Vaes Dothrak

TV show Game of Thrones (2011)
Taken to Vaes Dothrak, the only city of the Dothraki people, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) must stand trial. She is then condemned to end her life in the city as the widow of Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa). All these sequences were shot near Almaria in the Tabernas desert in Spain.
Desert of Tabernas
Desert of the tabernacles by Graeme Maclean. Wikimedia.

“I was born to rule the Seven Kindgoms and I will.”

Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke)

The desert of Tabernas, cult site of shooting

The Tabernas Desert is one of the most popular filming locations in the world. Having played a key role in the emergence of the spaghetti western, a genre notably propelled by the masterpieces of Segio Leone, it has also served as a backdrop to blockbusters such as Lawrence of Arabia. The only true desert area in Europe was also chosen by the Game of Thrones showrunners to recreate Vaes Dothrak, the only city of the Dothraki people, where Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) is tried.

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A shoot under a scorching heat

The Passaje del Chorillo is used to represent the entrance to the city where two monumental statues of horses stand. Afterwards, the decorators set up various tents, including the one that Daenerys finally sets on fire when she manages to free herself before finding her dragon and asserting her superiority.

Usually quiet, the desert of Tabernas was swarming with people during the whole shooting. Dozens of extras were hired to play the Dothraki. They, as well as Emilia Clarke, had to face difficult climatic conditions. Constraints with which the British actress has often had to deal, as she has shot most of the time in hot places like Morocco or Spain.


Emilia Clarke is the second Game of Thrones actress to have played Sarah Connor, the famous character of the Terminator saga, after Lena Headey. The latter has indeed played in the series The Sarah Connor Chronicles while Emilia Clarke has played in Terminator: Genisys.

Vaes Dothrak
Vaes Dothrak. All rights reserved: HBO.


The only true desert in Europe, the Tabernas continues to expand due to global warming.

A protected region of 12,000 hectares, popular for its magnificent landscapes, the Tabernas Desert is very reminiscent of the American West. It is also for this reason that many films have been shot there, such as many spaghetti westerns such as Sergio Leone’s dollar trilogy, but also A taxi for Tobruk or Conan the Barbarian. Three villages have been created to shape different settings namely Mini Hollywood, Western Leone and Texas Hollywood. Only the latter is still active and receives filming. The other two are now dedicated to organizing tourist activities. Nevertheless, the filming conditions there are extreme with 3000 hours of sunshine per year. It is the brightest place in Europe.

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By Gilles Rolland

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Passionné de cinéma, de rock and roll, de séries TV et de littérature. Rédacteur de presse et auteur des livres Le Heavy Metal au cinéma, Paroles de fans Guns N' Roses, Paroles de fans Rammstein et Welcome to my Jungle : 100 albums rock et autres anecdotes dépareillées. Adore également voyager à la recherche des lieux les plus emblématiques de la pop culture.

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