Dorne may be the setting for one of the most-despised plotlines in the "Game of Thrones" TV show, but it's also one of the most captivating. The fictional region of Westeros is supposed to be a place that's luxurious, pleasant, and warm. "A place where people enjoyed themselves," said Frank Doelger, executive producer.
The Water Gardens of Dorne stand out for their color, especially compared to the typically bleak wintery landscapes normally seen on the show.
"Thrones" producers filmed the scenes for the Water Gardens of Dorne at the Real Alcázar in Seville, Spain. The royal palace dates back to 913 when the region was controlled by the Moors, but has since been updated several times.
Because of its historical status, it's rare anyone is allowed to film there, but the producers fell in love. "Once we realized we were allowed to shoot in the gardens, we realized that there’s nowhere on earth that looks more like the water gardens as we pictured than this place," producer DB Weiss said.
The "Game of Thrones" producer had to do very little to turn it into Dorne. "It’s the kind of thing you could never build as a set," Weiss said.
Business Insider decided to wander the palace ourselves to see if it loved up to how beautiful it was on TV. We weren't disappointed.
You don't really notice the vibrant beauty of the Real Alcázar when you first walk up to it. The stone towers are threatening like a castle's exterior walls should be. The tile lion gives the visitor entrance the nickname "The Lion's Gate."
Inside, it's amazing. The sun moves over it throughout the day, lighting the archways, but you can still catch some shade from the hot Spanish sun in its wings.
Because it was 104 degrees outside when I visited, I spent a lot of my time next to the cool tile walls on the inside, with a view of the beautiful courtyard.
Lots of other tourists had the same idea to cool down inside, but they didn't get in the way of appreciating all of the details.
One thing you'll immediately notice in person is that the tile work is more opulent and ornate than you can tell from the show. The Hall of Ambassadors is capped off with a gold-laden dome.
The style of the palace is heavily influenced by the Moorish occupation of Spain in the middle ages. The word Alcázar comes from the Arabic word for castle, al-qasr.
Arches are a huge theme throughout the several floors of the former royal residence. This room is called the "Patio of the Dolls" because you're supposed to be able to spot the doll heads engraved in the columns on your own. I missed out on that one!
The rows of arches keep going throughout the palace. They lead visitors out to the royal gardens, where some of the most dramatic views and scenes from the show take place.
Entering the gardens, you can see why they were the perfect place for Dorne's Water Gardens. A spout of water fills a pool filled with fish below.
Even if you're not sitting on the throne from the show, you can still get the same royal views. My favorite part was walking around the high wall that flanks the garden to look down on its maze of bushes and flowers.
We could see the yellow building where "Game of Thrones" filmed Prince Doran overlooking Dorne on the back side of the palace.
We also spotted where the famous Dorne fight scene took place. During the summer, it's set up with a stage and chair for concerts.
It's amazing to just stroll through the perfectly pruned paths.
While we were there, the labyrinth was closed for gardening, but you can get lost in the gardens regardless.
The heat didn't stop "Thrones" fans and tourists from exploring its luscious paths.
And if you finish the Real Alcázar, you should have time to Seville's other famous filming location. Seville's Plaza de España is a famous backdrop in "Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones". The Moor-inspired archways and tile work should look familiar to Spanish tourists and "Game of Thrones" lovers alike.