Girona in Spain is a treat for Game of Thrones fans. Here are the things you can do when you visit
Girona, located in Costa Brava’s Catalonia region of Spain, is a city with a rich history, culture and heritage. Comprised of vintage buildings, cobbled streets and squares, this medieval town’s imperious walls were first built by the Romans and later expanded in early 800 century, during the reign of the Charlemagne empire, followed by another overhaul in the 14th century. As of today, one can walk along the ramparts and explore most of the old town, see Girona’s skyline among other adventures.
Even though Girona is a quaint town, one of the best things to do while you’re here is to explore the various museums ranging from a city history museum, a Jewish history museum and a cinema museum.
Located less than two hours from Barcelona, Girona was also a popular shoot location for Game of Thrones (GoT). While medieval Europe’s old town served as a major setting for Braavos in Season 6 of GoT, some streets and important landmarks became King’s Landing for the show with minimal CGI work. Barcelona and Girona are connected via convenient train routes.
The locals in Girona mostly speak Catalan instead of Spanish. With technology’s advent, VR is playing an important role in exploring the city by facilitating guided tours.
Here are some of the things to do, places to visit in Girona and relive the fond memories of Game of Thrones from an architecture and culture perspective:
Cathedral of Girona: The city’s most celebrated icon, the Gothic cathedral on the scenic Placa de la Catedral is quite a sight to behold, sitting on 91 stone steps. Built between the 11th and 18th centuries, it features the world’s widest Gothic nave and was a perfect location to film many scenes in season six of Game of Thrones. The spectacular Baroque staircase outside the cathedral was used as the exterior for the Great Sept of Baelor in King’s Landing, where Jaime Lannister had a showdown with the High Sparrow to prevent Queen Margaery’s atonement.
The Jewish Quarter: Girona’s Jewish Quarter in the ancient Forca Vella, an imposing fortress built by the Romans is replete with cobbled streets, winding alleyways and narrow archways serving up as an ideal setting for the fictional city of Braavos. The scenes where Arya Stark becomes blind and is forced to beg on the streets and fights the Waif is filmed on the stone steps of Carrer del Bisbe Josep Cartañà, the small alleyway that loops just behind Girona Cathedral.
Placa dels Jurats: Girona’s festival square Plaça dels Jurats is a popular venue for theatre and concerts during summer and was also the place where Arya watched the outdoor play while spying on the lead actress by order of Jaqen H’ghar (then known as the many-faced God). Moreover, the bridge between the Placa dels Jurats and the Sant Pere de Galligants Abbey is used as the bridge in Braavos where the waif, masked as an old woman, stabbed Arya.
Monastery of Sant Pere de Galligants: This is a Benedictine Abbey built in the 12th century and is one of Catalonia’s most important Romanesque sites which also houses the Archaeological Museum. The monastery was used as the setting for the Maesters’ citadel in Braavos, King’s Landing and Oldtown. One can see the interiors of the monastery clearly in the scene featuring Samwell Tarly along with Gilly and the baby.
Eiffel Bridge: Built by Gustav Eiffel, this bridge in Girona was constructed just before the Eiffel Tower. It’s also called the Pont de les Peixateries Velles and spans across the Onyar River, making it an important landmark in Girona.
Temps de Flors (flower festival): Girona hosts a wide array of festivals throughout the year but Temps de Flors is the highlight. It’s held every year in May. It sees a large number of floral artists who come together to decorate various sites around town. The flower installations are added to the architectural richness of the churches, Girona cathedral, museums and Banys Arabs (the Arabic Baths).
Banys Arabs (Arab Baths): Arab Baths in Girona were built like the Medieval Muslim baths (hammams) dating back to the 12th century. Unlike many bathhouses, they are still intact and offer a fascinating experience to tourists.
The Sant Domenec stairs: Outside the bathhouse, and leading up to the convent of Sant Martí, are the Sant Domènec stairs, founded in 1253.
Girona Old Town: The historic and medieval areas of the old town of Girona are stunning and very well preserved. One can see the labyrinthine cobbled streets, medieval churches and ancient fortresses that are surrounded by fortified walls and towers. The stairs of Sant Marti Sacosta Church is another filming location in Girona used for the markets in Braavos.
Restaurants and bistros: Girona has a wide array of restaurants and bistros dotted around the town serving crepes, traditional Catalan cuisine, modern fusion cuisine and even vegetarian options.
-- with inputs from IANS
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