Netflix's newest fantasy series, Shadow and Bone, introduces viewers to a fantastical world so detailed, no one would fault you if you had to watch with a map pulled up on your phone. The show is a faithful adaptation of the Grishaverse, a series of nine YA books written by Leigh Bardugo. It follows Alina Starkov, a mapmaker in the First Army of Ravka, a country inspired by imperial Russia that has been at war with each of its border countries for centuries. Alina discovers that she has a rare magical power that can destroy the Shadow Fold, a swath of monster-filled darkness that has killed many Ravkans, including Alina's parents.
The first season of Shadow and Bone takes place across three fictional countries, but all feel like distinctly different settings. Filming for Shadow and Bone took place in the country of Hungary, in central Europe—and much in-studio and on-location filming took place in historical sites in Budapest, Hungary's capital. Here's what we know about where the Shadow and Bone cast and crew filmed their vast fictional world.
Season 1 was filmed in the Hungarian countryside.
Filming for Shadow and Bone started in October 2019 in Hungary and finished in early March 2020, right before the COVID-19 pandemic paused productions worldwide. There was also some supplemental filming in Vancouver, Canada, in September and October 2020. Hungary is a popular filming location for fantasy shows; Netflix's The Witcher and The Last Kingdom also filmed in Hungary.
There was also plenty of outdoor filming in the Hungarian countryside. For outdoor filming, the cast and crew had to deal with harsh weather across the seasons. According to the site Distractify, most of the rain, sand and sleet seen on the show was real.
Part of the show was filmed at Budapest's Orgio Studios, one of the biggest movie studios in Europe, known for hosting big-budget productions such as Blade Runner 2049 and Atomic Blonde.
The Ketterdam and Ravkan palace scenes were filmed in Budapest.
Shadow and Bone's city and palace scenes were filmed throughout Hungary's capital, Budapest. The main Ravkan palaces are the king and queen's Grand Palace and the neighboring Little Palace, where Alina trains in combat and using her powers. Ketterdam, the capital of Kerch, was inspired by Amsterdam, Las Vegas, and old New York (a.k.a. New Amsterdam), and is known in the Grishaverse as a hub of international trade where residents travel by waterways.
Budapest is known for its stunning mix of old and new architecture. The city's 13th-century Buda castle and palace complex, which housed multiple kings of Hungary, was featured in the show, as well as multiple other palaces and old government buildings around Budapest. According to The Cinemaholic, cast members Ben Barnes and Freddy Carter described its architecture as a mix of "east and west," which fit the tone of Shadow and Bone. They also described the city as "czar punk," similar to steampunk with Russian elements, fitting with Ravka's Russian influence.