Last week I wrote about the amazing filming locations I got to see in Iceland, so this week I thought I would follow up with those I saw in Croatia when I visited last summer.
As most fans will know, many scenes of King’s Landing – the site of the Iron Throne and the Red Keep, the seat of the King of the Andals and the First Men – were filmed in and around Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik, Split and other locations in Croatia were also used as Qarth, Mereen and other fictional places from the series.
Even before I started watching and reading A Game of Thrones, Croatia was firmly on my list of must-see places.
Growing up at Winterfell, all I ever wanted was to escape, to come here, to the capital. To see the southern knights and their painted armor, and King’s Landing after dark. All the candles burning in all those windows…
Be careful what you wish for Sansa! SMH
Luckily, my visit was far less traumatic than poor Sansa Stark’s experience of King’s Landing. No Lannisters or beheadings, just plenty of sunshine and photo-taking. While I would love to visit GRRM’s Westeros for the magic and dragons, I’m quite happy with the chance to see its less dangerous but just as glamorous shadow in Croatia.
St Dominika Street (market scenes)
Inside Dubrovnik’s walled old city, tiny lanes and stone houses abound. Many Game of Thrones market scenes and City Watch or ‘Gold Cloaks’ scenes take place here. It’s also where Tyrion and Bronn witness a protest speech in season two (on the steps).
Jesuit Staircase (walk of shame)
Cersei’s season five walk of shame began at the top of the Jesuit Staircase in Dubrovnik. The beautiful Baroque stairs are located on the south side of Gundulic Square. The steps lead up to the Uz Jezuite Street, where you will see the Jesuit Church of St. Ignatius and two of Dubrovnik’s colleges, Collegium Ragusinum and Jesuit College.
Pile (Blackwater Bay)
This lovely spot was once an important transport hub for ships arriving in Dubrovnik. Game of Thrones scenes have taken place from all angles of the cove, called Blackwater Bay in the show. In series three, we see Shae and Sansa Stark watch the ships before Littlefinger discusses escape plans with Sansa at the end of the jetty.
Pile Gate (King’s Landing)
The main entrance to Dubrovnik’s Old Town, it also offers views over a nearby small fishing harbour (aka Blackwater Bay). All Pile corners have been used as settings during second and third season of Game of Thrones.
Bokar Fortress (King’s Landing)
This two-story medieval fortress in Dubrovnik is particularly memborable when Varys tells Tyrion that he’s ‘quite good’ at being the hand of the king. They discuss battle-strategies to defeat Stannis Baratheon’s army while looking out to sea. Off screen, it’s possible to get much closer and it is open to the public all year round.
It was built 1461 by Italian architect Michelozzo di Bartololmeo to defend the western entrance to the city of Dubrovnik. The fort you see today was finally completed in 1570.
Lovrijenac Fortress (the Red Keep)
The Croatians built just one 12-metre thick wall of the gigantic Lovrijenac Fortress to create the illusion that there was a huge citadel to protect the city of Dubrovnik. They escaped invasion by the Venetians using this hasty trick, and were able to complete the building later. Visitors can climb the 175 stone steps and see where the tournament thrown in honour of King Joffrey’s name day took place, as well as other scenes about the Red Keep.
There is power in a king’s blood …
Ploče Gate (the Red Keep Gate)
The east entrance to the Old Town Dubrovnik, Ploče Gate was built in Romanesque style at the end of the 14th century. Above the entrance of the Gate there is a statue of Sveti Vlaho, the patron saint of Dubrovnik. Cersei Lannister passes over this bridge and enters the Red Keep after her walk of shame at the end of season five.
Mineeta Tower (the House of the Undying)
At the highest point of Dubrovnik stands an imposing tower with views across the city. In GOT, this tower was used as the House of the Undying, where Daenerys walks around the exterior seeking entrance.
Heed my words, my queen. The House of the Undying Ones was not made for mortal men. If you value your soul, take care…
You can walk along a high wall above the city and look out over the orange rooftops of King’s Landing to reach the tower.
Diocletian’s Palace (the Khaleesi’s throne room)
Split, Croatia’s second-largest city, is the location of many scenes starring Daenerys Targaryen. The 1700-year-old Diocletian’s Palace was constructed by Emperor Diocletian in the 3rd century and remains one of the city’s most famous sites. While the upper levels of the palace did not survive, the underground tunnels remain fully intact, thanks to years of being used to store rubbish. Over the years they were filled from floor to ceiling with waste, sent via chutes from the palace above. Originally the ceilings and floors would have had mosaic tiling and marble on the walls. Excavated in 1952, visitors can walk around these eerie tunnels and basement rooms.
Diocletian’s Palace was used for scenes of Daenarys in her throne room, where she trained her dragons and where the ‘kill the masters’ scene in season four takes place, when dozens of slaves sit around a fire discussing whether they should fight for her.
All men must die, but we are not men.
Yaas Daenarys and Missandei! #nastygals #valarmorghulis
There are many more locations in Croatia that you could go to see – I can’t tell you what they’re like as I didn’t get there myself, but they are described below.
Klis Fortress (Mereen)
Daenerys overthrows the Meereen, the largest of the three great Slaver Cities (season four) in this spectacular location 20 minutes north of Split. With panoramic views across a valley and the city beneath, this imposing fort has guarded the seat for many a Croatian king. Hikers can climb to the top to see where Daenerys answered ‘injustice with justice’ by nailing the city’s former rulers to crosses for hundreds to see. Fun.
Lokrum Island (Qarth)
Six hundred metres off the coast of Dubrovnik, fans will find the city of Qarth, ruled by the ‘pureborn’. Otherwise known as Lokrum Island, this is where Daenerys Targaryen gets a frosty welcome from the Spice King. In reality, it’s supposed to be lovely and quiet – no cars allowed. Legend holds that Richard the Lionheart sheltered here after his ship was wrecked when he was returning from the Crusades. It is a 15 minute ferry ride from Dubrovnik. Lokrum was apparently cursed by Benedictine monks when they were forced to leave in 1808 and anyone who tries to claim the land comes to a bad end. Now the only inhabitants are rabbits and peacocks.
I really wish I had taken the time to go see Lokrum – I might have to go back again!
Trsteno Arboretum (King’s Landing gardens)
Built in the late 15th century, this garden with spectacular viewpoints is just 20 minutes from Dubrovnik, and is where all the palace garden scenes from King’s Landing take place. It’s here, in season three, that we see Sansa dish the dirt on King Joffrey to Lady Olenna, Queen of Thorns. It is also here that we see Lord Varys and Olenna become allies as they talk about the wellbeing of Sansa.
So there you have a taste of the wonders of Croatia. Notice the blue skies in every photo? It is so beautiful, you don’t have to even have watched Game of Thrones to love visiting every place I mention.
Signing off with a bit of girl power from Aussie songster Amy Shark’s Spits on Girls
Don’t be the boy that spits on girls / Everybody hates that guy … Kill off the character, what’d she say?…Why would I even buy a new dress, just to impress