All the sights I visited during these two days are not only interesting for Game of Thrones fans but will impress anyone who likes ancient buildings and history.
Shortly before I left for my eastern Europe road trip I realized that a lot of Game of Thrones was actually filmed in Croatia. The “song of ice and fire” books on which the TV show is based were my favourite books as a teenager and when the show came out I became a fan of that as well… So of course I had to try to at least visit some of the places where they filmed.
My first stop was Šibenik where some of the scenes from episode 9th of season 5 were filmed. They show a girl following some guys in Braavos, I had just watched the episode the night before and so it was a really weird but awesome feeling to actually be in the place just hours later. Walking around the town felt like being in Game of Thrones 🙂 a little bit at least. I would never want to live in a world like that; too cruel, dirty and everyone dies, no thanks 😉 However, they got me and I wanted to visit even more and every possible filming location in Croatia!
This historic town is mainly famous for its four fortresses and the St. Jacob Cathedral (Sv Jakova) which was also the place used for filming Game of Thrones. The Cathedral was transformed into the iron bank of Braavoos for season 5, episode 9 (#509).
What I did miss to visit in Šibenik was the St. John’s fortress (Sv Ivan) which was used as the fighting pit in #507 and #508. I only figured that out after I left Šibenik…
The former Benedictin monastery fortress Kaštilac Fortress is part of Kaštel Gomilica some kilometers north of Split. The fortress was built on an island just connected to the land with a wooden bridge to protect the nuns. Some families moved in as well when their village was destroyed.
Meanwhile the bridge is made out of stone and the beautiful buildings on the island were used in the episodes #502 and #508 as the docks and some alleys of Braavos.
The basements of the Diocletian’s palace were the filming location of four different scenes of Meereen; Daenerys throne room, underground passages (#404), the dungeon where the dragons are locked away as well as different scenes during the trap where the unsullied were attacked by the Sons of the Harpy (#504). Upstairs in the palace the Vestibule was used as the Meereen square where two unsullied were killed by sons of the harpy in the same episode.
Diocletian was a Roman emperor who built the palace in the 4th century AD. It was actually more of a fort where the military protected the emperor in his old days. The building is the world’s best preserved Roman palace and part of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage.
The narrow alleys of Split were used for some other scenes in Meereen, for example the “kill the masters scene” was set in front of the museum (Papalićeva ul., #404).
Villa Dalmacija in the western part of Split has been used as the filming location of Dorne in the 5th season. I was told the place is not open to the public and so I did not try to get there.
The old Zagreb Hotel has been completely covered up to represent the entrance to the House of Black and White starting in #502. The hotel cannot be recognized in the show, really, maybe the surroundings but I decided not to go there. Maybe now I would just for completeness 😉 but who knows where they will be filming the next season or what is going to happen in the next season? The show caught up with the books by the end of season 5, at least for some characters…
An old watermill (Antoničin mlin) in the village of Žrnovnika was the place where Missandei as well as the unsullied took a bath in #408. Great scenes for boys and the girls 😉 The filming took place in a little river next to the mill which is still working today and can be visited. If you’re lucky you might even have a look in the book which shows photos one of the employees took during the filming. For theses scenes I didn’t get the exact location from where they filmed – it seems they were in the water. The river was way to cold to risk to slip on the stones and to sit down 😉
The quarry at the entrance of Žrnovnica was a filming location too for the scene where Daenerys arrives with her army at the gates of Meereen. Either some of the scenes have been filmed at another place though or the rocks in the background have been altered a lot.
I found it hard to find the right spot. First I did drive to the wrong quarry, walked up there and realized that it was wrong (took me a while). In the right quarry I wasn’t sure if I was right and did not spend too much time there, also somehow as a girl alone walking around abandoned quarries just didn’t feel right.
The impressive fortress of Klis (Tvrđava Klis), from which you have a stunning view over Split, has been used for the outside shots of Meereen for different episodes from the 4th and 5th season.
The location is well situated between two mountains and has been used as a strategic point to defend the area for thousands of years. The fortress, which can be visited today, was built in the medieval times.
In addition, nature scenes have been filmed around the area, some close to Split and some in the Krka national park. I think to find the nature scenes you would need someone who tells you exactly where to look for the locations – if not they are very hard to find….
In general I didn’t find it too easy to find the locations. The easiest way to do it is to book a tour with one of the many agencies that offer Game of Thrones tours. Some of the guides might have even played in the show or were somehow involved as many of the extras were Croatian or tourists who happened to be there at the right time. Talking to locals I did hear many stories of them, friends or family members involved in the show.
The next main place to visit Game of Thrones filming locations will be Dubrovnik. On the way there I visited Imotski (with its blue, green and red lake) as well as Ston (also called the European Chinese wall) as I had read that these were used as well. However, I couldn’t figure out yet what exactly was filmed there. OK, I did not go there because of Game of Thrones, I would have anyway visited 😉
Does anyone know what and if they filmed in Imotski and Ston or whether I missed any other Game of Thrones filming locations around Split?