Shadow and Bone Locations
The Grishaverse in Shadow and Bone will take you to a new world across countries and continents. These include Ravka, Kerch, Shu Haan, Novyi Zem, Fjerda, and the Wandering Isle. Each fictional nation and kingdom offers distinct characteristics and settings.
While Ravka is not a real country, most of the filming locations of Shadow and Bone exist in real life and can be visited and explored. Filming took place in historical attractions and sights in Hungary’s capital, Budapest, and its surrounding areas. The shoots started in October 2019 and wrapped up around March the following year.
The palaces, museums, forest landscapes, and wide rolling hills are captured in the show, giving every episode a more authentic feel. But besides filming on location, parts of the Shadow and Bone production also took place in Origo Studios in Budapest. Although not included in the series, the cast’s publicity shots were taken on the staircase of the Hungarian Agricultural Museum.
A good location can bring a much to a show or film, and every Shadow and Bone filming location proves that. Not only does it enhance the look of the scene, but it also provides the perfect setting for the story.
Leigh Bardugo, the author of the trilogy books from which the show was adapted, makes a cameo appearance in episode 3 of the series. She’s the first Grisha to hug Alina after demonstrating her powers in front of the people and Ravka’s King and Queen.
The Grisha testing scene in Shadow and Bone
Amadé–Bajzáth–Pappenheim Castle, Iszkaszentgyörgy
The second episode, We’re All Someone’s Monster, opens in the scene at the orphanage when Mal and Alina were still young. In the series, human amplifiers or examiners typically test Ravkan children to determine whether or not they possess Grisha abilities.
Afraid they might get separated once tested, the young Mal and Alina hid in the grass to avoid the assessment. Such fear is confirmed when Alina responds, “Not if we can’t go together,” after Mal asks if she doesn’t want to know if she’s Grisha.
The Amadé Bajzáth-Pappenheim Castle posed as the Keramzin orphanage in this scene. It was where the main characters grew up, featuring a single-story courtyard with a distinctive hexagonal entrance. It was built for the Amadé family in the early 1700s but underwent several improvements, adding several features and structures to the main building.
The castle serves as the Finnish Embassy to Hungary in the twentieth century. Different community institutions were also housed here after 1945, including a nursery school, a school, and the town hall. Today, it hosts a memorial exhibition and is used as a museum and art gallery. Its elegant setting has also served as a perfect backdrop for films, TV shows, and fashion shoots.
The Castle Museum, Ari Kupsusgallery, and Finnish Embassy memorial rooms are open during summer. However, tours and visits are by arrangement only.
Alina and Kirigan enter the Little Palace scene in Shadow and Bone
Festetics Palace, Keszthely City
After a long and treacherous journey, Alina and Kirigan finally make it to the Little Palace at the end of episode 2. As Kirigan described, the Little Palace “is the most secure building in the whole country.” It’s the smaller version of the Grand Palace and is the headquarters of Grisha. It’s Alina’s new home after being discovered as the Sun Summoner.
This little royal residence is actually the Festetics Palace, the third-biggest palace and one of the most visited places in Hungary. It is located in Keszthely, a Hungarian city nestled on the western coast of Lake Balaton. Constructions for this Baroque-style palace began in 1745, though it has been expanded and remodeled several times since.
The actual palace has only one central tower compared to the Little Palace in the series, which has four smaller towers. The three towers were only added digitally to give the exterior a Tsarist-Empire look.
A visit to the Festetics Palace will give you an insight into the lifestyle of the 18th- and 19th-century Hungarian aristocracy. It features eighteen magnificent chambers, some of which are now part of the Helikon Library and the Helikon Palace Museum. As you enter, you also can’t miss the awe-inspiring palace garden, offering an excellent opportunity for relaxation. It features an English and French-style garden, statues, and fountains that will travel you back in time.
Car transfer is the easiest and the most convenient way to get to Keszthely from Budapest. If you want to take the bus, you’ll have to go to the Budapest Népliget bus station as it will take you straight to the Keszthely bus station. The palace is only a short walk from the city of Keszthely.
Alina meets the King scene in Shadow and Bone
Néprajzi Múzeum, Budapest
The big reveal happens in episode 3, The Making at the Heart of the World. After preparing to be presentable enough to meet the Royal Highness, Alina finally stands before the King with Kirigan to show her powers.
