Last month I took a quick trip to Sevilla, one of the prettiest Spanish cities I’ve ever been to. A highlight for me was visiting “Dorne”, one of the Kingdoms from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire (more popularly known as A Game of Thrones). The HBO series chose Sevilla as the filming location, and I don’t think they could have picked a better city!
If you’re a big Game of Thrones fan like I am, you’re probably hoping to visit some of the stunning locations used on the series. Fortunately for me, last season Game of Thrones came to Spain to film a number of scenes. Specifically, Andalucía stood in for Dorne, the kingdom ruled by House Martell. The Real Alcázar, one of Sevilla’s most well known sites, was chosen as the filming location for the fictitious royal family’s palace.
The Real Alcázar
Andalucía has a fascinating history, and was part of the Moorish empire for almost eight centuries. Much of the Arabic influence is still present today including amazing architecture that is distinct from the rest of Spain, and Arabic loanwords used in modern Castilian.
One marvellous example of Moorish architectural design is the Real Alcázar. This Royal Palace has been in the hands of many kings and conquerors since it’s initial creation in the early 900s. What has remained however, is the unique Mudéjar style which is admired and loved by many.
After walking through the entrance, you will find yourself in the large Patio de la Monteria. The name comes from the word montero which means huntsman. This is where the King, huntsmen, and other gentleman would meet before heading off to for a hunt.Further into the Alcázar is the stunning Patio de las Doncellas, a rectangular courtyard containing a small fountain. The name of the patio translates to The Courtyard of the Maidens. It is based on an urban legend about the Muslim Moors demanding an annual gift of 100 virgin maidens from the Castile Kingdom. If the Castile Kingdom failed to provide this gift, the Moors threatened to conquer them. Though most likely untrue, it served as encouragement for the Christian Kingdoms to join together to reconquer the south of Spain.
Moving through the Alcázar leads to the Jardin de Estanque de Mercurio, which pays homage to the Roman god Mercury. Among others, Mercury is the patron saint of commerce, eloquence, communication, travelers, and luck. A statue of Mercury stands in the middle of a square pond in the garden.
Here’s a short clip of a scene filmed in the Jardin de Estanque de Mercurio.
The Jardin de Estanque de Mercurio is just one of many gardens on the grounds. There is also a small hedge maze and grassy lawns.
Unfortunately quite a bit of the interior of the Alcázar was under construction when I visited, so I don’t have many shots of the rooms. But as you can see, the gardens and courtyard were amazing, and I didn’t feel like I missed out on that much.
In the 1987 the Real Alcázar was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site . Not only has it been beautifully maintained for centuries, it is also the oldest royal palace still in use. The upper floors of the Alcázar serve as the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family when they are in the city. If you’re ever in Sevilla, make sure to visit this gem!
Have you ever visited Sevilla? What did you think? If you’re a GoT fan, do you think they chose a good filming location for Dorne?
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