Shadow and Bone Filming Locations: The Real Ravka
Find Netflix Shadow and Bone filming locations including Buda Castle and the Castle District, Festetics Castle and Kastélypark, several national museums, and Hungarian film studios - used for Ketterdam, the Grishas’ Little Palace, the Grand Palace, training ground and more.
Taking the lead from Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse novels, Shadow and Bone on Netflix spans continents and kingdoms.
The series follows Ravkan mapmaker Alina (Jessie Mei Li). Once General Kirigan (Ben Barnes) discovers her magical Grisha abilities, she’s taken to the Little Palace where the kingdom’s Grisha sharpen their talents.
With Genya (Daisy Head) to make her look the part and Baghra (Zoë Wanamaker) to train her, Alina starts her journey. Her childhood friend, Mal (Archie Renaux), a tracker, is sent across Ravka on a quest that’s tied to Alina’s fate. Further north in Fjerda, another Grisha, Nina, has been captured by Matthias (Calahan Skogman), a Druskelle or witch-hunter.
In Ketterdam’s underworld, the Crows gang have taken on an ambitious job. Kaz (Freddy Carter), Inej (Amita Suman) and Jesper (Kit Young) first appeared in the Six of Crows duology, set after the events of the Shadow and Bone novels. So even long-time Grishaverse readers are in for a few surprises from the Netflix adaptation.
Where Is Shadow and Bone Filmed?
Shadow and Bone is filmed in Budapest’s ancient Castle Quarter, at national museums in the Hungarian capital, at Budapest Royal Palace, an elegant palace and its gardens.
Filming took place in Budapest between October 2019 and February 2020. Sujaya Dasgupta showed off Shadow and Bone’s Budapest location at the start of October 2019. Freddie Carter marked the 28th February wrap with a behind the scenes snap.
Publicity shots of the cast were taken on the Hungarian Agricultural Museum’s staircase, housed in Vajdahunyad Castle. It was built in 1908 in the style of a Transylvanian castle, and it’s a very appropriate choice, with hundreds of antlers lining the walls of its Hall of Hunting.
But it’s actually another, older, part of the castle we see in the first shot of the Shadow and Bone Netflix cast - a bright staircase in the Baroque wing.
Hungary is home to many multifaceted buildings like Vajdahunyad Castle. You can find medieval walls preserved just metres from elegant 18th and 19th Century mansions in Budapest city centre.
Shadow and Bone’s Ketterdam set is an update of The Witcher’s own medieval complex at Origo Studios in Hungary. The backlot construction was given a makeover to turn it into the Grishaverse port town, home to Kaz and the Crows.
Unfortunately that makes Ketterdam harder to visit than some Grishaverse filming locations. But it does mean you can look out for upcycled streets in the new Netflix series!
The Grand Palace at Os Alta
Shadow and Bone’s Ravkan Grand Palace location is a combination of Buda Castle locations and the Museum of Ethnography. You can see the Budapest Royal Palace courtyard in exterior shots, and its halls were used in certain scenes too.
Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone novel describes the Grand Palace at Os Alta as sitting above terraces and fountains, decorated in marble and gold.
Though Ravka is largely based on the Russian Empire, this is a spot-on description of Hungary’s Buda Castle. Standing within the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the former Habsburg residence sits on top of a series of grand terraces that lead down to the Danube.
In the Grishaverse, the Grand Palace is home to the Ravkan royal family and their court. East and West Ravka are divided by the Shadow Fold, but ruled from Os Alta in East Ravka by the Lantsov dynasty.
Unlike the neighbouring land of Fjerda, the kingdom encourages those with special abilities. Ravka’s magical force, the Second Army, is led from the Little Palace nearby - keeping the trusted General Kirigan and the powerful Grisha close. The Rasputin-like Apparat is a fervent believer in the old Ravkan saints who walks both palaces.
Grand Palace Throne Room
The Museum of Ethnography is Netflix’s Shadow and Bone Grand Palace filming location, with the Throne Room set in its richly decorated hall.
A Ravkan symbol is added to the marble floor, but that’s the only major change. The inlaid black and red design is a feature of this stately museum, along with the unusual staircase.
Budapest Museum of Ethnography is located opposite the Hungarian Parliament Building. It’s dedicated to traditional Hungarian folk culture, along with exhibits on world cultures from history to the present day.
