The ancient, cavernous, underground complex of Moria is one of the coolest places of Middle Earth in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. But did you know that part of it may have been inspired by a real place?

St. Edward’s Church serves the small town Stow-on-the-Wold in Gloucestershire, England. Parts of it date back to 11th or 12th century, with various additions having been made over the centuries. Although originally a Catholic church, it has been an Anglican church since the 16th century.

And it has a truly unique and beautiful door, flanked by two old trees:

Martyn Gorman, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0
Martyn Gorman, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0

It may have inspired Tolkien’s design of the Doors of Durin, an entrance to Moria, which look like this:

The Tolkien Estate
The Tolkien Estate

See the resemblance?

Here’s the scene from The Fellowship of the Rings movie with the door:

“Speak, friend, and enter!”

[See also: 4 Fascinating Recordings (Video & Audio) of the Great J.R.R. Tolkien]

[See also: The Fascinating History of the Ring in the LOTR, Explained]

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