Whether it's as described in The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien or depicted on film by Peter Jackson, Minas Tirith is an awe-inspiring city, constructed on seven 100-foot levels, each ringed by a wall, with a massive spur of stone dividing all but the lowest tiers in half. At the summit sits the Citadel and the White Tower of Ecthelion, which reaches 1,000 feet above the plain below. It's a marvel of the Third Age of Middle-earth, and of fantasy architecture.
And now a group of dedicated and ambitious fans wants to reconstruct it, life-sized, in the south of England.
They're not just any fans, though: They're architects and engineers who have the know-how, but not the money. So they've launched a $2.9 billion Indegogo campaign called "Realise Minas Tirith." Yes, that's a lot of money, but do you think the people of Gondor said, "Whoa, now, do we really need seven levels? And what's with that swanky courtyard at the top? Who's going to water that damned tree?" No! But probably only because they were ruled by a warrior-king and knew to shush.
The breakdown of expenses seems fairly legitimate, as far as the construction of a 1,000-foot-tall walled city goes (not that I'm well-versed in those kind of things, mind you): $2.1 billion for building materials; $23 million for land; $290 million for labor; and the rest for maintenance and public services through 2053. Not mentioned: the likely crippling costs of trebuchets and a prickly Wizard for occasional defense of the realm.
The pledge incentives range from a tour of the city ($40) to a two-bedroom apartment on the lowest levels ($623,000) to a penthouse ($2.7 million). If you're thinking of going for the penthouse, yes, the views are incredible, but you may have to put up with a slightly mad, fire-starting Steward. So think long and hard ...
Thirteen days into the campaign, "Realise Minas Tirith" has raised about $42,600 of its $2.9 billion goal.