Reasons to visit the Balkans (1) – you can see King’s Landing

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A photo I took from Dubrovnik’s city walls

The Croatian city of Dubrovnik must be one of the most beautiful places in the world. During the Renaissance it was a city state and maritime hub that rivaled Venice. While much of the city was destroyed in an earthquake in 1667, plenty survives to give you a sense of its splendor. Dubrovnik’s star attractions are the walls which entirely encompass the old city, from which you can get spectacular views of the city and beautiful Adriatic coastline.

It was these walls that attracted the attention of the producers of Game of Thrones. For the first season scenes set in King’s Landing, the fictional capital of Westeros were shot in Malta. However, in the second season they needed to be able to depict the battlements that protect King’s Landing during the Battle of Blackwater. And Dubrovnik’s walls were suitably spectacular.

^Will benefit from a knowledge of Croatian^

As well as giving one the opportunity to look round a real life fantasy adventure land, Dubrovnik has a lot else going for it. It’s surrounded by many beautiful islands and beaches: I was deeply envious of the people who had time to go sea kayaking. The hills that surround it are also picturesque albeit in a rather dusty way. It’s also notable for having some of the oldest synagogues in Europe – though sadly the congregations that worshiped in them didn’t survive WWII.

Dubrovnik is  a wonderful confluence of history, fantasy and natural beauty. I cannot recommend a visit enough.

P.S: This article from the Huffington Post describes a GOT walking tour of the city

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