So this title can be a little misleading…unless you are familiar with The Silmarillion you might’ve never heard of Gondolin. Gondolin was a city that was in the northwestern region of Middle-earth named Beleriand. During the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Beleriand no longer exists since it was destroyed in the War of Wrath. Gondolin was the last of the great Elven strongholds in the First Age.
The city was founded by the Noldorin Elf named Turgon. While he was journeying along with his cousin Finrod Felagund they laid themselves down to rest. Ulmo, the Vala, came to Turgon in a dream and told him to find a hidden place where he and his people would be safe from the terror of Morgoth. And Ulmo led Turgon to the hidden vale of Tumladen within the Encircling Mountains and there Turgon built in secret the hidden city of Gondolin. The city itself was fashioned as a memory of Elven Tirion in Valinor.
The city itself again was built within the vale upon a hill that sat near the center. Seven gates were built, each of a different material (wood, stone, bronze, iron, silver, gold and steel), all of them heavily guarded and watched. Turgon himself also wrought of Silver and Gold replicas of Laurelin and Telperion, the Two Trees of Valinor. Turgon named the city Ondolindë, Quenya for “The Rock of the Music of the Water” because of the fountains upon the hill, while Gondolin was it’s Sindarin name. As Turgon prepared to leave his halls in Vinyamar, Ulmo gave him an ominous warning, one of the best quotes in all of Tolkien’s mythology:
“Now thou shalt go at last to Gondolin, Turgon; and I will maintain my power in the Vale of Sirion, and in all the waters therein, so that none shall mark thy going, nor shall any find there the hidden entrance against thy will. Longest of all the realms of the Eldalië shall Gondolin stand against Melkor. But love no too well the work of thy hands and the devices of thy heart; and remember that the true hope of the Noldor lieth in the West and cometh from the Sea.”
The city of Gondolin lasted for four hundred years, hidden from all in Beleriand until Maeglin betrayed the city and allowed the servants of Melkor to find the hidden city. Until then only a few outsiders ever stepped foot in Gondolin: Hurin and Huor, and Huor’s son Tuor. Tuor eventually would marry Turgon’s daughter Idril Celebrindal, this being a chief motivation for Maeglin to bring about his betrayal, for he loved Idril and desired to marry her.
Tuor was guided by Ulmo to warn Turgon that it was time to leave Gondolin, but Turgon choosing to ignore the warning of Ulmo stayed, bringing about the destruction of his people. As the city was attacked, Idril, along with her son Eärendil were accompanied by refugees through a secret passage out of the city. As they were fleeing they were attacked by a Balrog, whom Glorfindel defied and eventually destroyed, being killed himself in the process.
Gondolin was as close to life in Valinor as any other elvish stronghold could come (the exception being Doriath because of Melian’s presence). The weapons of Gondolin were some of the best ever created and we some some evidence of that even as far into the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Orcrist, Glamdring and Sting were all made in Gondolin, and these weapons bore qualities that most other elven blades did not have. They were impervious to rust, weathering or normal decay, all the weapons found in the troll-hoard were ready to use right out of the sheathe.
After the fall of Gondolin, the great Elvish kingdoms ceased to exist. There were scattered groups of refugees, but no great city or kingdom to call home. Shortly afterwards The War of Wrath took place and Beleriand was broken, thus wiping any last remains of the great Hidden City from the face of Middle-earth.