Many people have heard that Wes Anderson filmed his 2014 movie The Grand Budapest Hotel in the Kaufhaus in Görlitz, but did you know that the film is packed with other scenes that take place all over the city? I wasn’t aware of this either, until I moved to Görlitz and saw the film. I annoyed everyone I was watching with because I kept pausing the film when I recognized a street or building in Görlitz!
I’m a bit jealous that I didn’t live here in 2013 when star-studded cast were staying in Görlitz for filming. I’ve heard stories about people running into Bill Murray or Owen Wilson at the bar, or hearing Adrien Brody practicing piano in side the restaurant Lucie Schulte. Click to see a video of some of the stars discussing filming in Görlitz!
Because so few are aware of the many scenes that can be spotted from the film around our city and because my guests often want to see them, I have taken some side-by-side photos. Come with me on a virtual tour of the city of Görlitz, as seen in the film!
The most well-known scenes filmed in Görlitz were the interior shots of the Grand Budapest Hotel lobby, which were filmed inside the Kaufhaus in Görlitz – a beautiful structure and one of the best preserved department stores in Europe from the early 20th century. It’s built in Art Nouveau style and was actually in use as a department store up until 2009. There are plans to reopen the Kaufhaus as a department store again, currently there’s a private investor who owns the building. The Kaufhaus is open to visitors – check the opening hours on the entrance, they change frequently!
The interior shots of the convent in the film where shot inside the Dreifaltigkeitskirche on the Obermarkt in Görlitz. The Holy Trinity Church is the oldest gothic structure in town. It survived all the city fires – the church was established in 1234 by Franciscan monks as a monastery and church. The interior is beautiful and worth a look! Click to read more about this beautiful church.
The Schönhof is the oldest Renaissance building in Görlitz – after the city fire in 1525 it was rebuilt by the council’s master builder, Wendel Roskopf the Elder. The wooden ceilings and wall paintings inside have been preserved form the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries – that alone would make the building worth a visit, but it is also home to a fantastic collection of items housed by the Silesian Museum. This scene featuring the concierge at another hotel takes place in front of the Schönhof.
Gasthaus Zum Flyns
This enchanting carousel scene featuring the characters Agatha and Zero was filmed on Langenstraße in Görlitz, in front of the former restaurant Zum Flyn’s, with a lovely Renaissance portal from 1557. The house used to have a restaurant inside called “Zum Flyns”. Flyns was the Wendish god of death.
This street scene where Agatha is riding her bike was filmed on the Fischmarkt in Görlitz. The building on the right is a restaurant called Gambrinus and the tower is the Dreifaltigkeitskirche. The “Fish Market” got its name because herring was sold here beginning in 1767.
This scene was filmed on Brüderstraße, between the Obermarkt and Untermarkt in Görlitz. In the background you can see the Reichenbacher Turm. Brüderstraße, or “Brother Street”, was named for the Franciscan monks who founded the Dreifaltigkeitskirche church and monastery. This is a great street to find shops where you can be unique and locally-made gifts and souvenirs.
Rathaustreppe / Ratsapotheke / Waage
This scene is very interesting because it’s actually several different buildings from the Untermarkt stitched together! On the left is the stairs to the old town hall (Altes Rathaus), in the center is the portal to the Ratsapotheke and on the right is the Scales building (die Waage) on the Untermarkt. This scene demonstrates how many of the scenes have been manipulated or spliced together to look different than they do in reality, so it sometimes takes a careful eye to spot them!
This sweeping staircase leads up to the pulpit of the Altes Rathaus, or Old Town Hall, where proclamations were made by the city.
This is the beautiful portal of the Ratsapotheke, or Town Council pharmacy, however today there is a cafe inside. The portal was hidden for decades and finally revealed again when they renovated this building after the fall of the Wall.
This building is called the Waage, or city scales. Merchants traveling on the Via Regia would stop here to have their wares weighed, registered and cleared for the rest of their journey.
This scene where Willem Defoe’s character is chasing Jeff Goldblum’s was filmed at the Nikolaifriedhof. This was the main burial site for the town of Görlitz from its establishment in the 12th century and has a rich collection of tombs and epitaphs from the 17th to the 19th century and provides a unique look at the changing burial culture of the wealthy families in Görlitz over time.
Another scene from the chase with Willem Dafoe and Jeff Goldblum was filmed on Berliner Straße in front of the Bahnhof.
This tower was part of the city fortifications and protected the northern gate. The first mention of the tower was in 1348 and until 1903 a tower guard lived inside the tower on the top floor, ringing the bell whenever there was trouble, such as a city fire.
