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THE HOTTEST GAME OF THRONES INSPIRED TRAVEL DESTINATIONS

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“Celebrating Season 8 of Game of Thrones!”

For the past 10-years, we’ve been treated to one of the most entertaining and quality series’ ever to hit television screens.
Forget all about winter that might be coming – Game of Thrones, watched by a record-breaking 17.4 million on Sunday 14 April, is the hottest thing in town right now.
Let’s have a look at some of the most traveled to GOT filming locations to help you pick your next Game of Thrones inspired FDN travel destination:

King’s Landing
– Dubrovnik (Croatia)

Watergardens of Dorne
– The Alcázar of Seville (Spain)

Winterfell
– Castle Ward (Northern Ireland)

 

FUN & INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT GAME OF THRONES

  • The show has an unaired pilot! It was so bad that it had to be shelved and reshot.
  • You can learn Dothraki and speak like Khal Drogo in no time. Living Language released a conversational language course crafted by linguist, David J. Peterson, who created Dothraki for the show.
  • British actor and stunt performer, Ian Whyte, has played a whopping four roles on the show! He was a White Walker in seasons 1 and 2; played Gregor Clegane in season 2; in season 3 we saw him as a giant, and in season 5 he acted as the Wildling Giant, Wun Wun.
  • Each episode of season 8 cost around $15 million to film.

DUBROVNIK

Location: Croatia
In GOT: King’s Landing

THE HOTTEST GAME OF THRONES INSPIRED TRAVEL DESTINATIONS 1

Named by the Croats, Dubrovnik’s name was derived from dubrava, meaning wood, because the earliest settlement was nearby an oak forest.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site has been preserved at its best despite being bombed during the Croatian War of Independence.
Due to its beauty and connection to Game of Thrones, it has lately become quite the tourist hub.

 

THE HOTTEST GAME OF THRONES INSPIRED TRAVEL DESTINATIONS 2HISTORY

  • 7th Century A.D: Founded as a refuge for coastal residents fleeing from the Slavs. Defensive walls built. Flourished as part of the Byzantine Empire.
  • 7th- 13th Centuries: Built extensive trade channels with maritime ports such as Genoa, Venice, Turkey, and India.
  • 13th- Mid 14th Century: Attacked by Venice and fell under its rule until 1358 when the Treaty of Zadar freed the city from Venetian rule and became Croat-Hungarian.
  • Middle Ages: Huge influence on maritime trade and chief
    competitor of the Venetian empire. Influence expanded beyond the Adriatic.
  • 17th Century: Earthquake in 1667 destroyed art and architecture of the city. Despite reconstruction, trade declined.
  • 19th Century: Napoleon arrived in 1806. The Republic of Ragusa dissolved in 1808. After Napoleon’s fall in 1815, Dubrovnik became part of the Habsburg Empire until 1918.
  • 20th Century: Tourism kicked in. After the second Yugoslav period in 1945, the city gained worldwide prominence. Included in UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979.
  • The 1990s: Siege of Dubrovnik in October 1991 to May 1992. The war between the Yugoslav People’s Army and Croatian forces defending Dubrovnik destroyed the city during the Croatian War of Independence. A UNESCO-led team helped in reconstruction worth $10 million.

For a small Croatian city, Dubrovnik sure has a rich cultural history and origin. Did you know it also has its own ‘mythology’ called Raguseida, written in the 15th century?

INTERESTING FACTS

  • Extremely Low Altitude: The small fortified city’s altitude is a mere three meters above sea level! No wonder the beautiful beaches seem to lure hordes of excited visitors.
  • Never Breached: Dubrovnik, surrounded by two kilometers of fortifications, have never been infiltrated. The walls encircling the old city were constructed between the 12th and 17th centuries, and are up to six meters thick.
  • Friends of USA: When this small city was the capital of the Republic of Ragusa, it was the first country to recognize the United States as a sovereign state after its declaration of independence from the British.
  • Abolishing Slavery: Back in the 15th century, the then State of Dubrovnik was among the first to abolish the slave trade.
  • Saved An English King: In 1192, Richard the Lionheart was returning home from the crusades and was caught in a storm. It was then that he decided that whenever he reached land he would build a cathedral to God. It so happened that he landed on the small island of Lokrum opposite Dubrovnik, and built the Cathedral Of The Assumption Of The Virgin Mary after locals convinced him to construct the church in Dubrovnik and not Lokrum.
  • Colonies: You wouldn’t think that such a small country would be a colonizer, but it did have a few colonies. One of the prominent ones is the village Gandaulim, in Old Goa, India.

