The 4,000-year-old capital of Malta, Mdina, is sometimes known as the Silent City and is responsible for bringing The Red Keep to life, starting with the towering Mdina Gate. The gate is seen in season one as the Starks first ride into King’s Landing. Fort Ricasoli plays the part of the Red Keep Gate, and the 16th-century San Anton Palace plays the part of The Red Keep. The San Anton Palace is actually located in the Maltese town of Balzan and was a major filming location for the Red Keep.
In the town of Birgu, the underground tunnels of the walled fortress of Fort St Angelo are used for scenes set within the Red Keep dungeons. Birgu is only a small distance from Fort Ricasoli, and is widely celebrated for its colonial architecture. The fort is home to where Ned Stark spent his last days alive before his beheading in the Sept of Baelor.
Malta was also home to the beautiful ocean rock formation, The Azure Window, where Daenerys was married to Khal Drogo. An iconic setting and landmark, this natural arch sat along the sea cliffs on the western coast of Gozo. The Azure Window was one of the main tourist attractions in Malta. Unfortunately, the formation was lost to the sea in early 2017, after heavy winds and tides eroded the formation. The Azure Window can no longer be seen, yet the location remains an idyllic and fascinating place to visit.
Morocco has been a popular filming location for Game of Thrones, ideal for depicting the eastern cities of Slaver’s Bay. Ait-Ben-Haddou, situated between Marrakesh and the Sahara, was the location of Yunkai and Pentos during season three. Recognised as the ‘yellow-city’ due to its amber complexion, Ait-Ben-Haddou provides the perfect city backdrop needed to realistically recreate George R.R. Martin’s idea of Yunkai.
The village of Ait-Ben-Haddou is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is a place of raw beauty with its desert-like image. For those eager to visit this isolated Moroccan village, a day trip from Marrakesh is recommended as it does take a few hours to drive there.
Ouarzazate, Atlas Studios and Essaouira
The town of Ouarzazate should be considered mandatory for both Game of Thrones fans and movie buffs alike on any visit to Morocco. Ouarzazate is home to the largest film studio in the world, Atlas Studios. The studio hosts a range of sets from the series, including main shots of Pentos. Ouarzazate is located only a short distance from Ait-Ben-Haddou making the pilgrimage to these Game of Thrones destinations a little easier.
The city of Essaouira, located around 100 kilometres west of Marrakesh, was also chosen to represent the slave city of Astapor. Astapor was a significant win for the Queen of Dragons as an army of Unsullied warriors joined her in her fight for the Iron Throne.