Meneltarma, The Pillar of Heaven, was the mountain found at the center of Númenor. The summit of Meneltarma was the highest place on Númenor and was considered sacred to the worship of Ilúvatar.

Five ridges extended from the slopes of the mountain. These ridges, known as the Tarmasundar or Roots of The Pillar ran towards each of the five promontories that made up Númenor. At the southern foot of Meneltarma, between the ridges running towards Hyarnustar and Hyarrostar was found the Valley of Noirinan where the tombs of the rulers of Númenor were located.

Meneltarma was too steep to be scaled, but a spiral road that began on the ridge running towards Hyarnustar was used to reach the summit. The summit was a wide flattened bowl that could hold a multitude. When anyone approached the summit three eagles would appear and perch on the western edge. Up until the later years of the second age pilgrims could ascend to the summit at anytime but at three times each year, at Ereukyermë, Erulaitalë and Eruhantalë, the King (or Queen) would lead a procession to the summit to give thanks to Ilúvatar. Only the King was permitted to speak at these times and at all other times pilgrims to the summit were silent.

In the later years of the Second Age many of the people of Númenor lost their faith and became envious and jealous of the Eldar with their long lives and their ability to sail West to Tol Eressëa. The processions to the summit of Meneltarma became less important, and even frowned upon, and by the reign of Ar-Gimilzor they were outlawed. Ar-Gimilzor was succeeded by Tar-Palantir who was of the elendili or elf-friends and during his reign the procession were continued, only to cease again upon his death.

The next ruler of Númenor was Ar-Pharazôn. During his reign Sauron was brought to Númenor as a prisoner and converted many of the people, including the King, to the worship of Melkor.

As Ar-Pharazôn’s life neared its end he was convinced by Sauron to attack Aman and seek immortality there. A huge fleet, known as the Great Armament, was assembled and during this time smoke began to issue from the summit of Meneltarma. In SA 3319 the Great Armament set sail into the West. The fleet sailed to the shores of Aman and Ar-Pharazôn came ashore, breaking the Ban of the Valar. At that moment Ilúvatar took action. Fire issued from the peak of Meneltarma and a great chasm opened up in Belagaer, drawing the entire fleet into an abyss, while those ashore were buried by falling hills. The sea was bent, so that Aman was forever out of the reach of mortals, and Númenor sank. It was said that all that remained above the waves was the summit of Meneltarma.

Encyclopedia entry originally written by PotbellyHairyfoot