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Popular television series Game of Thrones has chosen many Spanish towns and cities for its filming locations, and last season – its sixth – was no exception, as the Catalan city of Girona played a big role. Visitors can now go on a Game of Thrones tour of Girona to see those all-important film locations in real life.
*Warning, may contain spoilers if you haven’t watched season six.
Girona’s Jewish Quarter is located in the ancient Força Vella, an imposing fortress built by the Romans that is full of winding alleyways, cobblestone streets and narrow archways – just perfect as the setting for the fictional city of Braavos. In the series, Braavos is the city where Arya Stark goes to the House of Black and White to learn how to become one of the Faceless Men. When Arya becomes blind, she is forced to beg on the streets. Those scenes were actually filmed on the stone steps of Carrer del Bisbe Josep Cartañà – the small alleyway that loops just behind Girona Cathedral. This is also the spot where blind Arya has to learn to fight the Waif.
Girona Cathedral is quite a sight to behold, sitting on a throne 91 stone steps itself. Built between the 11th and 18th centuries, it features the world’s widest Gothic nave, and was perfect for a number of scenes in season six of Game of Thrones. The cathedral plays a big role in a few of the episodes, and doubles up as a couple of different places in the city of King’s Landing. When we see Queen Margaery begin her walk of atonement, she is standing on the steps of the Cathedral. She is interrupted by the army of the House of Tyrell and Jaime Lannister riding up the stairs on horseback (and yes, they did actually have to teach a horse to do that). In the final episode of season six, Girona Cathedral is also shown briefly in the scenes which featured the Great Sept of Baelor exploding.
The large plaza to the side of Girona Cathedral, Plaça dels Jurats also features as a popular filming location for another scene in Braavos – when Arya Stark goes to watch the outdoor theatre and sees her family being mocked by the actors. In fact, Plaça dels Jurats is actually used as an outdoor performance space in real life, with many events taking place there over the summer.
Girona’s Arab Baths were built in the style of Medieval Muslim baths and date all the way back to the 12th century. Compared to many old bathhouses, they remain largely intact and make for a fascinating visit. The Arab Baths were the ideal setting for an important scene in Braavos between Arya and the Waif. Having regained her sight and being pursued by the Waif, she tries to escape by ducking inside a bathhouse – a place that will look very familiar to the residents of Girona.
Out of the bathhouse, the chase continues into the local market. Ayra runs into the crowd, trips and tumbles down some stairs into a crate of oranges. The Waif meanwhile, is standing at the top of the stairs, looking down on her, ready to attack once more. This scene was shot on the stairs leading up to the Sant Domènec convent, which was founded in the city of Girona in 1253.
The Monastery of Sant Pere de Galligants is a Benedictine Abbey built in the 12th century and is one of Catalonia’s most important Romanesque sites. Today, it houses Catalonia’s Archaeological Museum. The monastery was used as the setting for the Maesters’ citadel in Oldtown, meaning that Girona was Braavos, King’s Landing and Oldtown all at the same time. You can see the inside of the monastery clearly in the scene when Sam, Gilly and the baby first arrive.