Lord of the Rings fan Joseph Alvenaz has created an awe-inspiring 10-foot-tall by 12-foot-wide replica of Minas Tirith, almost exclusively out of sand and water. Believe it or not, this was his first major sand sculpture.
We’ve featured some pretty impressive models of Gondor’s capital city, including one made entirely from matchsticks, and one made from LEGO, but Joseph Alvenaz sand-and-water Minas Tirith is right up there with the best of them. The young California artist chose the iconic setting of J.R.R. Tolkien’s LOTR – The Return of the King as his first large-scale sand sculpture, and judging by the images below, it’s safe to say he did an amazing job. Even more impressive is the fact that he didn’t use a frame for his incredibly detailed sand sculpture, save for a single brace added in the top tower, after it was repeatedly destroyed by birds. Apart from that one element, no reinforcement or adhesive was added; the entire structure was made exclusively from sand and water. The white is made of out of a chalkish wash he applied over the sand.
Tolkien’s White City of Gondor might have resisted the forces of Mordor, but Joseph’s replica was destroyed by its most feared enemy – rain. “A rain storm came from the south blasting half of the city and causing the buildings to melt and crumble. The other half however was sheltered from the storm by the spur which protrudes from the middle city and remained mostly intact,” the artist wrote on his DeviantArt page. The awesome-looking sand structure may not be standing anymore, but the photos taken by Joseph in its glory days are a worthy legacy.