• Allen John Lira

Game of Thrones Guide in Malta: The Original King’s Landing

Updated: Jun 5, 2019

Whilst many Game of Thrones fans instantly associate King’s Landing to Croatia as its real-life location, most of the fandom aren’t equally aware that Malta served as the first home of the capital of the Seven Kingdoms! The Maltese archipelago was in full display as a default Westeros-location across several episodes in Season 1 of this phenomenal HBO TV series. Even if the country is too minute to easily locate in the map and much less popular compared to its neighbours, the show has pleasingly showcased this Mediterranean gem to the world that many tourists started noticing.


The geography of the very convoluted Iron Throne story has been said to be patterned after Great Britain’s medieval age. However, show producers needed to look into filming locations way outside UK to find its own King’s Landing – and why not Malta where there’s abundance of fortresses and well-preserved walled cities.


Spoiler Alert: This post contains story lines from previous GOT seasons.


Time to re-experience the opening season of the show that swept the world one decapitated head at a time…


VERDALA PALACE, DINGLI

GOT: Illyrio’s Mansion – S1E1 Winter is Coming – In front of the mansion, Khal Drogo was introduced to Daenerys and Viserys Targaryen

REAL-LIFE: Official summer residence of the President of Malta


©HBO - Game of Thrones

©HBO - Game of Thrones

GATE OF MDINA, MDINA

GOT: Entrance to King’s Landing – S1E3 Lord Snow – Through this gate, Catelyn Stark arrived and left King’s Landing after a short sneaky visit

REAL-LIFE: Mdina is the original capital of Malta before Valletta. It is a well-preserved 8th century walled city.


©HBO - Game of Thrones

©HBO - Game of Thrones



MESQUITA SQUARE, MDINA

GOT: Little Finger’s Brothel – S1E5 The Wolf and the Lion – Ned Stark was attacked by Jamie Lannister’s group

REAL-LIFE: Turn left after entering the Mdina main gate and you’ll find this square. There's a local restaurant to dine.


©HBO - Game of Thrones

©HBO - Game of Thrones





MTAHLEB CLIFFS, RABAT

GOT: Khal Drogo’s Funeral – S1E10 Fire and Blood – Daenerys went into the flames during Drogo’s funeral and gave birth to three dragons

REAL-LIFE: Beautiful views of the sea off the cliff



©HBO - Game of Thrones

©HBO - Game of Thrones

ST. DOMINIC’S CONVENT, RABAT

GOT: Red Keep Garden – S1E7 You Win Or You Die – Ned confronted Cersei about her secret relationship with Jaime and their children

REAL-LIFE: Just a short walking distance from Mdina’s main gate, the courtyard of the miraculous Holy Virgin hides behind a church.


©HBO - Game of Thrones

©HBO - Game of Thrones

SAN ANTON PALACE, ATTARD

GOT: S1E10 Fire and Blood – Joffrey showed to Sana the heads on spikes, including her father’s

REAL-LIFE: Official residence of the President of Malta


©HBO - Game of Thrones

©HBO - Game of Thrones

FORT SAINT ANGELO, BIRGU

GOT: Red Keep Prison and Underground Chambers – S1E5 The Wolf and The Lion – Arya chased a cat into the dungeons near the dragon's skull but accidentally heard an intriguing insider wisdom

REAL-LIFE: A large fort in Birgu. Best viewing deck to see the fortified walls is from Upper Barrakka.


©HBO - Game of Thrones

©HBO - Game of Thrones



FORT MANOEL, GZIRA

GOT: Great Sept of Baelor – S1E9 Baelor – Ned Stark was executed in front of his daughters under King Joffrey’s command

REAL-LIFE: Privately-accessed 18th century fort on the Manoel Island


©HBO - Game of Thrones

©HBO - Game of Thrones


FORT RICASOLI, VALLETTA

GOT: Gate of the Gods, Red Keep, King’s Landing – S1E3 Lord Snow – Starks' (Ned, Sansa and Arya) arrival at King's Landing; S1E5 The Wolf and The Lion - Arya was almost denied to re-enter the Red Keep

REAL-LIFE: 17th century fort built by the Order of St. John. Best view is seen from Upper Barrakka Gardens.


©HBO - Game of Thrones

©HBO - Game of Thrones



TAL-QARGHA, MANIKATA

GOT: Lhazareen – S1E8 The Pointy End – The vulnerable village ambushed by the Dothrakis warriors

REAL-LIFE: A small farming village with prehistoric-like stone fences


©HBO - Game of Thrones

©HBO - Game of Thrones


AZURE WINDOW, GOZO

GOT: Daenerys and Khal Drogo’s Wedding – S1E1 Winter is Coming - Pentos landscape

REAL-LIFE: Azure Window is now a thing of the past when heavy storms caused the picturesque 30-metre high natural limestone formation collapse into the sea on 8th March 2017.


©HBO - Game of Thrones

©HBO - Game of Thrones

Tired of cliché travels to the world's famous cities? If you're a dear GOT fan and it so happened that a higher-level travel challenge is of any satisfaction to you, why don't you engage in a Game of Thrones locations hunt around the world?

Want to see the real-life Dragonstone? Read blog post here.


After the shoot and prior to the fall of the famed Azure window, GOT production has encountered natural preservation issues with the Maltese government. Due to the show’s production demand, alterations made in the set has allegedly caused environmental damage. Apart from the spots being already fully maximized throughout one season, the issue might have contributed to the decision of relocating King’s Landing to Dubrovnik, Croatia for Seasons 2-6 and then to cities in Spain for Season 7.


If you're interested to see what are the best tourist attractions in Malta, click here.


Isn’t it sensational how GOT has created a virtual world for fans to indulge in and also massively boost tourism of the locations many haven’t heard much of before? ➳


#VisitMalta #GameofThrones

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