its face. Its surface was only ever disturbed when a silver urn was used to draw a draught of its cool contents to water the roots of the Two Trees.
Halls of Mandos
The Halls of Mandos were the Houses of the Dead, in the uttermost West of Valinor. It was where the spirits of the deceased went to sit in meditation on their lives before being released – either into Aman, back into Middle-earth, or on to the special fate of Men.
An early version of the Halls of Mandos, in the Book of Lost Tales has the Halls as a cave system stretching down from Valinor under the Shadowy Seas. There was a sable hall called Vê, lit with a single vessel which contained a few drops of the dew of Telperion. The Hall was draped with dark vapours and its floors and columns were made of jet.
Halls of Nienna
The Halls of Nienna were west of West, on the borders of the world, with windows that looked outward from the walls of the world. They were situated near the Halls of Mandos, her brother.
The early, Lost Tales version of the Halls of Nienna had her in a Hall that was wider and darker than that of Mandos. It was named Fui. She had a black chair, with a brazier set before it, burning with a single flickering coal. The roof was made of bats’ wings, and the pillars and walls were created of basalt.
Halls of Tulkas
In the Book of Lost Tales Tulkas too had a Hall. It was full of mirth and revelry, and sprang high into the air having many storeys. It also had a tower of bronze and pillars of copper in a wide arcade.
“Mansion of the High Airs”. The name given by the Eldar to the palace of Manwë and Varda, which stood above the snows on Taniquetil, highest of the mountains of the Pelori.
A full description is given of the watchtower and palace of the King and Queen of the Valar in the Book of Lost Tales. The house was built of white and blue marble, and stood amid fields of snow. The roofs were made of a web of high, fine bluey-coloured air, spangled with stars.
Mansions of Aulë
In the middle of the Blessed Realm. He laboured long there, so presumably it must have contained workshops and smithies.
In the Book of Lost Tales, Aulë’s house was situated in Valmar, and it was filled with magic webs woven from the light and sheen of the Two Trees and the glint of the stars. His courtyard had some of every tree that after grew on the earth, as well as a pool of blue water lying between them.
Tirion upon Tunà
“Great-watch-tower”. Tirion upon Tunà was built just outside the Calcirya by Ingwë and Finwë, though Finwë was seen as the city’s king when the Vanyar moved into Valinor.
The city’s walls were white, and its stairs of crystal. There were many tall towers, of which the highest was Mindon Eldaliéva – the Tower of Ingwë – that contained a silver lamp shining out on the mists of the sea. The streets and byways shone with the glimmer of gem dust. Galathilion, the White Tree of Tirion, created by Yavanna from Telperion. It was planted in the courts below the Mindon Eldaliéva.
At the feet of the hill of Tunà, to the east, was a dark lake called Shadowmere, and in the West, the light filtering through the Calacirya illuminated the city.
After the Exile of the Noldor, the city became only a shadow of its former self, though some Noldor continued to live there during the First Age. The Light from the Calacirya was extinguished, and the towers of Tirion were only lamp-lit.
“Lonely”. Tol Eressëa was a ship-shaped island which had started life in the waters of ME, but which had been towed over to the Bay of Eldamar, carrying the Eldar to complete the Great Journey to the West.
Early stories mention cities of Tavrobel and Kortirion, but the main population centre was Avallonë. This was set on the eastern shores of the island, and contained the Master Stone of the palantiri.
The island was the home of the Teleri in the First Age – those elves who did not make it to Valinor. Afterwards, it also was home to the Exiles and the Sindar who made it to Aman. They built anew the city of Avallonë.
The City of Many Bells in the east of Valinor, placed in the midst of the plain beyond the Pelori. At its western gate stood the Ring of Doom, Mahanaxar, and before Mahanaxar stood Ezellohar, the green mound upon which stood the Two Trees. The city had golden gates and streets, and silver domes that gleamed in the light of the trees. Doors were made of polished bronze. Fountains played and bells rung, and it was a city where all was glad.