The city of Dubrovnik is well and truly a blast from the past. The medieval past, that is! When you stroll around, you will spot lots of fortifications, Gothic palaces, and a very pretty harbour area. But if you look at these sights a bit closer, you might even recognise them from TV. That’s because this city now undergoes an annual transformation, and is turned into the fantasy world of the TV show ‘Game of Thrones’.
The seventh series of the show has just begun and now is your chance to tune in if you haven’t already. You will notice that the fictional King’s Landing city is actually Dubrovnik. So, there’s no wonder why the city has seen an influx of tourists and their selfie sticks over the past few years.
Many of the show’s scenes, which are based on the stories in George R R Martin’s popular books, are filmed around the city. If you take a stroll around the city’s historic streets, you will feel like you are walking around the fictional capital of the Seven Kingdoms. You will certainly notice that most of the fifth season’s dramatic final episode, Walk of Atonement, was filmed in various parts of Dubrovnik.
This particular episode is known for its scenes in which the House of Lannister’s Queen Cersei – played by Lena Headey – is forced to walk through the city completely naked to gain atonement for cheating on her husband. Costing around $200,000 dollars, the whole shoot took four days to complete.
Filming Game of Thrones obviously comes at a huge cost to the studio, which is based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Even though the studio is in Ireland, costs are further increased as most of the shooting locations are in Croatia and Spain. So, filming involves a lot of swapping locations and coordinating different crews.
But it’s not just a cost to the studio as Dubrovnik has to completely shut down while filming takes place. Restaurants and shops can’t open, and tourists are not allowed into the historic center.
However, when filming ends and the city is open up again, there are lots of different Game of Throne themed tour groups that show tourists exactly where the show’s famous scenes are filmed. Many tour guides also explain how very technical scenes are shot.
Even though the city is very historic and scenic, there is another reason why it was chosen as such a prominent location for Game of Thrones – the old town is completely car free. But this does bring some problems, as the crew need to carry very heavy cameras and equipment so that they can film. But that is something they are willing to do to shoot in such a beautiful place.
Unfortunately, filming Games of Thrones here is set to end in 2018. However, the Croatian government has secured some other film deals with other productions, including the new Star Wars film and a remake of Robin Hood, starring Jamie Dornan.
It looks like Dubrovnik won’t disappear from our screens anytime soon!
Jenny has been reporting on small business issues since 2001 where she held a number of freelance positions across the leading SME publications in the UK. Specialist subjects included SME financing and tax.