Daenerys and her advisers at the Great Pyramid negotiating with the Yunkish - HBO Daenerys and her advisers at the Great Pyramid negotiating with the Yunkish - HBO

Game of Thrones: where could it have been filmed in Egypt?

Wed, Jun. 26, 2019
CAIRO - 26 June 2019: Winter came and fell in Winterfell, and Game of Thrones fans who had been waiting for the Long Night of the final season of their favorite HBO show wish their Watch were longer. The award-winning show was filmed in several countries, the closest of which to Egypt were Malta, Morocco and Spain. It is hence easy to imagine many sets right here at home—our landscape and architecture are certainly similar enough.

Many GoT shots were graphically altered to produce the breathtaking scenes. Some of these “touches” would be needed in Egypt, but the outcome would no doubt be as effective, if not more impactful. We take you on a quick tour of picturesque locations where GoT could have been filmed in Egypt.

Valyria - Roda Island

Roda Island is in the heart of Cairo, but still managed to be secluded. We can almost see Jorah Mormont and Tyrion Lannister boating their way into the abandoned Valyria on their way to Meereen. In reality, the scene was shot in Northern Ireland, and most of the scenery was computer-generated images (CGI).

1 - Roda Island in Cairo - Shokry Mannaa
Roda Island in Cairo - Shokry Mannaa

1 Jorah Mormont in Valyria - HBO

Dragonglass Cave - Cave of Sannur Valley

We would have loved to see Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow in the cave of Sannur Valley in Beni Suef, where they can find the precious dragonglass. The cave is a national protectorate, featuring stalactites and stalagmites of beautiful forms, as they should, because they were groundwater percolating through limestone millions of years ago.

2 - Cave of Sannur Valley in Beni Suef - Beshoy Fayez Cave of Sannur Valley in Beni Suef - Beshoy Fayez

It is a strong competition for the real cave in Vik, Iceland.

2 GOT - Scene of Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow in the dragonglass cave Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow in the dragonglass cave - HBO

Casterly Rock - Qaitbay Citadel of Alexandria

Qaitbay Citadel of Alexandria can easily be depicted as Casterly Rock, the home of House Lannister. We certainly hope Cersei won’t mind. The real place was the Medieval Turjillo Castle in Spain. Guess who built it! Arabs. So why not Qaitbay Citadel, then?

3 - Qaitbay Citadel of Alexandria - Independent Travel Cats Qaitbay Citadel of Alexandria - Independent Travel Cats

3 GOT - Scene of Casterly Rock of House Lannister Casterly Rock of House Lannister - HBO

Dragonstone - Pharaoh's Island

While the dragonglass cave can be Sannur Valley Cave, Dragonstone Island and its castle can be Saladin Castle of Pharaoh’s Island, Taba. The Red Sea would make an impressive homecoming scene for Dany. Dragonstone was shot at two beaches in Spain: Itzurun and Muriola.

4 Saladin Castle and Pharaoh's Island, Taba, Egypt - Crazy Gril Photographer

4 Dany's dragons flying above Dragonstone - HBO

Riverlands - Serapium Forest

Arya was on her way to the Inn at the Crossroads after she slayed the entire House Frey, when she came across a small band of Lannister soldiers in Riverlands. The place included many long trees and fallen leaves; a road strongly reminiscent of the Serapium Forest in Ismailia. The Riverlands was depicted in Northern Ireland, Iceland and Croatia.


5 - Serapium Forest - DW Serapium Forest in Ismailia - DW

5 Arya meets Lannister soldiers in the Riverlands - HBO
Palace of Dorne - Mohamed Ali Palace
Mohamed Ali palace in Manial, Cairo, can serve as the palace of Prince Doran in Dorne, especially in the scene where Jaime Lannister meets the prince. The Egyptian palace, as luxurious as it is on the inside, overlooks the Nile and luscious gardens, much like the Dorne scenes that were shot in Spain.

6 - Mohamed Ali Palace in Manial Mohamed Ali Palace in Manial - CC via Wikimedia Commons

6 Jamie Lannister meets Prince Doran - HBO

Western Desert - Dothraki scenes

The Western Desert has perfect locations for any Dothraki scene, including the White Desert and the Black Desert. We have chosen the equally compelling but less known Agabat Valley as an example. Of course, the mountains of Saint Catherine and the canyons and beaches of South Sinai would have been excellent backdrops for Khal Drogo. Dothraki scenes were filmed in Malta, Spain and Northern Ireland.

7 - Agabat Valley in the Western Desert - Egypt Tailor Made Tours Agabat Valley in the Western Desert - Egypt Tailor Made Tours

7 GOT - Scene after DaenerysTargaryan was captured by the Dothraki in Season 6 Scene after DaenerysTargaryan was captured by the Dothraki in Season 6 - HBO

King's Landing - Moez Street

The High Sparrow humiliated Cersei in the Walk of Atonement in King's Landing. The long, narrow cobblestone street of Moez in Fatimid Cairo with few stairs every now and shops and cafes all along can make a walk of shame satisfactory enough for “the good people” of King’s Landing.