TOP ATTRACTIONS

  • Fortifications
    THE HOTTEST GAME OF THRONES INSPIRED TRAVEL DESTINATIONS 3
    The city’s impenetrable fortifications are its icon. They measure 2 km in length, is a maximum of 25 m in height, and boasts 120 plus canons, five bastions, and four gates. From the top, views are astoundingly beautiful over the blue Adriatic Sea, which you may recall from GOT.
    Notice the shelling damage to the terracotta rooftops during the 1990s Siege of Dubrovnik. The first walls were built in the 9th century, and subsequently, from the 14th century onwards more fortifications were added with fifteen forts to combat threats from the Turks.
    Don’t forget to visit the Minčeta and Bokar Towers, Fort Lawrence, Fort Revelin and Fort St John.

     

  • The Cathedral Of The Assumption Of The Virgin
    THE HOTTEST GAME OF THRONES INSPIRED TRAVEL DESTINATIONS 4
    Popularly known as the Dubrovnik Cathedral, it was funded and built by King Richard I (England) in the 12th century who was saved from a shipwreck at Lokrum.
    In 1667, the cathedral was destroyed by an earthquake and rebuilt in 1713.
    Notice the violet altar of St John Nepomuk and the polyptych of the Virgin made by Italian painter, Titan. The most striking relic is the treasury dripping in gold and silver with contributions by local goldsmiths.
  • Rector’s Palace
    THE HOTTEST GAME OF THRONES INSPIRED TRAVEL DESTINATIONS 5
    This magnificent Gothic-Renaissance palace was built in the 15th century for the rector governing the then Republic of Ragusa. It featured the rector’s chambers, public halls, offices and even a dungeon.
    Today, it houses the city’s Cultural History Museum showcasing a variety of artifacts such as several coat of arms, portraits, and rooms dedicated to Dubrovnik’s glorious past.
    Over the centuries, the building was destroyed and restored repeatedly.
    Make an effort to see the ornate atrium staircase used for concerts and the bust of Miho Pracat, a shipowner in 1638 who left his wealth to the Republic; he was the only commoner to be honored with a statue.

  • Oldest Pharmacy in the World
    Housed inside the city’s Franciscan Monastery, and founded in 1317, this remarkable business is still operational!
    Back in the day the monks would make herbal medicine. Today, it sells modern pharmaceuticals, but you can still find a selection of creams and teas prepared according to the ancient recipes of the monks.

  • Sponza Palace
    Formerly a customs house, this palace was later a mint and treasury of the state and eventually a bank. Today, it is home to the State Archives where visits will find manuscripts dating back a thousand years.
    The palace itself is a grand mixture of 16th-century Gothic-Renaissance styles.
    Most prominent is the Memorial Room which has black and white photos of young men who died during the 1990 siege.

FILMING GOT IN DUBROVNIK

THE ALCÁZAR OF SEVILLE

Location: Spain
In GOT: The Water Gardens of Dorne – House Martell

THE HOTTEST GAME OF THRONES INSPIRED TRAVEL DESTINATIONS 6

The Alcázar, one of Europe’s oldest palaces, isn’t famous for featuring as the Water Gardens of Dorne and the seat of House Martell in Game of Thrones. It’s been well-known and well visited before that. The Alcázar is seen as one of the most visited complexes in the world.

The Alcázar enjoys world heritage status as a UNESCO world heritage site (since 1987) and is known for being the third largest Gothic palace within Europe. It’s the oldest palace to still be in use today by the royal family of Spain.

