Haven of Umbar
Capital of the State of Umbar
The Halls of Tar-Calion
The Red Tower
Typical haradan tavern in Umbar
Drawing of Umbar from the Sea
|800 T.A.||30 000|
|1200 T.A.||45 000|
|1450 T.A.||60 000|
|1600 T.A.||120 000|
|1650 T.A.||90 000|
|1810 T.A.||80 000|
|1944 T.A.||50 000|
Places in Umbar
|Inns & Lodging|
The City of Umbar was founded in the middle of the Second Age, and it later became the chief Númenórean stronghold in Endor. Two excellent harbours and its proximity to landward trade routes ensured that the port grew quickly, despite the limits of its agricultural hinterland. Umbar is the most ancient continuously inhabited dwelling of Men in Middle-earth. It is the capital of the State of Umbar.
Umbar is home to nearly 90,000 people, majority of whom are of Númenórean descent. Many have either haradan blood in their veins or are related to the native rural sakalai. According to the 1655 survey, there are still about 6,000 citizens of pure Númenorean ancestry, whether of Faithful or King's Men extraction (intermarriage between families has been quite common during last five centuries), and 24,000 adûnai. The Umbarean elite under Castamirioni rule is almost completely comprised of exiled Gondorian families. The rest are southrons: Haruze artisans, immigrant Bellakarians or even mercenaries from the Raj.
The original Númenórean city was surrounded by a wall in II 2280, as was the town of Vinyamar. Most of the haven's extant Númenórean fortifications date to the era of Ar-Pharazôn the Golden, who constructed a second wall (still visible) around Vinyamar during the war against Sauron. After the capture of the haven by Eärnil, several more fortifications were built, and the walls of the city and the town were rebuilt in a more modern Gondorian style.
Umbarean houses are designed to allow for a maximum living space in the smallest possible area of land, averaging in three or four stories in height (although most of the wealthier citizens own houses with private courtyards). Domiciles outside the second wall are generally more spacious. Many private residences in Umbar possessed rainwater cisterns; the city itself has a large cistern system, fed by several local artesian wells and an underground pipeline, the best existing example of Númenórean genius. The main cistern of Umbar lies beneath the city's central market place.
Umbar was the largest and richest urban centre in the western Middle-earth during the Second and early Third Age, mostly due to its strategic position commanding the trade routes between the Raj and the Belfalas. After the Akallabêth, it would remain the capital of the southern, adûnaic-speaking Realm of Exile for eight centuries. As the capital of the Umbar State, the adûnai called it simply "the City" (Kadar) or "the Haven" (Lôni). After Gondorian conquest, it became the second richest and largest city in the realm. Visitors and merchants were especially struck by the beautiful palaces and courtyards, particularly the Halls of Tar-Calion. During the second independence under Castamirioni dynasty, Umbar became a powerful symbol of wondrous majesty and Númenórean nostalgia.
The cuisine of Umbar shows traces of all the cultures which established themselves on the Haven over the last two millennia. Especially Haradan influence has been strong in its dishes, for example, the use of apricots, sugar, citrus, sweet melons, rice, saffron, raisins, nutmeg, clove, pepper, pine nuts, cinnamon, along with fried preparations. In the more traditionally-minded Vinyamar, fish, olives, broad beans and fresh vegetables are preferred instead. Much of the haven's cuisine encourages the use of fresh vegetables (such as eggplant, peppers and tomatoes brought by Númenóreans) and fish such as tuna, sea bream, sea bass, cuttlefish, swordfish and other seafood available off the coastline.
The self-government of Umbar was established by king Hyarmendacil I of Gondor in 1050. The privileges of the elective council were later extended under the reigns of Atanatar II and Calmacil, and reached a par with Pelargir. The civil affairs of Umbar are managed by a Grand Council, whose seventy-two members are elected by the most politically important guilds of the city. These guilds are divided into major, minor and artisan groups (as in Pelargir) for purposes of representation. The five richest and most prominent guilds - the goldsmiths, shipwrights, captains and silkmerchants - appoint four councillors each, while the eight minor and fourteen artisan guilds elect three and two councillors each respectively.
Umbarean heads of state during Castamirioni period are two officials called Asapthubêths (Judges or Consuls) of Umbar, elected by the Assembly, and granted authority to sign and negotiate treaties with foreign princes. Most of the time, the Consuls were elected annually from among the most wealthy and influential families and ruled collegially. The Asapthubêths exercise judicial and executive power, but not military.