Kirigan introduces her to the King and everyone present as “the Sun Summoner.” Then he brings darkness into the room and helps Alina activate her powers. As he amplifies her gift, she’s able to create a spectacle through the shining light emanating from her. Unsurprisingly, everyone is impressed, and the room is filled with applause.
In this momentous event, we see Alina and Kirigan walk in a massive hall inside the Grand Palace. But this iconic Shadow and Bone film scene was shot at the breathtaking hall of the Ethnographic Museum of Budapest. It is one of the most important and largest museums in Europe, located across from the Hungarian Parliament. It boasts an extensive collection of over 200,000 ethnographic artifacts, manuscripts, historical photographs, films, and folk music recordings.
The elegant atmosphere and easy accessibility make it a convenient meeting area for visitors. It has an expansive underground parking facility, so you don’t struggle to look for a parking space. If you want to catch the tram, you can go to Kossuth Lajos tér or Szalay utca and take line M2 or catch bus lines 15, 70, 78, or 115.
Looking for a tracking party scene in Shadow and Bone
Szentendre Skanzen Village Museum
The fourth episode, Otkazat’sya, opens with Mal narrating his journey to Alina through a letter. According to him, his unit has been sent to Chernast where the Fjerdans keep attacking at night. He also expresses his longingness for her as he waits for Alina’s response to his letters.
While they’re gathering at a deserted village, Lieutenant Bohdan (Hugo Speer) reads an open assignment sent by Kirigan from Os Alta, the capital of Ravka. He is looking for volunteers for a tracking party to find the Morozova’s Stag, an ancient, mythical creature.
The abandoned village in ruins you see in this scene is actually an open-air museum just twenty miles north of Hungary’s capital. Founded in 1967, the Szentendrei Skanzen or the Hungarian Open-Air Museum is the country’s largest outdoor collection. It covers an area of around 46 hectares, featuring old buildings and unique Carpathian folk architecture. There are guided tours and several temporary, thematic, and permanent exhibitions visitors can enjoy.
Don’t worry about finding an ugly, deserted village in shambles because it doesn’t look as bad as it was in the series in real life. The houses and the windmill in ruins were digitally edited to reflect the war’s destruction in the show.
The Royal archives heist scene in Shadow and Bone
Buda Castle, Budapest
It’s time for The Crows, consisting of Kaz Brekker (Freddy Carter), Jesper Fahey (Kit Young), and Inej Ghafa (Amita Suman), to implement their plan to get into the Royal archives. In episode 4, the gang heads in to find the blueprints for the Little Palace to carry out what they call the “Royal archives heist.”
Eagle-eyed fans who have been to the legendary Buda Castle will probably recognize the building in this scene. The Royal archives’ exterior was filmed in the castle’s interior courtyard, giving the scene a more authentic feel.
Buda Castle is one of Budapest and the country’s most glorious symbols. It’s undoubtedly a remarkable castle, which houses several main attractions. These include the Hungarian National Gallery, the Budapest History Museum, and the National Széchényi Library. It is perched on Castle Hill, offering a panoramic view of the river.
The museums are open from Tuesday to Sunday, between 10 am to 6 pm. If you want to take the bus, lines 16, 16A, and 116 will take you to the castle.
The library scene in Shadow and Bone
Helikon Library, Festetics Palace
Halfway through the third episode of the series, Alina explores the library and finds a familiar book she used to read when she was young. She was then joined by the King’s spiritual adviser, The Apparat (Kevin Eldon). He declares his desire to be friends with Alina and claims, “It is important that we are friends.” To say that his approach to Alina is uncomfortable is an understatement. But he turns out to be an essential character as she learns more about the stag in her dreams.
This Little Palace library is actually the Helikon Library in Festetics Palace. It is one of the world’s few libraries that have survived the looting and ravages of war. It contains more than 500 years of art and stored knowledge preserved in the only baronial library in the country.
Although this Netflix series is set in a fictional world, you can still visit any Shadow and Bone filming location and experience a bit of the Grishaverse. You may not be able to go to Os Alta and see the King at the Grand Palace or meet any Grisha living in the Little Palace. However, you can always explore the castles, museums, and palaces that served as the Shadow and Bone film set.
The production used a lot of different sites and major attractions in Budapest and the surrounding areas. Besides the cultural structures and heritage buildings, they also featured charming streets around town. Even just by seeing them on the small screen, you can feel the relaxed atmosphere of those narrow streets that bring color to the story.