There have been many casualties on “Game of Thrones” over its seven season run, but this might just be its most surprising yet: one of the Game of Thrones locations used for shooting. That’s because the popularity of the HBO epic has led to such an influx of tourists on a Spanish landmark used as a location on the show that officials are seriously starting to worry about the damage they’re causing.
The location in question is called San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, which is located in the Basque region of the country. “Game of Thrones” used the heritage site, and in particular its gargantuan staircase, to shoot its Dragonstone scenes. They added the castle that sits atop it, though.
The pilgrimage of 75,000 tourists to the location in July alone has led to huge concerns about whether the centuries old site can withstand this amount of feet. Before the most recent season of “Game of Thrones,” San Juan de Gaztelugatxe was only frequented by a number of visitors, mostly religious, who did so because it is dedicated to John The Baptist. But Spanish newspaper El Pais, via the Telegraph, has now claimed that these numbers have grown so large that officials in the region are deeply concerned about the likely harm.
Local tradition decrees that those that venture up the staircase are required to ring a bell above the church three times, before then making a wish. However, the repeated bell ringing has become such an issue, and the threat of destruction looms so large, that the powers that be are considering either charging visitors, or limiting their access.
This isn’t the first time that the popularity of “Game of Thrones” has overrun a city. Dubrovnik, which is in Croatia and is used for King’s Landing, was so inundated with tourists that its new mayor recently decided to restrict the amount granted access per day.