And if you’re wondering why the museum is so ornately decorated, the building was once the Supreme Court. Though the museum was founded in the 1870s (predating the justice building), it was relocated to this grand Kossuth Square site a century later.
The Grand Palace Stables
The Royal Castle of Godollo, Grassalkovich Palace, provided the Little Palace’s stables.
In Episode 5, “Show Me Who You Are”, Jesper finds the groom he flirted with earlier at the stables.
The palace’s riding school and stables were built in the 1740s, as part of the Baroque expansion by Anton Grassalkovich I. He was a favoured courtier of the Habsburg monarch Maria Theresa, who ruled over Austria, Hungary and Bohemia.
In Shadow and Bone, you can see that the stables open out onto a corridor. This is because they’re built within the castle itself - the riding school leads directly to the Baroque theatre.
All of which explains the stables’ elegant appearance and marble details - this is no rustic barn.
The block had fallen into disrepair, but it was restored between the 1980s and early 2000s to the standard you see in the Netflix series.
Now the riding school is a celebrated fixture, and modern day visitors can attend a horse show or take a carriage ride at Godollo Castle.
The Palace Church
We think the church sequence where Inej defeats Pavel was filmed in the Royal Palace of Godollo’s Baroque chapel.
It dates back to 1749, and was built as part of the former Grassalkovich Palace’s grand Baroque rebuild. You can’t miss the chapel’s rich ornamentation onscreen. It’s decorated in carvings and rare mosaics, while the altar is surrounded by black and red marble.
All perfectly suited to any palace chapel of Ravka, of course.
The Royal Archives
The Royal Archives filming location in Shadow and Bone is the Royal Palace of Buda Castle. Kaz visits the Royal Archives for blueprints to the Little Palace, and Jesper and Inej are seen carrying out the heist by night.
In the night sequence, the Royal Palace’s portico, topped by statues, is clearly visible in a few shots. You can also make out its dome as Inej climbs across the roof.
Budapest’s Royal Palace is the sprawling Baroque complex that sits above the city, dominating the skyline. Like the rest of the castle, it now hosts museums - you’ll find the Budapest History Museum and Hungarian National Gallery inside.
So in normal times it’s easy to visit this Shadow and Bone filming location if you’re on a Hungarian adventure.
Interior shots of the Ravkan Royal Archives were filmed at the former Stock Exchange Palace on Szabadság tér, or Freedom Square.
When the building was completed in 1907, Budapest’s new Stock Exchange Palace was one of the largest in Europe. After this, it changed use over time before being taken over by a state broadcaster and later, MTV.
Now here’s where to see this Shadow and Bone location. Kaz enters a corridor when he first asks for the palace plans earlier in the episode.
And later in the night sequence, Inej and Jasper are seen in the central dome hall as they complete the mission. Look out for the entrance door, opposite the balcony that circles the rotunda supported by decor.
The Little Palace
The Shadow and Bone Little Palace filming location is Festetics Palace in Kezsthely – with a few CGI turrets added to the palace’s own elegant architecture.
You can barely see the transition though, they’re a close match for the real details. And we think they echo the look of St Stephen’s Basilica in central Budapest.
The Grishas’ Little Palace is first seen when General Kirigan brings Alina there after the incident on the Shadow Fold. So our first view of the Little Palace stays close to the Grishaverse books, with a similar sequence of events and set of locations.
Leigh Bardugo’s novels establish the location of the Little Palace as being within the same castle compound, on the other side of a lake. The palace layout isn’t totally clear but they are clearly within in the same complex and in easy reach of each other.
The Little Palace Interior
The Little Palace filming location of Festetics Palace is used General Kirigan leads Alina to her new residence. And we see the rooms and corridors again when Genya prepares her to meet the King and Queen of Ravka.
The wood-panelled staircase the Grishas descend is also part of the same Little Palace filming location.
As you might have noticed, the staircase is surrounded by dark carvings. But the corridor to Alina’s room is clearly decorated to lighter tastes, with chandeliers and the ornate wallpaper that’s popular in Hungary’s palaces.
It’s not the result of merging separate filming locations to create Shadow and Bone’s Little Palace setting. The palace exterior doesn’t give much away, but behind the polished exterior, styles meet and merge - the result of successive new wings, changed plans and reinventions.
Festetics Palace was once a grand Baroque residence for an aristocratic family. It now houses the Helikon Palace Museum but the Festetics family’s influences have survived the centuries. Look out for the different architectural styles, denoting the personal stamp each heir put on the palace.