8 - Moez Street in Fatimid Cairo Moez Street in Fatimid Cairo - Hisham Mohsen Saleh

And we all know Moez Street can accommodate many, many people. The scene was shot in Croatia, a country that proved to be beautiful in many of the Game of Thrones scenes.

8 A dance festival on Moez Street - Facebook page of شارع المعز لدين الله الفاطمي A dance festival on Moez Street - Facebook page of شارع المعز لدين الله الفاطمي

8 Cersei at the beginning of her Walk of Atonement - HBO

Temple of Black and White - Philae Temple

The Temple of Black and White in Braavos, where Jaqen H’ghar and the Waif trained Arya Stark, was on a small island, just like Philae Temple in Aswan. Again in Croatia, the Temple of Black and White is in fact St. James Cathedral.

9 - Philae Temple in Aswan Philae Temple in Aswan - CC via Wikimedia Commons

9 Arya on her way to the Temple of Black and White - HBO

The Vale - Jebel Elba

On their way to the Vale, Arya and the Hound met Ser Brienne of Tarth. The Hound and Brienne had a vicious fight in the middle of beautiful scenery, almost as beautiful as Jebel Elba in the winter. The filming was in Thingvellir National Park in Iceland, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and Jebel Elba is also a natural protectorate.

10 - Jebel Elba in Shalatin, Shouth of Egypt - Moss'ad Sultan Jebel Elba in Shalatin, South of Egypt - Moss'ad Sultan

10 GOT - Scene of Brinne of Tarth and Sandor Clegane Brienne of Tarth and the Hound's fight - HBO

The long bridge of Volantis - al-Qanater al-Khayriya

What’s better to represent the long bridge of Volantis than al-Qanater al-Khayriya in Qalyubia? The fast shot in the show was of the Roman Bridge in Cordoba, Spain.

11 - Al-Qanater al-Khayriya in Qalyubia Al-Qanater al-Khayriya in Qalyubia - CC via Wikimedia Commons

11 The long bridge of Volantis - HBO
Winterfell - Saint Catherine

Yes, even Winterfell scenes can be shot in Egypt. This is Saint Catherine Monastery in South Sinai, and the entire city of Saint Catherine can be the set for the Battle of the Bastards. Winterfell was depicted mainly in Scotland and Ireland.

12 - Saint Catherine Monastery - Early Manuscripts Electronic Library Saint Catherine Monastery - Early Manuscripts Electronic Library

12 Dany's army arrives at Winterfell - HBO

Meereen - Upper Egypt

We couldn’t help but remember Egypt when Daenerys arrived in Meereen. A Great Pyramid that hosted the dragons, a temple that had Hathor-like statues, men with kohl in their eyes—it’s just too many hints. The slaves issue may offend some Egyptians who will vehemently deny that Meereen resembles ancient Egypt in any way.

13 - Dendera Temple in Qena - Rock Road and Rhino Dendera Temple in Qena - Rock Road and Rhino
But Egyptian fans of GoT wouldn’t mind hosting Meereen in Luxor, Aswan, or the Giza Plateau, especially that no direct link between the Salvers Bay and Egypt has been claimed by any of the show producers. What we chose, however, is a temple that doesn’t receive as many tourists as it should: Dendera Temple of Qena. It’s known for its vivid blue and the many faces of Hathor, a major deity worshiped by ancient Egyptians. Instead, Meereen was hosted in Northern Ireland, Croatia, Spain, and Bulgaria.


13 GOT - Scene of the Dothraki attacking Sons of the Harpy in Mereen The Dothraki attacking Sons of the Harpy in Meereen - HBO
Meereen's fighting pit - Roman Amphitheater of Alexandria

Roman amphitheaters are scattered in many countries in the Middle East, and Egypt is no different. Meereen fighting pit, where Dany saw Jorah fighting fiercely just to be able to talk to her, was shot at the bullring of Osuna, Spain. The Roman Amphitheater in Alexandria is still in good shape and could have hosted the scene.

14 The  Roman Amphitheatre in Alexandria - CC via FlickrVyacheslav Argenberg The Roman Amphitheater in Alexandria - CC via Flickr/Vyacheslav Argenberg

14 Daznak's pit in Meereen - HBO
Astapor and Yunkai - Siwa

Astapor and Yunkai were depicted in Morocco. Again, there are similarities between the two cities and Egypt, more so in Yunkai.

15 Adrere Amellal Ecolodge in Siwa - Booking.com Adrere Amellal Ecolodge in Siwa - Booking.com
The scenes could have easily been filmed in Siwa Oasis of Egypt. Shali fortress and Adrere Amellal Ecolodge could have done the job so magically.

15 Shali Fortress in Siwa Oasis - CC via Wikimapia Shali Fortress in Siwa Oasis - CC via Wikimapia

There are countless other places in Siwa that would make a realistic depiction of the two cities.

1
Dany, Jorah and Barristan Selmy looking at Yunkai - HBO
A prequel of Game of Thrones is set to be filmed in a world older than that of Westeros. The older, the better, because Egypt will always be a strong candidate for anything old. We certainly invite HBO to consider filming in Egypt.
 
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