The Alcázar of Spain covers a vast area and was first built by the Almohades (Almohad Caliphate), a movement founded by Moroccan Berber Muslims. They called the palace, Al-Muwarak. (It was only later renamed to, Alcázar.)

HISTORY

  • Year 712: First occupation of Seville by Moorish conquest. They establish several royal residences in the area.
  • 12 Century: Construction takes place by the Almohades, and a palace takes form. The architecture of this time reflects Islamic influences with features such as arabesques and calligraphy. (Today, only the following original Islamic features remain: Sala de Justicia, Patio del Crucero, Patio de Yeso, and Patio de la Casa de Contratación.)
  • 13 Century: The Catholic Kings of Spain reclaim the area during this time, and introduces various other types of architecture to the already existing Islamic architecture, such as Gothic, Romanesque and Renaissance, which gives the Alcazar it’s unique appearance today – known as Mudéjar.
  • Middle Ages: Some buildings where wholly demolished and rebuilt, or additions where made.

With such diverse architectural combinations, it is no wonder the Alcázar provides visitors with an awe-inspiring insight into the 12th, 13th and later centuries, and existence. A photographers dream come true, that’s for sure.

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The Alcázar of Seville is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.
  • It is referred to in Spanish as Reales Alcázares de Sevilla and directly translates to Royal Alcazars of Seville.
  • Believe it or not, but the top levels of the Alcázar Palace are still in use today, which makes it the oldest royal palace even in use in Europe. (The royal family uses it as their official Seville residence.)
  • Moorish architecture appears within the interior of the Alcázar.
  • The palace featured in Season 5 of GOT in episodes 2, 6, 7 and 9, as well in other films, including Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and Kingdom of Heaven (2005).

TOP ATTRACTIONS

  • The Puerta del León
    Is the primary entranceway into the palace. You will notice intricate tile-work right above the gate, together with a lion holding a cross. The script is written in Gothic.

  • The Dormitorio de Los Reyes Moros

  • The Patio de las Doncellas
    THE HOTTEST GAME OF THRONES INSPIRED TRAVEL DESTINATIONS 7

    The Courtyard of the Maidens gets its name from a legend that refers to a 100 virgins which had to be brought from Iberia each year as a tribute to the Moors by the Christian Kingdoms of the time. The courtyard itself is simply beautiful.

  • The Patio de Las Muñecas

  • La Casa de Contratación (House of Trade)
    Catholic monarchs established the House of Trade in 1503, to ensure trade negotiations with the ‘New World,’ was effectively regulated. The building is today famous for housing several paintings depicting the discovery of the America’s. Once such a remarkable painting is\ The Virgin of the Navigators, by Alejo Fernandez.

  • The Alcázar Gardens
    THE HOTTEST GAME OF THRONES INSPIRED TRAVEL DESTINATIONS 8

    Features in Game of Thrones (Season 5)

TOP ATTRACTIONS

  • The Puerta del León
    Is the primary entranceway into the palace. You will notice intricate tile-work right above the gate, together with a lion holding a cross. The script is written in Gothic.

  • The Dormitorio de Los Reyes Moros

  • The Patio de las Doncellas
    THE HOTTEST GAME OF THRONES INSPIRED TRAVEL DESTINATIONS 7

    The Courtyard of the Maidens gets its name from a legend that refers to a 100 virgins which had to be brought from Iberia each year as a tribute to the Moors by the Christian Kingdoms of the time. The courtyard itself is simply beautiful.

  • The Patio de Las Muñecas

  • La Casa de Contratación (House of Trade)
    Catholic monarchs established the House of Trade in 1503, to ensure trade negotiations with the ‘New World,’ was effectively regulated. The building is today famous for housing several paintings depicting the discovery of the America’s. Once such a remarkable painting is\ The Virgin of the Navigators, by Alejo Fernandez.

  • The Alcázar Gardens
    THE HOTTEST GAME OF THRONES INSPIRED TRAVEL DESTINATIONS 8

    Features in Game of Thrones (Season 5)

TOUR VIDEO

CASTLE WARD

Location: Northern Ireland
In GOT: Winterfell – House Stark

THE HOTTEST GAME OF THRONES INSPIRED TRAVEL DESTINATIONS 11
Photo Credit: Irishdeltaforce

Castle Ward is an 18th-century castle located on a hillside overlooking the calm waters of Strnagford Lough – seven miles from Downpatrick in County Down.

