Never before has a television series seen such a huge production effort taking place in multiple locations all at the same time. Game of Thrones is truly an epic adventure, shot on an epic scale in epic locations.
Most of the hit series is filmed in a studio in Belfast as well as certain other locations in Northern Ireland. So popular is Game of Thrones that the Northern Irish economy has actually seen a boost thanks to fans wanting to visit the places where the show is filmed.
However, Game of Thrones' filming has taken place in many other exotic and spectacular locations around the world, and here they are:
The historic Mediterranean island of Malta played host to Season 1 of Game of Thrones as King’s Landing, the capital city of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. This incredibly historic island was itself the island base of the Crusade-era Knights Hospitaller who defended it against the Barbary pirates, the Ottoman Empire and even Napolean himself. The city of Mdina on the island saw its city gate portrayed as the gate to King’s Landing while the island’s Fort Ricasoli presented the perfect substitution for the Red Keep, the castle home of the King of Westeros.
After the first season, the real-world home of King’s Landing was moved to the walled city of Dubrovnik in Croatia. One of the reasons behind the change of location was that the producers wanted to show more exterior shots of a seaside walled city. Fort Lovrijenac, just outside the city, is the new home of the Red Keep while the bay it overlooks played host to the Battle of the Blackwater, in which Stannis Baratheon attacks King’s Landing in an attempt to overthrow King Joffrey.
This isn’t the first time Essaouira’s historic medina has been used by Hollywood. First used in Orson Welles’ Othello, in Season 3 of Game of Thrones it is used to portray the city of Astapor to which Daenerys travels in the hopes of purchasing an army of unsullied warriors. After the transaction takes place, she promptly uses her new army, as well as her dragons, to raze the slave-trader city to the ground and is on her way.
Aït Benhaddou, Morocco
Set in the Atlas Mountains region of Morocco, Aït Benhaddou has also been featured in a number of Hollywood productions including Gladiator, The Mummy and Prince of Persia. In the Game of Thrones' universe it is the city of Yunkai, another slave-trading city that Daenerys besieges with her newly acquired army.
Lake Myvatn, Iceland
Much of the scenes that take place in the mysterious lands Beyond the Wall were shot in Iceland. One specific location was Lake Myvatn thanks to its shoreline that is lined with rock pillars known as “black castles”. It seems almost prophetic that the main stronghold of the Night’s Watch, who guard the wall, is named Castle Black.
The Andalusian region of Spain was used for the first time in the shooting of Season 5. The Spanish countryside was used to portray Oberyn Martell’s native Dorne, a vast, hot and arid region of Westeros.
Watch Game of Thrones every weekday at 23:00 on M-Net City 115.