: You can visit the Grand Budapest Hotel in Görliwood, aka Görlitz (well, the film set, anyway) with us now!
Görlitz remained almost undamaged during the Second World War and with its 4000 or so historical buildings spanning 500 years it provides a periodic atmosphere and a lot of inspiration for many filmmakers. We travelled to "Görliwood" to see what the attraction is, and to check out the locations for the many films shot in the atmospheric town.
You're not guaranteed to meet film stars if you go there, but there's a good chance, as it's been a favourite location for many films. If you'd been there in 2012-3 you might have bumped into Bill Murray buying a bratwurst or Ralph Fiennes and Willem Defoe enjoying a quiet drink, as Wes Anderson was shooting his Oscar-winning "Grand Budapest Hotel" around the town, but especially in the Art Nouveau Görlitzer Warenhaus Department Store.
The department store is deserted now (although apparently there are plans to reopen it soon) but we managed to get inside and explore. It was quite a trip to wander around the former film set, working out where the various scenes took place!
"Well, it may not look like much now, but the 100 year old Görlitzer Warenhaus - that's a department store - was in fact the inside of the Grand Hotel Budapest in the film.
And although it's shut and deserted, we're going inside!
The Warenhaus last operated as a department store in 2009, when its owners went bankrupt. Since then, it's been used a few times in films, most notably as the interior of the Grand Budapest Hotel in the 2013 film.
After that, it's basically been empty, except for the occasional tourist or special interest group that have been shown round.
There are actually plans to open it as a department store once again, quite detailed ones. However, it has been delayed for a few years, now 2017, maybe 2018 - let's hope that they make it!
Now here's a shot of the main staircase from the second level.
Look at that detail on the banisters. Imagine walking down here in the old days. Quite resplendent, really.
Here you see the pillars on the top level. There's quite a lot of detail on there, and look at those three characters up there at the top; I'm not sure who they're supposed to be.
Now let's have a look at the beautiful Art Deco ceiling, which was restored in 1985.
If you look carefully here, you can see the dates and in fact the names, of the people involved in the restoration that have been put into the glass. The special technique which was employed is characterised by the use of enamel colour which is baked into the material at a temperature of 600°C, causing an effect as in a graphic.
Well, here we are on the top level, behind all those pillars.
Look at the detail along this. Quite spectacular, really; crude, but effective in a kind of way.
Anyway, we'll look round here. This is where the offices of the film people involved in the Grand Budapest Hotel were originally.
We'll look over, down into the main area, and that magnificent Art Deco roof. All three levels, and the chandeliers. They're not actually the original chandeliers, they were replaced in mid 1990.
And here's another shot of that magnificent, almost M.C. Escher-type staircase!
Well, here we are on the main staircase. It's a bit dodgy, I'll try and walk down. It's not Steadycam, but there you are, you can't have everything! A bit lumpy, I'll try and do better next time...
Helen's enjoying the scene, anyway.
And the chandeliers; magnificent, really."
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