How do you get to Minas Tirith? First, you go to Italy, and then you go northeast. It turns out that Ravenna, Italy, may have been the inspiration for the location of Minas Tirith. And we now know this because a map for Middle-Earth, annotated by J.R.R. Tolkien, was recently found in a bookstore, specifically in illustrator Pauline Baynes’ copy of Lord of the Rings.
According to The Guardian, “Baynes had removed the map from another edition of the novel as she began work on her own colour Map of Middle-Earth for Tolkien, which would go on to be published by Allen & Unwin in 1970. Tolkien himself had then copiously annotated it in green ink and pencil, with Baynes adding her own notes to the document while she worked.”
These annotations are yet more proof of how Tolkien had perfectly envisioned his world — and how much control he wanted over the smallest details. In fact, the Guardian writes, Baynes told her diary that Tolkien was “very uncooperative.” However, he later apologized. Baynes told her diary that Tolkien was “in great form – first names and kissing all round – and pleased with the map.”
The map is currently on exhibit in Oxford. Want the precious for yourself? It’s currently on sale for £60,000 (approx. US$92,000).
Oh, and as for Hobbiton? According to Tolkien’s notes, it shares the same latitude as Oxford, where the good professor taught Anglo-Saxon.
And no, there's no mention of the real-world location of Mordor, so you can't simply walk there.
Via The Guardian.