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17
May
2016

Peñiscola becomes Meereen in Game of Thrones

This is a fictional world, which spans Seven Kingdoms, all with different storylines all in various areas, but inevitably forced to intertwine, follows the thread of a mythical book whose fiction has already been surpassed by fact. Thus Game of Thrones shows the chronicle of a war in which small kingdoms are ready to die fighting. The common goal of all is to reach the coveted Iron Throne.

But In the real world, in a coastal town full of history, and glamour, a paradise that is considered one of the two, Jewels of the province of Castellon, of course, it is clear that we must be talking about Peñíscola.

This northern city of Castellon has been honored, by being chosen as the location for an important part of the long awaited sixth season of Game of Thrones.

Great general view of the Ramp of Felipe II in the old town

It has been 5 years since HBO aired the pilot episode of this blockbuster that promised to show us something very different, a more acidic side of an epic drama made for the small screen.

An eccentric production loaded with excesses. A television series, that so far in the course of its five seasons of ten episodes, has gradually been gaining momentum and leaves viewers filled with anticipation.

It is not the first time that HBO has chosen Spain as a location for scenes and sequences for the series, nor is it the first time Peñíscola has been chosen as the setting for other films and television programs. Blockbusters such as El Cid in 1961, and smaller productions such as Calabuch in 1956 or Paris-Timbuktu in 1999, saw Peñíscola chosen for its scenery, its legendary castle and its attractive old town. They are certainly compelling reasons that make Peñíscola the great treasure of the Castellon coast, with the fabulous and historic town of Morella which plays a significant role within the province.

For all those fans and not such fans it is very interesting to go those locations in which they filmed the scenes of Game of Thrones, we can suggest a short route that consists, so far, of scenes from the first chapter of season six.

The first episode filmed in Peñíscola is a sequence in which five locations are traversed by the characters of Lord Varys and Tyrion Lannister.

A short walk that starts at the Ramp of Felipe II, which continues through the Santa Maria Square and rises to the Ronda walkway, where their images are combined by masterful inserts that shows them at the Artillery Park gardens and the stone archway entrance and ascent to the Portal Fosc.

Decorated Santa Maria square, with views from above

A few minutes from our Hotel Servigroup Papa Luna you arrive at the old town of Peñíscola. At its lowest point and in the opposite direction from the well-known Ramp of  Felipe II you then come to the Plaza de Santa María (Santa Maria square) which is accessed through the stone arch known as the Puerta de Santa Maria or the Caseres.

Through another arch at the other end of the square, you enter the deeper side of the lower old town, where narrow cobbled streets bring you within a few minutes to the Peñíscola Castle.

In this beautiful square, which forms a part of the spectacular medieval wall, although some scenes where removed from the first chapter, in which Tyrion Lannister conversed with his adviser Lord Varys about the absence of Daenerys in the city of Meereen.

On the other hand, this location has a special meaning because it was also the place where one of the most spectacular scenes took place, as it was the location of one of the emblems of the series, which remained in the Plaza de Santa Mary throughout filming.

Caseres Square and the Walk of Ronda

On one side of this square, with its indisputable Renaissance style, you can find a succession of elongated arches of considerable height in which the viewpoints can be accessed via a short staircase. Here you are then facing a hallway that leads directly to the legendary Paseo de Ronda, (Ronda walkway) which was also a stunning location for some spectacular shots. Although not a large avenue, rather on top of a well paved viewpoint, from which on the one hand you can see all the Plaza de Santa Maria, and on the other the picturesque fishing port of Peñiscola.

With a spectacular stoned terrace, formed inside the walled Santa Ana, with its paved floor in which one of the six stone platforms where used to support the cannons around the remains, where again you will see Tyrion with his counsellor.

Other scenes that served as a transition or presentation of the city of Meereen were also shot on the perfectly cobbled stairway in which you see the elegant representation, mainly composed of immaculate soldiers, noble characters and maiden slaves.

It is through the walls of the Paseo de Ronda where Tyrion and Lord Varys are surprised by the burning ships in the port.

Ramp de Felipe II

Once again returning back towards the Northern beach (Playa Norte), arriving again at the ramp Felipe II, in which took place one of the more transformed scenes in the first chapter, where Tyrion and Lord Varys descended while beginning a conversation that was interrupted to help a homeless mother with her baby.

Here you find yourself facing the elegant cobbled streets leading to the historic Portal Fosc, although the Ramp of Felipe II is broken by a beautiful palm lined staircase which gives direct access to the Calvari Square, which then leads into what is known as Artillery Park.

The Calvari Square is an area that culminates in the most stunning viewpoints from which you can see all the North Beach and its classic promenade (Avenida Papa Luna). This is a true bastion along with the Battlements of San Fernando and Santiago this makes a symbolic part of the mythical fortification.

Under the gazebo are flattened shaped internal vaults, casements that under Philip II were used to establish their arsenals, canteens and ammunition depots that served as a safeguard against the constant attempts to attack the castle. In the twentieth century, these vaults were used as schools until the beginning of the 1970s.

At the bottom of Calvari Square you can find the classic Artillery Park, where you can see the popular and frequent displays of birds of prey. Access is restricted and fenced off, reserved exclusively for visitors to the castle.

This elegant park has had several restorations and is now composed of elegant gardens and striking palm trees which make this an authentic botanical garden with the added attraction of superb views over the Bay of Peñíscola.

Artillery Park was ideal to be used as a resting place for the creative and technical personnel of Game of Thrones, as well as being used in various scenes.

Staircaise with palm trees

When leaving the Calvary and Artillery Park you come to a small ramp which starts a small descent to the classic Portal Fosc, located next to the Balcon de Pilatos. Also known as the Ministre Murada, the Balcony of Pilate was built with a particular military architecture, which became the entrance to the Portal Fosc, which is in turn was the exit of the ancient fortification. Thus, when crossing the gate to go outside this was the only access to the fort that existed in the time of Philip II and lasted until the eighteenth century. You can see the totally preserved door behind the arch which forms the outside of the entrance, which has the indisputable shield of Philip II.

In the Portal Fosc the scene was also shot where Lord Varys and Tyrion Lannister surprised a group of rebels opposed to the antislavery philosophy of his new governor.

Descent to the Portal Fosc

You can understand why, in the first chapter of season six, a town considered one of the most beautiful of Spanish national territory has been chosen to give life to the city of Meereen.

As you can tell although we have only seen our city in one chapter, we have much to talk about. We are expecting more to come from this wonderful location in the forthcoming season as well as the expected arrival of Daenerys to Meereen.

Waiting with anticipation...!!!

 Images courtesy of Peñiscola Town Hall

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