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Archive for April, 2018

Have you ever watched Game of Thrones? Or are you a fan of the fantasy series and think you know everything about it? Maybe this post will give you some new information. And if you have never seen a single episode of the show, after reading the following lines, you might want to give the series a chance or at least travel to some of these picturesque places.

GOT (as fans like to call it) is considered record holder of the Emmy Awards and analysing its audience numbers, it is the most successful series in the world. The production, based on the novels “The Song of Ice and Fire” by George R. R. Martin, has achieved the cult status of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which it often gets compared to. And while the story around the highly competitive Iron Throne is of course fictional, many of the imposing locations are real! And above all, the filming locations are not that far away. The following places might give you a déjà vu. So lets us take you on a trip to Westeros and Essos.

While the first 4 seasons where mainly shot in northern European countries, season 5 of Game of Thrones added some Spanish locations in Andalusia. For example, the Royal Palace in Sevilla, the Real Alcázar. The former king’s palace from the 14th century took over the role of the water gardens of the peninsula Dorne in the south of Westeros, where Prince Oberyn Martell’s older brother, Prince Doran resided.
In real life, the Spanish royal family spends several weeks a year in this impressive building but the palace was used several times before as film setting, for example for  the movie “Kingdom of Heaven” by Ridley Scott.

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the Real Alcázar on the left and the shooting of a scene on the right

Another venue was the Andalusian city of Osuna, about an hour drive from Sevilla, whose bullring was converted into the Arena of Meereen. You might also remember that Daenerys had her first dragon flight starting from this arena.
Also seen in season 5, the Roman Bridge of Córdoba that helped Varys and Tyrion reach the city of Volantis.

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the bullring of Osuna made a great arena of Meereen

Moreover, season 6 was partly filmed in Andalusia too, just like season 5. Castillo de Almodóvar del Rio served as the rose garden.
The city of Cáceres in the region of Extremadura became an important location as well. Cáceres was transformed into Altsass while the Castillo de Trujillo took on the role of Casterly Rock.

Another castle that was used as film setting is the Castillo de Zafra, a 12th – century castle in Castilla – La Mancha. In addition to that, the Castell de Santa Florentina in Barcelona and many buildings and streets in the old town of Girona, Catalonia were among the filming locations. The small town north of Barcelona became the Free City of Braavos in Essos. With its Arab Baths, Plaça dels Jurats and Carrer de la Claveria, it was just perfect for the story line. The Cathedral of Girona served as the Great Septe of Baelor and the Monestir de Sant Pere de Galligants took on the role of the citadel in Altsass.

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do you recognize the Great Septe of Baelor?

But that’s not it! Some scenes of season 7 were again shot in Spain. The film crew travelled to the mountains of the natural park Bardenas Reales, a semi-desert in Navarra in the north of the peninsula and to the Basque Country.

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the mystical looking Basque Country with these Flysch formations made a great film setting

Places that embody the island of Dragonstone in Game of Thrones are the monastery of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, located on a small island between Bakio and Bermeo, the secluded Playa de Muriola near Barrika and Playa de Itzurun near Zumaia, which is located in a beautiful bay, surrounded by green mountains that reach down to the sea. The spectacular cliffs with their flysch formations were just perfect for some of the scenes in season 7.

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San Juan de Gaztelugatxe also known as island of Dragonstone

After reading all this, are you going to watch Games of Thrones now? The series is not over yet, there is still one season to come in 2019. While you’re waiting for the next season to air, come to Spain to have an exclusive behind the scenes experience.
Across Spain offers a unique Game of Thrones tour that includes some of the mentioned places. For more information get in touch with us!

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When thinking about the Iberian Peninsula beaches, tapas and flamenco immediately come to mind however barely anyone associates Spain with castles, palaces and fortresses, although there are over 6000 of them spread across the country. Most people know the famous Alhambra fortress but there are so many more ancient castles that tell stories, give a historical overview and offer entertainment for everyone.

Whether it is a medieval castle that was built during the times of Christian Reconquest designed to give refuge to the town’s people, a Renaissance or Baroque construction or a fortified tower by the sea preventing attacks of pirates or the Berbers. It all can be found in Spain. To give you an overview, the following paragraphs will include some of the most important castles.

Fortress of Toledo

The construction of this Renaissance castle dates back to Roman times when Alfonso VI was ruler of the kingdom. With the Emperor Carlos V the building was reconstructed again, this time, by the architect Alonso de Covarrubias. The facades are Renaissance, with towers and crenellated defense, built according to Alonso de Covarrubias and later Juan de Herrera. After the last reconstruction, it has been housing offices of the Army as well as the Army Museum.

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Toledo, the city of three cultures

Castle of Loarre

An important medieval castle is the Castle of Loarre, located in Huesca, in the north-east of the Peninsula.  Built on the order of Sancho Ramírez I of Aragon upon the remains of a Roman building, this castle served as a royal palace until the 12th century, when it was converted into the convent of the Order of St. Augustine.

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built in the 11th century, this is one of the oldest castles in Spain

Fortress of Segovia

Located at the confluence of two rivers, the castle was built on a rock, which indicates its original military use. It served as a residence for Alfonso VIII.
In the 13th century the building acquired a Gothic aspect with the intervention of the architects Juan II and Enrique IV. The last architectural phase was in the year 1587, by the hand of architect Francisco de Mora, possibly in collaboration with Juan de Herrera, who designed the Main Court and the School of Honor. The building has numerous secret passages that go down to the river and communicate with some places in town.

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the Alcázar of Segovia was used as setting for several tv series and movies

Royal Palace of La Almudaina

La Almudaina was the seat of the independent kingdom of Mallorca during the reigns of Jaime II, Sancho I and Jaime III. The gothic castle is the result of the modification of the Muslim fortress in 1281. Inside the building, there are various tapestries and furniture of different historical monuments. As for now, it is used by the King of Spain as a residence for official ceremonies during the summer.

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Furthermore, watchtowers can be found all along the coast of Spain. The tower in A Coruña helped defending the land from English pirates while the castle of Santa Barbara in Alicante repelled French, English and Arab enemies.
The Torre del Oro in Sevilla is probably the most famous tower in Spain. Formerly covered with golden tiles and located on the banks of the Guadalquivir River, it was built in 1220 and forms part of the wall of the city.

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the Torre del Oro on the left, above the Hercules tower of A Coruña and in the right corner the castle and tower of Santa Barbara in Alicante

Castle of San Fernando

Located on the Costa Brava, close to Girona, Catalonia, this castle is considered the largest bastion fortress in Europe. It was built with the intention to reinforce the frontier to protect Spanish territory from foreign troops. One of the castle’s highlights is its courtyard, with a total area of 12,000 squaremetres. The inner enclosure is formed by five bastions of different sizes and it includes a stable with space for 450 horses.

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the crown shapped complex is the biggest fortress of the 18th century in Europe

Castle of Ponferrada

What makes this medieval fortress in Castilla y Leon in the north of Spain so special are the tunnels that let the castle of Ponferrada communicate with the castles of Cornatel, the monastery of Carracedo and the castle of Monforte de Lemos. These are the places where the Templars that lived in Ponferrade fled when they were defeated.

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If these breath-taking pictures have caught your attention don’t miss our next post with more picturesque places to discover in Spain!

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