Travelling with the Magic of Movies

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Do you know that places shown in movies are fast becoming a tourism hotspot as viewers turn tourists to flock to the location where they were shot? Well this has inspired several tourism boards to tie up with production houses too!

Perhaps it is the charm of the big screen that has a lure like no other. There are also several places where you can do a complete movie trail at the actual location. Here is a list of some of the locations made famous by movies.

Wadi Rum Desert, Jordan

This desert has seen several movies here including the 1962 classic Lawrence of Arabia, Red Planet and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. This is where you can see the expansive and arid landscape and the Seven Pillars of Wisdom which are 4000 year old rock formations. With its sandstone and Mars like environment, this place was also the location for the shoot of The Last Day of Mars and The Martian.

Forbidden City, Beijing, China

The film The Last Emperor set in Beijing’s majestic Forbidden City is a popular tourist location. This is the Palace Museum located in the center of Beijing and has been the residence of 24 emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties. This imperial palace is a testament to the masterpiece of Chinese architecture and the ornate caissons and glittering thrones here are marvel worthy. Naturally it remains China’s most popular single site tourist attraction.

Harry Potter, Christ Church College, Oxford

One of the colleges in Oxford University, the Christ Church College has a cathedral with a famous choir. However what has added to its charm is that it has been the venue for several movies including The Italian Job, Howard’s End, The History Boys as well as the Harry Potter films. Well this is the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and its 16th century façade provides the perfect backdrop for the magic and more.

The Beach, Ko Phi Phi Leh

Located in the Krabi province in Thailand, Ko Phi Phi Leh is probably the closest to what paradise looks on earth. With its beautiful white sands, turquoise blue sea, surrounded by limestone hills, it was the star in Alex Garland’s film, The Beach. In fact the Maya beach located here has seen such a huge influx of tourists that it has been closed for four months starting March 2018 and the number of visitors post reopening will be limited to 2000 per day.

Ghostbusters, New York

What do the movies Do the Right Thing, Manhattan, Taxi Driver, Elf, Ghostbusters, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Wall Street and When Harry met Sally have in common? Well they have all been shot in New York that has played the perfect foil to the plot. The metropolis has long been the favourite of film makers with the right reason. With stunning locations including the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Times Square and Central Park, you must check out the places where these movies have been shot.

Argo, Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

A bustling market place and one of the most popular tourist hotspot in Istanbul, the Grand Bazaar has been at the heart of Ben Affleck’s Argo. Mimicking a spot in Iran, the Grand Baazar sees lakhs of footfalls every day. A traditional market place, this is where you can pick up the best souvenirs from Istanbul.

The Sound of Music, Salzburg

Salzburg is known for its stunning natural landscapes as well as being the site where the famous movie ‘Sound of Music’ has been filmed. You can actually take a movie tour and relive the adventures of the Von Trapp family when you are here. With a vibrant old town and associated sights, this is where you can also attend The Salzburg Festival, a renowned music event that happens in July and August each year.

The Gladiator, San Quirico d’Orcia, Tuscany

Located in central Italy, Tuscany has a fair share of culture and heritage and it was no wonder that Ridley Scott choose it as the home of Maximus played by Russell Crowe for the movie he directed – The Gladiator. Within the fortified walls of San Quirico lie the 8th century rural church Collegiata di San Quirico, church of Santa Maria Assunta and Horti Leonini, a beautiful symmetrical Italian garden that must be on your to-do list here.

This story first appeared in the Sep-Oct 2018 issue of VFS Magazine here:

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