Little Palace Gardens
Look out for the Kastélypark Keszthely, the Festetics Palace Park, throughout the series. The park’s landscaped gardens and fountains are seen in several episodes of Shadow and Bone Season 1.
Of course, the exact fountain telling the tales of the Ravkan saints was added for the Netflix show. But there’s still plenty to explore!
The Little Palace Staircase
The grander wrought iron staircase the Grishas descend for dinner is the Hall of Stairs at Festetics Palace. It’s a very different look from the wooden staircase shown in the previous episode, and for good reason.
Because the Hall of Stairs leads to the palace’s banquet halls. This is an accurate location/setting match, since the Alina, Marie (Jasmine Blackborow) and Nadia (Gabrielle Brooks) take this route to the Grishas’ own dining hall.
The Little Palace Library
Alina visits the Little Palace library – this filming location is Festetics Palace’s own library. She asks Genya about the library earlier in the series, before she is given The Lives of the Saints by the Apparat in Episode 3, "The Making at the Heart of the World".
The palace library was added at the end of the 18th Century and is Hungary’s only remaining aristocratic private library in complete condition. It’s a functioning reference library, open for research for a fee.
And the real Little Palace library location is perfectly suited to the intrigues of the Darkling’s own court. Because this library has plenty of room for secrets - hidden somewhere in the library, there’s a secret door.
General Kirigan’s War Room
General Kirigan’s room is found in Festetics Palace once again. The show’s production designer, Matt Gant, has called General Kirigan’s war room his favourite Little Palace filming location. And it’s easy to see why, with the room’s dramatic decor matching the character perfectly.
The war room filming location is all dark wood panelling and shadows, with details highlighted in gold. If you’ve noticed Kirigan’s kefta colour, you’ll know that this isn’t just about mood either.
Grisha kefta colours for Corporalki, Materialki and Etherialki in the Netflix Shadow and Bone series are: red for Corporalki, purple for Materialki, and blue for Etherialki. As a Summoner, Alina is an Etherialki and wears blue with unique gold embroidery to denote her Sun Summoner powers.
Kirigan’s black kefta is unique to his unparalleled abilities as the Darkling. at least, until he offers Alina a black kefta with gold embroidery for the Winter Fete where she demonstrates her abilities.
Now back to the war room in the Little Palace - and it’s a near-perfect match for Kirigan (and later, Alina’s) black kefta.
We can’t find confirmation of the Little Palace’s underground tunnel filming location in Shadow and Bone. But we can tell you that Budapest is home to various underground tunnels, caves and vaults.
One of these, with a similar aesthetic to Baghra’s secret tunnel out of the palace, is the Buda Castle Labyrinth. Carved into the limestone rock beneath Buda Castle by hot springs, the labyrinth has been used for nearly half a million years.
Little Palace Ballroom
The Royal Palace of Godollo hinted that Netflix’s Shadow and Bone Little Palace ballroom filming location is their own ballroom.
The room in question is featured in Episode 5, when General Kirigan invites Alina to demonstrate her abilities to the Ravkan court.
Home to the Grassalkovich family and later the Habsburgs, The Royal Palace of Godollo is most closely associated with Empress Sisi of Bavaria.
After the royal line ended, the palace was pressed into various, more practical, uses.
Eventually, in the late 20th Century, refurbishments began. Now it opens to the public in normal times (circumstances permitting), showcasing the palace’s reinstated beauty.
Grisha Training Ground
The Grishas’ training ground in Shadow and Bone Episode 3, “The Making at the Heart of the World”, is Buda Castle’s Great Rondella. Look out for the medieval castle wall in the Grishas’ outdoor training scene, where Alina and Zoya fight. This scene will be familiar to Leigh Bardugo fans - the two Grisha clash in the first Shadow and Bone novel.
Buda Castle has stood on the site since the 13th Century. This fortified wall is one of the oldest parts of the castle, surviving remodels, attacks and reconstructions.
Medieval Buda Castle is also the palace courtyard filming location for the travelling fair in Episode 5, "Show Me Who You Are". It’s all part of the Winter Fete - the Ravkan citizens’ celebrations, while the King and Queen of Ravka’s ball takes place at the Little Palace at General Kirigan’s behest.
The scene is a hybrid of book references and Shadow and Bone Netflix original plotlines, with the Crows finding their way into events mentioned in the book series. You can see glimpses of the brick walls behind the entertainers’ tents when Alina sneaks out to watch the show.
