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Spain's 'Hobbit village': The Middle Earth of the western Mediterranean
Tuesday, July 19, 2022 @ 9:54 PM

FANTASY film and series fans have been known to travel to the opposite end of the wrong hemisphere to tour the sets of their favourite screen productions – which makes Spain their perfect destination, wherever they're based on Planet Earth. 

Looks familiar? These are the actual Hobbit houses in Matamata, New Zealand, where the six silver-screen productions based upon J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy novels were filmed, and where Frodo, Bilbo and company lived (photo by the Hobbiton complex in Matamata)

From the 1980s' kids' classic, The Neverending Story, one of a long string of features that used Almería province's Mónsul beach for scenes, to the Ducal mansions in the grounds of Cantabria's very own Parthenon where Nicole Kidman was filmed in The Others, to the numerous sites used in the cult series Game of Thrones, plenty of far-too-little-known enclaves in Spain are a cinema buff's paradise.

Not just supernatural, sci-fi or historical fairytale productions, either: Spaghetti westerns, through which a whole generation built up a mental picture of US cowboy country, were actually shot in Almería's Tabernas desert – guided tours of the sets are immensely popular – and British expats on the east coast tended to enjoy the UK slapstick comedy television series Benidorm more than their counterparts in the 'old country', since they recognised the parts of the holiday town of the same name used for filming.

Tolkien's modern-day readers, or those who have given the legendary sci-fi novelist's hefty tomes a swerve and opted to watch the similarly-lengthy screen versions of them instead, have taken trips to New Zealand with the sole objective of touring the Hobbiton, the purpose-built village in Matamata which became Middle Earth for six blockbusters over 13 years.



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