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The Witcher is chock-full of Hungarian locations, here is where you can find them

2020.01.16. 18:05

Netflix's Witcher is a huge international success, as it is more in-demand than the Mandalorian, Disney's latest addition to the Star Wars universe. It's a little known fact that a lot of the series based on the novels of Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski was shot in Hungary - but we only saw how recognisable the locations of the mystical world of the Witcher were after the show premiered. 

Watch out, as there could be spoilers ahead - if you are sensitive to that kind of thing and you haven't seen the show yet, go watch it, then come back and see where you can find its locations in real life.

The Gánt Geological Park

(Fotó: Bal: Netflix - Jobb: _)

The first news about the production crew arriving in Hungary said that they are mostly here for our historic castles, however, it seems they have found a number of other interesting places as well. One of those is the former bauxite mine and geological park in the Vértes hills next to Gánt, appearing in episode 7. According to the story, this is where Yennefer met Istred, who performs digs around the area as they found minerals that could answer a pressing question. The already martian landscape was made even more foreboding with CGI, therefore if you visit, expect the mountains on the horizon to be a little less looming than what you've seen on the show.

Hills of Csákberény, forests of Gyarmatpuszta

(Fotó: Bal: Netflix - Jobb: Photodiary of an Endless Summer / Flickr)

Though it's difficult to find pictures to prove this statement beyond any doubt, information all over the internet suggests that the pilot's battle between Cintra and Nilfgaard was filmed next to the Hungarian village of Csákberény. It's also difficult to fact-check due to the high resemblance forests tend to exhibit towards each other, but if the Witcher-fansite Redanian Intelligence is to be believed, the battle in the forest and the scenes in the refugee camp were recorded next to Gyarmatpuszta. You can see that the show's creators tried to get as many shots done in one area as they could, Gánt, Csákberény, and Gyarmatpuszta are all very close to each other on the border of Fejér and Komárom-Esztergom counties.

The Ják chapel in the Vajdahunyad castle

(Fotó: Bal: Netflix - Jobb: tzutzu / Flickr)

Despite how convenient it could have been, the crew did not use the Vajdahunyad castle for external shots, but you can still see its interior in the first episode. When the Witcher visits Stregobor, the wizard, his home is actually the cloister of the Ják chapel embellished with colourful plants, props, and, of course, naked women. The cloister was designed by architect Ignác Alpár in roman style, using replicas of Árpád-age stone pieces, so it is a credible medieval environment even if it was only built in 1908, as part of the castle which itself is a replica and was constructed as a location for the Millenial Exhibition celebrating the 1000th anniversary of the Hungarian Conquest, originally of cardboard and wood, only to be rebuilt from traditional materials a decade later. What you see in Witcher is pretty much the real deal, as the team did not use CGI for this set, only copious amounts of plants.

The Kiscell Museum

(Fotó: Bal: Netflix - Jobb: Bődey János / Index)

This is a tough one to spot, but if you pay close attention, you can recognise the Kiscell Museum in the series' third episode. According to the show, we are in the magical academy in Aretuza at the ball of wizards, but in actual fact, the ballroom is a baroque church with the brickwork exposed. Despite Aretuza being one of the central locations of the series, all other scenes were either filmed in a movie set or on the Canary Islands. This one though, you can visit any day and see an exhibit on the history of Budapest as well.

Fort Monostor, Komárom

(Fotó: Bal: Netflix - Jobb: EtelkaCsilla / Wikimedia Commons)

Though only visible for a few fleeting moments, Fort Monostor, located in Komárom by the Danube, also makes an appearance in the first episode of the show. You can only see the entrance from the front during a quick shot when Nilfgaardian soldiers try to storm the gate flaming arrows while a local wizard does his best to block the attacks. The scene is a great example of movie magic as well, as the 19th century Fort Monostor may be immense in size (the building takes up 25 hectares and contains 640 rooms), but it's not particularly tall, however, on the screen, it looks like it's the entrance of the monumental royal palace of Cintra. We suspect that some of the battle scenes taking place within the city were also shot within the fortress - though the building itself does not particularly have a medieval atmosphere, not even after significant CGI treatment.

Replica of the Eger Castle, Pilis

(Fotó: Bal: Netflix - Jobb: Szenti Tamás / Wikimedia Commons)

This building gets even less screentime than Fort Monostor, it is featured in the season finale for only a couple of seconds, shots recorded in this location were combined with takes from the Polish castle of Ogrodzieniec to create the epic final battle - for the most part, you can see the Polish castle, but details of this replica in the Pilis are clearly visible on certain frames. The original castle of Eger was an important Hungarian stronghold during the Ottoman invasion of the country, and its replica was built as a set for the 1968 movie about the siege every Hungarian is forced to endure in school at least once in their lifetimes, Eclipse of the Crescent Moon, based on the eponymous novel.

Szelim cave

(Fotó: Bal: Netflix - Jobb: Eli Duke / Flickr)

Though probably only the most crazed fans of Hungarian national parks noticed, the defining features of the Szelim cave are discernable in the sixth episode of the show, provided that the huge golden dragon does not draw your attention away from them. The cave is located in the Duna-Ipoly National Park, only a couple of hundred metres away from the Turul Monument of Tatabánya (which you may recognise as the big bronze bird sitting atop a hill next to highway M1) and can be visited without special equipment. The cave was only used for interior shots, external views of the dragon's lair were filmed on the volcanic landscape of the Canary Islands.

Tata Castle on the shore of the Old Lake

(Fotó: Bal: Netflix - Jobb: Faludi Imre / MTI)

Most of the fifth episode was filmed around the medieval castle of Tata, and the building itself shows up onscreen on several occasions, so much that it even gets damaged in the series - it's a bizarre sight for Hungarians as CGI brings down the top floors of the very distinct fort - though luckily it is said to have survived the production intact. In The Witcher, it is the home of Yennefer, and even the Öreg-tó (the old lake) is visible for a moment.

The Szentendre Village Museum

(Fotó: Bal: Netflix - Jobb: Jászai Csaba / MTI)

The Szentendre Village Museum also makes a quick appearance in a transition shot during the second episode, but some of Ciri's scenes in the seventh episode were also filmed here. The eerie belltower in the background was originally built in Nemesborzova sometime during the 17th or 18th century and was transported to the Szentendre open-air ethnographic museum in the 1970s to represent the architectural style of the Upper-Tisza region along with the Calvinist church of Mánd and a mill of Vámosoroszi, which you can also see in the frame above.

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