Seville’s Game of Thrones filming locations

The heading might be a bit of a misnomer, as I only actually saw one filming location in Seville, and I’m going to branch off into other factoids not directly related to Seville or Game of Thrones but cut me some slack, titles are hard.

So.

Keeping with my series of filming locations you can experience for yourself (see my posts about Iceland and Croatia), this week I’m going to blog about beautiful Seville, Spain, which has unsurprisingly been used as a filming location for many shows and movies.

A big drawcard for me was the Royal Alcazar, which was used as the water gardens of Dorne in A Game of Thrones (NOT pictured above, by the way).

The Royal Alcazar of Seville

The Royal Alcazar is located in the heart of the city as a hidden oasis among all the buildings. It is an old Moorish Palace still occasionally home to the King of Spain. The style of the palace is heavily influenced by the Moorish occupation of Spain in the middle ages. The word Alcázar comes from the Arabic word for castle, al-qasr.

A Game of Thrones’ water gardens are the private estate of the House of Martell. Dorne is the southernmost of the Seven Kingdoms in the series, and is the hottest and most exotic, famous for its excellent wine and licentious natives.

Dorne had seemed a queer place to him as well when first he came here… the Dornishmen all spoke too quickly for him to understand. Dornish women were lewd, Dornish wine was sour, and Dornish food was full of queer hot spices. And the Dornish sun was hotter than the pale, wan sun of Norvos, glaring down from a blue sky day after day.

Sounds  bit like Seville! The sun part, I mean.

Walking around this World Heritage Site it’s easy to imagine you’re in the hidden walled settlement of Sunspear, with narrow alleys, hidden courts and noisy bazaars as described in the books by George RR Martin.

I expected them to really capitalise on their Game of Thrones connection, but there were no signs or souvenirs or anything. So it pays to know in advance what to look for. I wasn’t sure so I took photos of everything! I ended up spending about three hours there exploring every nook and cranny.

One of the main scenes of the Alcazar is this yellow building (the King’s Royal balcony) where Prince Doran sat overlooking the gardens. You can’t actually go up there to see the same view as shown on GOT, but you can go up on the wall surrounding the gardens and get the same view from a slightly different angle.

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The King’s royal balcony, overlooking the Mercury fountain

If you walk down from the Mercury fountain you will see a small archway and steps leading under the building to the Maria de Padilla baths. These are the scene of clandestine meeting between Ellaria and the Sandsnakes. In real life they are peaceful, cool and quiet – a welcome respite from the hot Spanish sun.

You must choose. Doran’s way and peace, or my way and war.

– Ellaria to the Sandsnakes

You can see the courtyard where Jamie and Bronn had a (wildly unpopular) fight scene with the Sandsnakes.

Bronn: It’s against my code to hurt a woman.
Obara Sand: It’s amazing how many men we beat seem to have this code.

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The white building is seen in the background of the fight scene

This gate is also seen – just insert the Sunspear symbol in that blank space in your mind’s eye …

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See how beautiful the gardens are …

The distinctive gold mosaic of the ceiling of the Hall of Ambassadors is shown when Jamie Lannister is brought to account before the Prince Doran.

Many in Dorne want war. But I’ve seen war. I’ve seen the bodies piled on the battlefields. I’ve seen the orphans starving in the cities. I don’t want to lead my people into that hell.

– Prince Doran, being one of the good guys.

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Not my finest piece of photography, but you get the picture.

I recommend you buy your ticket online in advance here. I visited in April and the line for tickets on the day was extremely long. Whereas if you buy your ticket online, you can pretty much walk straight in. I think I even showed up for an earlier time slot than the one I’d paid for and they let me in anyway.

Entrance is around 9.50 euro for an adult in 2017, which is very good value for my mind.

Plaza de España

You should take the time to see Seville’s other famous filming location, located just a short walk away from the Alcazar (and see the rest of Seville too, it’s all lovely).

Seville’s Plaza de España was a backdrop in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones.

The scenes only made 48 seconds of the film in the end as exterior shots of the City of Theed on the Planet Naboo, but apparently you can find more deleted scenes online.

Plaze de España is so exotic that it has been used as a backdrop in many films including the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia and the 2012 film The Dictator.

The best part is – ‘entrance’ is free! Definitely top value here folks.

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Plaza de Espana

Both of these locations – and Seville in general – are up there among my favourite tourist spots now, as they were just stunningly beautiful. The architecture is amazing with so many intricate details to pick out and despite that they still photograph well. In the wise words of Oberyn Martell (oh how I miss you):

It is a big and beautiful world. Most of us live and die in the same corner where we were born and never get to see any of it. I don’t want to be most of us.

Side note – the nearby town of Osuna was also used to film a key scene from A Game of Thrones series five. The Osuna bullring is used for Danzak’s Pit in Mereen, with some cool aerial shots of the dragon diving in to rescue his queen. I didn’t have time to visit … this time. Also on my hit list if I return to the area will be a visit to Cordoba to see the Roman Bridge (and everything else in Cordoba of course) which stood in for The Long Bridge in GRRM’s Free City of Volantis.

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