Compared to Pelargir or Linhir, where major guilds utterly dominated the council, Umbarean government was more republican in character, but when the Regency Council was dissolved in III 1470, the haven succumbed under the rule of Oligarchs of Nen Umbar, called the Council of Captains, and the Grand Council and Assembly of Citizens gradually lost most of its political power. A special electorate council of twenty-one members, who are themselves elected by the guilds, appoints city officials, with the exception of the position of condir, who is appointed by the Asapthubêths from among six candidates nominated by the electorate council. All council appointments are annual.
The most important civic official in Umbar is the condir (or Kadarattô in adûnaic), who heads the city's administration and acts as a president of the city court, in which capacity he is assisted by four judges (two appointed by the electorate council and two by the assembly). Other important city officials include the treasurer, the harbour-masters, and the captain of the Watch, all of whom are elected annually, just as with the council.
The Council of Captains is responsible for trade relations, foreign policy, and warcraft in the Umbar State. As such they are not concerned of the day-to-day managing of the haven, but seldom have their wishes been unfulfilled. However clear the system of government seems on paper, in practice every decision depends on a distinct and shady system of honours and clientage. Virtually every umbarean is a client of somebody, and is expected to honour him by making visits and fulfilling his wishes. In return the client expects protection. At the top of the pyramid, there is a dozen families or clans, who run the country and city. In local vernacular they are called "the Tower Families".
There are six great towers in Umbar: Seaward, Westerly, Red, Flame, Dawn and Fasthold. They belong to the Oligarchs of Marös, Pellardur, Isigir, Erädas, Ardûmir and Caldûr respectively. Only the lords of Marös and Pellardur live permanently in the Haven, others stay when they have business in Umbar or the Council of Captain convenes. The whole old city has been divided between the clients of these great families; only the Vinyamar district enjoys less strict modes of conduit. The Men of Honour, who make up the great families, are sworn to protect the Umbarean people, but honour can be lost very quickly in the byzantine game of Umbarean underground politics.
- Castamirioni. House of Castamir (XX King of Gondor) and descendants of Elendil. The Castamirioni have not forgotten their claim to kingship, nor have the Lords of Umbar. On a distant chance that the Castamirioni would recover their long-lost throne, Umbar would lose again its independence. The descendants of Castamir were ousted from power in the 1470, but thanks to their overwhelming popular support, the family managed to recover some of its leading position in the 1600s. House Castamirioni is the smallest but most influential of the oligarchic houses. In the 1660s, there are only five living descendants of Castamir: Great-grandson Angamaitë, Admiral of the Haven; his nephew prince Sangahyandion; Aranelaith, daughter's daughter of Castamir's younger son, her son Eädur an-Caldûr and granddaughter Aranel, who was wed to prince Sangahyandion in 1663 to safeguard the declining bloodline. The head of the family is lord Angamaitë. Most of the Castamirioni properties are located in the Harnen territories.
- Aldamiri. House of Aldamir (XXII King of Gondor) is derived from exiled relatives of king Hyarmendacil II, who persecuted his siblings with perverse vigour. As descendants of Eldacar, they have a weaker claim to kingship than the descendants of Castamir. The head of the family is lord Vorommaitë. Their modest holdings are in Harondor and Tharven. Aldamiri are firmly allied with the Castamirioni in their war against the Winged Crown.
- Alcarialë. Former Pelargirean noble house. Raimëlin Alcarialë is the matriarch of the family, and rules with an iron broom. They own much of the northern forests and foothills of Nen Umbar, and hold the lordship of Isigir. Valdûmir Alcarialë is the current Oligarch of Isigir in the Council of Captains.
- Lintoron. Former princes of Pelargir, the great family of Lintoron relocated to Umbar and later Caldûr, which they hold as their fief. The head of the family is lord Meneldur Lintoron, who lives in Umbar. His cousin Mireädur is also the Lord of Caldûr and member of the Council of Captains. They have strong family ties with the Castamirioni. House Lintoron owns second biggest merchant fleet in Umbar.
- Miruvor. Miruvors are distant relatives to the house of Calimehtar from Pelargir and thus can boast having their share of Elendil's blood. Current head of the family, Tarcundo Miruvor, is also Admiral of the Fleet. They are close to the house Marös.
- Marös. Native Umbarean aristocratic family. House Marös is possibly the wealthiest of all, and commands the biggest navy. They are diametrically opposed to prince Sangahyandion's exploits in Harondor and have advanced a more southern policy in the Council of Captains.
- An-Ardûmir. Another native Umbarean house, lords of Ardûmir. Current head of the family, Êruhil, has married Vairë Olossë from of the Aldamiri to enhance his status.
- Ainarauta. Famous corsair family of Ainarauta is titled to a multitude of small estates in the Harnen estuary. They have the second biggest private fleet of both merchantmen and warships in Umbar. Current head of the family, Súrion, is also the admiral of the grand principality of Harnendor.