Looking for a Brothel in King's Landing
I stood gazing awestruck at the ornate main gates of Mdina, the medieval Maltese former capital, when my friend Nick landed a punch on my shoulder. That got my attention. „Hey my frriend” he said in fake Italian accent „We really should find the brothel. You know, Littlefinger's.” In the first season of Game of Thrones, the walled city of Mdina, or L-Imdina as the locals call it, was cast as King's Landing, the capital of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. Many scenes from Game of Thrones were filmed in Malta, because on this island you can really get the feeling that you're either time traveling or walking in a different world. The town of Mdina is especilly fascinating.
King's Landing's gate
The town of Mdina has a rich history of more than 4000 years, but the main gate is actually not medieval. It was designed in 1724, after an earthquake damaged the old gate built by the Normans. The main gate of Mdina doubles for the gate of King's Landing in S01E03 („Lord Snow”) while Catelyn Stark and Ser Rodrik rode into the capital undercover to find out more about Bran's fall.
The baroque main gate was the setting for the moving farewell between Catelyn and Ned Stark when she set off from King’s Landing. You can make out the lions on both sides of the gate, as they rides off to the North.
The Mdina is situated on a scenic hill, one of the highest points of Malta in the middle of the island. It was first fortified the Phoenicians around 700 BC. After the Punic came the Romans and the governor palace was built here. Saint Paul the Apostle is said to have lived in his palace around 60 AD. Arab invaders took the city in 870 and the architecture of the town still bears a lot of Arabic marks. In 1091 the Normans conquered Malta, and they built thick defensive walls and a wide moat around Mdina, which made it an ideal location to represent King's Landing, even though the former Maltese capital is not by the sea like the capital of the Seven Kingdoms.
Several great scenes took place inside the old defensive walls, like the swordfight between Ned Stark and Jaime Lannister (S01E05 , that ended with Ned's leg injury was shot here and most importantly the scenes in Littlefinger’s Pleasure House.
„Let's look for the mockingbird seals at the entrance” I suggested trying to look very smart. Mockingbird being the sigil of the „honorable” Lord Petyr Baelish, the fictional owner of the pleasure house we were looking for.
Once we got inside the city walls we got lost in the winding alleyways looking for the brothel. Mdina is a labyrinth of intertwined streets built golden limestone, it’s a film directors' dream for a medieval-looking location. No sign of the mockingbird.
Pretty soon we have found ourselves at Mesquita Square, a quiet and a bit hidden place in the silent city. “This is it” we exclaimed. Any GoT nerd would have immediately recognized the balcony of Petyr Baelish's bordello.
This is the scene in front of Littlefinger’s Brothel, as shown in S01E03 (“Lord Snow”). Lord Petyr Baelish takes Eddard Stark to his Pleasure House for an undercover meeting with where to see Catelyn who arrived in King's Landing in secret. Poor Petyr getting a little beaten up in the process.
Mesquita Square is also the location of the fight scene between Jaime Lannister and Ned Stark during S01E05 "The Wolf and the Lion" This is where Lannister guardsmen attack the outnumbered Stark party, Jaime kills Jory, the Stark's captain of the guard and eventually Eddard and Jaime cross swords.
Mesquita Square is the second largest open place in Mdnia and it is situated on the east part of the city and it bears the name of Captain Pietro de Mesquita, who fought the Ottomans during the Great Siege of Malta in 1565.
After our quest for Littlefinger's business venue in Mdina we stopped for coffee behind St. Paul's Cathedral on the main square of Mdina in the courtyard of Palazzo de Piro, right on the medieval city walls to enjoy the absolutely amazing view of almost the entire island. Make sure to go up the terrace which is built right on the city walls.