Braavos – Game of Thrones
We decided to take a trip to Croatia, and started by flying into Split. The main industry in Split is tourism, and it has been boosted because it was one of the locations where they filmed numerous Game of Thrones episodes.
Particularly, the entire city of Braavos was actually a small castle (which is really more like an apartment complex) located just 30 minutes north of Split in the town of Sibenik. As you can see in the above picture, Oana is standing in the same place a young women is walking down some stairs while Arya is in the foreground (not in focus).
As you can see, the door in the background is the same one as the other Braavos picture above. Apparently because it took a few days to get each location set up, they wanted to film as much as possible at each location. It was very common to shoot many scenes at the same location, but from different angles, to maximize the use of each space. As we toured this Game of Thrones filming location, our guide, Tonci, walked up through a few episodes and where all the different scenes were filmed.
Meereen – Game of Thrones
Meereen is mostly filmed at a ruin outside of Split called Klis Fortress. This Fortress had been used for over a millennium, and even until WWII. It was in a strategic location just above the town of Split, and could protect the town from invaders from inland Eastern Europe. One interesting thing we found out was that all the extras were just Croatians who were paid (not that much) to wear costumes and appear in the scenes. Also, although there appears to be a few hundred people in this scene, they only used a few dozen. What they would do is shoot them in one location, then move them to another location, and film them there, and keep moving them around. Then they would edit them into the film in the different locations, so they didn’t have to pay so many people. It was cheaper to do it that way than to CGI them in later.
Another interesting thing they did was film from angels to avoid modern buildings. In the picture on the left, Daenerys is walking into a tunnel, but as you can see on the right, there is a modern looking building (that was added in the last century). To avoid the building, they filmed so that the building wasn’t in the shot. It looks like they got far away and zoomed in, because the same tree behind Daenerys, is the same tree behind Oana. It looks like they shot this from the ground as well.
We even found a location that Nathalie Emmanuel had a picture of her shot (not during the show obviously) and re-created the picture. You can see that since this picture was taken originally, they’ve added a hand rail at the steps. You can also see that there are clothes drying on clotheslines in both pictures. Obviously the picture on the left has a filter on it, and the one of Oana was just taken with an iPhone and no filter.
We really liked the tour company we picked, Gecko Tours, and the price was great considering the guide spent almost the entire day, from 1000 to 1800 with us. We were told that they usually only have 4-6 people on a tour, because we are used to larger groups for tours, but it was just Oana, myself, and the tour guide, Tonci, (Pronounced “Tonji”) but he said to call him “Tony”. Turns out he is from Croatia, but has virtually no accent since he studied in the US.