You can see the medieval courtyard walls when the Sun Summoner performance takes place.
Os Alta Palace Walls
Shadow and Bone’s palace wall filming location is the old city wall of Pest, now on the edge of Budapest’s District 5.
In the Grishaverse novels, the palace walls seem to encircle the entire complex including the Grand Palace and Little Palace. The inhabitants can’t enter or leave easily - as we see in the Netflix Shadow and Bone series.
With Inej and Jasper as performers, Kaz brings the crew through the gates of Os Alta. Later in the episode, we see them leave - with an interesting meeting between characters outside the city walls.
The old city wall filming location seen in Shadow and Bone Episode 5, “Show Me Who You Are”, appears each time.
Budapest’s Inner City area, encapsulating District 5, is at the historic heart of the city. It runs along the Danube, on the opposite bank to Buda Castle, with the city wall seen in Shadow and Bone on Netflix forming the ancient boundary.
The Fjerdan Ship
Nina and Matthias’ ship scenes were filmed at Origo Studios, with the help of green screen and SFX for the sea and storm.
Author Leigh Bardugo dropped by the Druskelle ship set to see her characters come to life, back at the start of production in 2019.
The Orphanage at Keramzin
We think Shadow and Bone’s Keramzin orphanage scenes were filmed at Amadé Bajzáth-Pappenheim Castle, Iszkaszentgyörgy. Look out for the single storey courtyard’s distinctive hexagonal entrance, seen clearly when Alina and Mal hide in the grass to avoid the Grisha assessment.
It’s about an hour’s drive south west of Budapest, and roughly midway between Buda Castle and Festetics Palace - Shadow and Bone’s Grand Palace and Little Palace locations.
Amadé Bajzáth-Pappenheim Castle is partially run as an art gallery and museum by Ari Kupsus, and hosts exhibitions connected to Kupsus and the castle’s shared heritage. The castle was the Finnish Embassy to Hungary in the 20th Century, and now houses a memorial exhibition to its past.
The castle was built in the early 1700s for the Amadé family. They retained it - and improved on it - until the castle passed to the Counts of Puppenheim through marriage.
Its state rooms have been restored to their 19th Century grandeur, where gallery owner Kupsus resides. Tours are by arrangement only, but you might catch a glimpse of the castle’s finer suites in print. Unsurprisingly, the elegant setting makes a popular location for fashion shoots.
Novokribirsk Town Square, West Ravka
The Novokribirsk location where Kaz encounters the West Ravka rally in Episode 3, “The Making at the Heart of the World” is in Budapest’s Fő tér, or Main Square.
In the scene, Kaz passes West Ravka: The True Ravka posters as he rounds the corner and enters the square - carrying the show’s breakout star, Milo the goat.
Situated in Budapest’s District 3, on the north side of the city, the Main Square is at the historic heart of Óbuda, or Old Buda. The neighbourhood’s history is everywhere you look - and it might go back longer than you had imagined.
The remains of the surviving Roman baths, amphitheatres and villas are just a stone’s throw from the filming location.
War-Torn Border Town
We think Shadow and Bone’s village and windmill ruins are based on Szentendre Open-Air Museum, also known as Skanzen. Mal visits the location in Episode 4, “Otkazat’sya”, when General Kirigan sends Mal and a band of First Army troops north of Chernast.
In Shadow and Bone, Ravka is roughly based on the Russian Empire. Fjerda is based on Scandinavia, and is a harsh, frozen land to the north of Ravka, which puts Chernast near Ravka’s Fjerdan border. The ruined village is beyond the last First Army outpost.
Fantasy fans might have recognised the windmill from another series (though Shadow and Bone has given it a make-under to provide war damage). The Witcher and Shadow and Bone share the same studios, but their distinct aesthetics mean there’s not much overlap in filming locations. Here’s an exception...
Both Netflix adaptations appear to use exactly the rural village location. Szentendre Open-Air Museum first appears in Yennefer’s village in Season 1 Episode 2, “Four Marks” and the windmill is seen at the start of Episode 7, “Before a Fall”.
Also known as the Open Air Ethnographic Museum, this Hungarian heritage attraction contains reconstructions of the country’s buildings going back to the Middle Ages. It’s also home to real structures brought from across Hungary’s seven regions and reconstructed on site.
The village filming location at Skanden depicts a market town in the Great Hungarian Plain from days gone by.