Occupying a vast area of 820 acres on the shores of Strangford Lough near the village of the same name, the castle has a mix of Georgian and Gothic architecture. With its distinctive 15-meter (50-feet) tall-fortified tower house, it is indeed a sight to behold.

The castle is meticulously preserved and showcases its Victorian laundry, saw and corn mills.

HISTORY

  • 1570: Castle Ward, known formerly as Carrick na Sheannagh, was owned by the Earls of Kildare. It was bought by Bernard Ward, father of Sir Robert Ward (Surveyor-General of Ireland), and since 1570, has it been the residence of the Ward family – a prominent Anglo-Irish gentry. With Bernard Ward becoming the First Viscount Bangor as a reward for his political service, the family rose in aristocracy.
  • 1720: Judge Michael Ward, the father of Bernard Ward, built a mansion on the estate in 1720. It was demolished in 1850, leaving behind some associated landscaping.
  • 1747: Bernard Ward married a widow, Lady Ann Bligh, and wanted to build an impressive building that matched the dignity of his position. He planned a classical Palladian style grand edifice but met with resistance from none other than his own wife. She preferred Gothic Revival architectural style with turrets, spires, and the like. Unfortunately, they could not reach a compromise, with the castle thus displaying a blend of both styles. The façade of three-floors is built in classical Palladian style, while the rear of the castle is unique to 18th century Gothic Revival style. This difference is not only in architecture but extends right up to the furnishings, fan vault ceilings, and pseudo-medieval décor.
  • 1748: Castle Ward passed on to Bernard Ward’s eldest son, Nicholas, under a settlement made in 1748. Nicholas, being insane, was moved to a smaller house in Downpatrick by his youngest brother Robert, after the demise of Edward, another brother elder to Robert. Edward died leaving behind a son. Robert went on to remove all valuable items from the castle, and it thus stood empty until the death of Nicholas in 1827.
  • 1827: Edward’s son, the third Viscount, inherited the castle and restored it. This process was carried out by his descendants till the death of the sixth Viscount of the Ward family, after which the castle ceased to be theirs.
  • 1950: The Government of Northern Ireland takes control of the castle.
  • 1952: The Government of Northern Ireland handed over the castle, along with its gardens, to the National Trust in 1952.

INTERESTING FACTS

  • It is alleged that such was the incompatibility between Bernard Ward and his wife, Lady Ann Bligh, that they eventually separated, but not before Ann bore Bernard eight children!
  • The castle came into national news in 1973 when two members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army were killed there when their bomb exploded prematurely on the castle grounds.
  • The castle has been the venue for hosting the Castleward Opera, an annual summer opera festival, from 1985 to 2010.
  • The castle won the Highly Commended Best Visitor Experience, at Northern Ireland Tourism Awards in 2014.
  • In 2015, Castle Ward House and Demesne were awarded a Silver Award in the Green Tourism Business Scheme.

TOP ATTRACTIONS

  • Unique Architectural Styles
    See as a one-of-its-kind blend of classical Palladian and Gothic Revival architectural styles. The frontage of the building is in traditional Palladian style with columns supporting a triangular pediment. The opposite side displays Georgian Gothic style with pointed windows, battlements, and finials. These differing styles continue throughout the interior of the house, divided down the center.

  • GOT Filming Sites
    See most of the twenty filming locations of the Game of Thrones, and live out your fantasies by dressing up like your favorite GOT characters.

  • Nature’s Cradle
    Inside the 820 acres spread of the castle, you can walk or cycle along the Lough Trail or through the sheltered woodlands and enjoy nature’s flora and fauna.

  • Sunken Garden
    Don’t miss a refreshing stroll through the sunken garden – a four-tier Victorian garden displaying subtropical plants and flowers of all hues.

BEHIND THE SCENES - FILMING WINTERFELL AND THE GREAT WAR

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