The Stadthalle is an art nouveau style concert hall in Görlitz. It was opened in 1910 but has been closed since 2005. It is currently being renovated with plans to preserve and reopen this cultural monument. The scenes with F. Murray Abraham and Jude Law, as well as a scene with Saoirse Ronan and Tony Revolori were filmed inside the Stadthalle.
In the beginning of the film when the girl is visiting the grave of the author, they show a wall which can be found on Bergstraße in Görlitz. This is known as the Thälmann-Mauer and the words “Wählt Thälmann”, or (vote for Thälmann), painted on it actually come from another film that was shot here – a two-part series filmed in 1985 about Ernst Thälmann on the occasion of his 100th birthday. Ernst Thälmann was a hero of the GDR – a member of the communist party who was shot in Buchenwald by the Nazis. After the film crew for The Grand Budapest Hotel had left with the words “Old Lutz Cemetery” painted on the wall in 2013, the city chose to restore the words that were there before!
What’s interesting is that the scenery behind the wall in the film does not actually exist at this location. Instead, this is the view of Görlitz from inside the Nikolaifriedhof (cemetery) where you can see several of the city’s towers.
Literally called “The Brown Deer”, this baroque town house located on the Untermarkt is one of the most extensive houses in the city. It used to be a distinguished hotel and brewery and has been redesigned many times. The current baroque facade was created in 1721 after a city fire that occurred in 1717. This building has been the set for many film productions – in addition to Grand Budapest Hotel they also filmed “Goethe!”, “Der Hauptmann” and “Der Zauberlehrling” here. The Brauner Hirsch is only open to visitors during guided tours, which are offered in German.
Underneath the facade are beautiful arcades, which surround most of the square. These were called „Tuchlauben“ or cloth arcades – because the cloth merchants would hang their goods here on display. This scene outside the convent where Zero and Monsieur Gustave hide out was filmed in front of the Braune Hirsch on the Untermarkt in Görlitz.
Inside the massive building are many small rooms and hallways. The funky retro wallpaper from many of the scenes in the The Grand Budapest Hotel can still be found inside! Here are just a few of the many scenes filmed inside the Braune Hirsch.
An early scene where the author, played by Tom Wilkinson, is in his study was filmed inside.
The scene where Jopling, played by Willem Defoe, pays a visit to the sister with the wooden leg was filmed in the courtyard.
This kitchen scene from inside Madame D’s (Tilda Swinton’s) palace was filmed inside.
Zero’s tiny room (played by Tony Revolori) at the Grand Budapest Hotel was also filmed inside.
Agatha’s room (played by Saoirse Ronan) in the attic above Mendl’s was filmed in the attic.
A few bath scenes from The Grand Budapest Hotel were also filmed in the former baths of the Brauner Hirsch in Görlitz.
Old City Map
Notice the map hanging behind Edward Norton’s head in this scene? It’s an old city map of Görlitz from the year 1847.
Nearby Filming Locations
There were also several locations in the film The Grand Budapest Hotel that can be found near Görlitz.
The scene when Zero and Agatha marry takes place in Sächsische Schweiz (Saxon Switzerland National Park), which is a popular hiking destination near the border with the Czech Republic.
The setting where Monsieur Gustav is imprisoned is Burg Kriebstein, a castle near the town of Waldheim in Saxony.
The scene with the lone phone booth in the middle of nowhere was filmed in the nearby Königshainer Berge.
The interior of the sweet shop Mendl’s where Agatha works was filmed inside the Molkerei in Dresden, a beautiful milk shop that is covered with hand-painted tiles.
This scene where Jeff Goldblum’s character is trying to flee from Willem Defoe was filmed at the Zwinger in Dresden.
When you visit Görlitz, it’s easy to see why it is such a popular location for films, The Grand Budapest Hotel being just one of many. It has a variety of well-preserved, historic buildings from all different time periods as well as some buildings that look “old”, in spite of many of the buildings having been restored. Görlitz is very proud of their nickname Görliwood and they go out of the way to make it easy and attractive for film makers to feature our beautiful city.
The Kaufhaus is currently empty but is open regularly for visitors.
Tours of the Brauner Hirsch in Görlitz take place regularly during the summer but are currently only provided in German.
The tourist office i-Vent also offers tours showing locations where movies and television shows were filmed in Görlitz. These tours are offered in German, check the website for more information.
The Görliwood Entdecker offers a Hollywood tour of Görlitz in German on a red doube-decker bus.