New Amazon series ‘The Wheel of Time’ features spectacular Czech locations

Bohemian Switzerland and Bohemian Paradise are featured heavily in the early episodes of the fantasy series intended to rival 'Game of Thrones.'

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 24.11.2021 12:43 (updated on 24.11.2021) Reading time: 4 minutes

Prime Video's "The Wheel of Time" debuted last week as the streaming service's most-watched series premiere of 2021. Like the cultural phenomenon “Game of Thrones” before it, the adaptation of the fantasy novels by the late Robert Jordan was shot across numerous breathtaking landscapes including several in the Czech Republic.

“The Wheel of Time” follows powerful channeler Moiraine, played by Rosamund Pike, as she leads a group of young people on a journey around the world. She believes one of them is the reincarnation of the Dragon, a prophesied figure who could save the world or destroy it.

Filmmakers were pleased with their experience for the first season, and have already returned to film in the Czech Republic for the second one. The budget for each episode is reported to be around $10 million, roughly CZK 226 million.

For season one, the local expenditure was almost CZK 2 billion, with an incentive of CZK 352 million, according to the Czech Film Commission. This makes it one of the most expensive projects ever to be filmed in the Czech Republic.

Filming for the first season, which took a total of 145 days, began in the Czech Republic in 2019 and continued into 2020, with some breaks because of the pandemic. The shooting for the second season began in July 2021 and will continue until March 2022.

AGENCY PROPERTIES

Apartment for rent, 3+kk - 2 bedrooms, 59m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 3+kk - 2 bedrooms, 59m2

Máchova, Praha 2 - Vinohrady

Apartment for rent, 2+kk - 1 bedroom, 63m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 2+kk - 1 bedroom, 63m2

Poštova, Praha 8 - Dolní Chabry

Apartment for rent, 2+1 - 1 bedroom, 70m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 2+1 - 1 bedroom, 70m2

V kotcích, Praha 1 - Staré Město

For the first season, some additional filming took place in Slovenia and Croatia. Season two has reportedly added the Canary Islands and Morocco to the list of locations.

“Game of Thrones” spawned a cottage industry for visiting the locations in Spain, Croatia, Ireland, and Iceland. While current conditions have put a damper on travel, perhaps once the pandemic subsides fans of the show will be able to explore some “Wheel of Time” locales.

TEACHER PROFILES

Indoor scenes have been filmed at the new Jordan Studios, created specifically for the series in Prague’s Letňany district in the former Avia Motors truck factory. The studio was created because other suitable spaces not only in Prague but also Budapest, London, and various places in the United States such as Atlanta were booked up.

Prague, in addition to hosting a string of films this year such as “The Gray Man,” “Spaceman,” “White Bird: A Wonder Story,” and “Extraction 2,” is also the home base for the series “Carnival Row.”

Village set near Prague for 'The Wheel of Time.' (Photo: Amazon)
Village set near Prague for 'The Wheel of Time.' (Photo: Amazon)

The fictional town of Two Rivers was built in a former rock quarry some 40 kilometers from Prague. The village was only used for a few scenes before the plot called for it to be burned down in the first episode, “Leavetaking.” The location of the quarry hasn’t been specified, though, and none of the set remains.

Dolský mlýn. (Photo: Wikimedia commons, LadislavMercante, CC BY-SA 4.0)
Dolský mlýn. (Photo: Wikimedia commons, LadislavMercante, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Ruins of a mill in Dolský mlýn, a site in the Kamenice river valley in the Bohemian Switzerland (České Švýcarsko) National Park, come into play in the second episode, “Shadow's Waiting.”

Church of St. Wenceslas. (Photo: Wikimedia commons, KarelTvrdik, CC BY-SA 3.0)
Church of St. Wenceslas. (Photo: Wikimedia commons, KarelTvrdik, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Much of the abandoned city of Shadar Logoth in that episode is a mix of CGI and studio sets. One exception is the inside of a temple, which was filmed in the St. Wenceslas Church in the Výsluní in the Ústí nad Labem region, with some added props to help it match the studio scenes.

The same church was used in the series “The Borgias” and a Rammstein video. It has also graced Czech films such as “Forgotten Light” (Zapomenuté světlo) as well as the Major Zeman crime TV series in the 1970s.

Velká Amerika. (Photo: Wikimedia commons, Miroslav Tomíšek, CC BY-SA 3.0)
Velká Amerika. (Photo: Wikimedia commons, Miroslav Tomíšek, CC BY-SA 3.0)

The third episode, “A Place of Safety,” features a village called Breen's Spring. Filming for that took place at Velká Amerika, a canyon in Central Bohemia near the village of Mořina in the Beroun district.

The location has been featured in many international films, as well as Czech ones like the comedy western “Lemonade Joe” (Limonádový Joe) and the fairytale “Little Mermaid” (Malá mořská víla).

AGENCY PROPERTIES

Apartment for rent, 3+kk - 2 bedrooms, 59m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 3+kk - 2 bedrooms, 59m2

Máchova, Praha 2 - Vinohrady

Apartment for rent, 2+kk - 1 bedroom, 63m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 2+kk - 1 bedroom, 63m2

Poštova, Praha 8 - Dolní Chabry

Apartment for rent, 2+1 - 1 bedroom, 70m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 2+1 - 1 bedroom, 70m2

V kotcích, Praha 1 - Staré Město

Pravčická brána. (Photo: Wikimedia commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)
Pravčická brána. (Photo: Wikimedia commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)

One of the country’s most famous natural sights, the Pravčická brána stone arch in Bohemian Switzerland, was not overlooked. It can also be seen, for example, in “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”

The distinctive rock fingers of Prachovské skály in Bohemian Paradise (Český ráj) that pop up in this episode can also be spied in “Carnival Row,” “Britannia,” “Van Helsing,” “The Mists of Avalon,” and the original “Hellboy.”

Prachovské skály. (Wikimedia commons, CC BY-SA 2.0 de)
Prachovské skály. (Wikimedia commons, CC BY-SA 2.0 de)

TEACHER PROFILES

These Czech locations are freely mixed with ones in Slovenia, such as a bridge in the Rakov Škocjan valley, caves near Ljubljana, and a large gorge on the Soča river, plus more locales in Croatia. This makes following in the characters’ footsteps a bit difficult. While some locations do exist, the world of “The Wheel of Time” really is a realm of fantasy.

Upcoming episodes in the first season, as well as the still-in-progress second season, will no doubt add more places for film fans to visit. Remember, though, take only pictures and leave only footprints. Removing souvenirs from national parks is a crime.

Publish your story to Expats.cz Find out more