05/06/2019

Fort Lovrijenac, Dubrovnik: The Real ‘Red Keep’ in Game of Thrones

While you might think you haven’t heard of Fort Lovrijenac, Game of Thrones fans will be familiar with this imposing castle because it appears on screen as the Red Keep in this incredibly popular fantasy series. Let’s find out more about its history and how you can visit this mighty monument.

Fort Lovrijenac: Game of Thrones meets real life

If you’ve watched Game of Thrones, you’ll recognise Fort Lovrijenac as the Red Keep in the Seven Kingdoms capital, King’s Landing. Numerous scenes were shot here, including one in the first episode of season 3, when Tyrion, Podrick and Bronn are seen on the walls following the battle of Blackwater. You’ll also spot it in season two, as the tournament held on King Joffrey’s name day was filmed here, too.

So what is Fort Lovrijenac in real life, and where is it? Known in English as the Fort of St. Lawrence, it’s a historic fort and theatre just outside the western city wall in Dubrovnik, Croatia. It’s sometimes referred to as the Gibraltar of Dubrovnik, as it’s perched on a 37m high rock. It was built on the spot where, in the 11th century, the Venetians wanted to build a fort, but the locals got there first, crucially securing a commanding location that dominates both land and sea entrances to the city.fort-lovrijenac

Initially built in just three months, the fort is triangular in shape, and its walls were defended by ten huge cannons. The inscription above the door – “Non Bene Pro Toto Libertas Venditur Auro” (“Freedom cannot be sold for all the gold of the world”) – is a reminder of the fort’s role in repelling the Venetians. These days, it plays host to theatrical performances, in particular Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and it’s a key venue for the Dubrovnik Summer Festival as well as for the Croatian phase of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series.

Venice to Croatia Ferry

How to visit Fort Lovrijenac

As we’ve already mentioned, you’ll find Fort Lovrijenac in Dubrovnik, right in the south of Croatia. If you’re visiting from Venice, why not take the ferry from Venice to Pula and see some other historic sites while you’re there? The Roman amphitheatre is just one of the impressive things to see in Pula, and from there you can head south to explore more of Croatia’s rich cultural heritage.

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