This Gorgeous Hidden Gem European City Is Full Of Iconic Filming Locations

They call it Görliwood. If you haven't heard of Görlitz, Germany, you might not immediately appreciate the play on the city's name, but welcome to the Hollywood of Central Europe. Skirting the Neisse River and the Polish border in the German state of Saxony, Görlitz survived World War II's ravages to become a magnet for on-screen period pieces. As film producer Andro Steiborn told The Guardian, "The architectural center is intact. So it's one of the few places in Germany where you can shoot historical sequences."

On its 10th anniversary in 2017, the European Film Commissions Network named Görlitz the best movie location of the decade. This followed the city's appearance in Wes Anderson's Oscar-winning dramedy "The Grand Budapest Hotel." Görlitz and the Academy Awards, however, have a history going back all the way to 1929. That was the year when Emil Jannings, who grew up in Görlitz, beat out the dog Rin Tin Tin to win the first-ever best actor award.

Since then, Görlitz has appeared in several other Oscar-winning films, including Quentin Tarantino's war epic, "Inglourious Basterds," for which Christoph Waltz won best supporting actor. "The Grand Budapest Hotel" wasn't even the first Ralph Fiennes movie where the city showed up: He and it had also appeared in "The Reader," for which Kate Winslet won best actress. When you visit Görlitz and take in Germany's scenic beauty, you might feel like you're the star of your own cinematic European travelogue.

The Grand Budapest and other hotels in Görlitz

Görlitz is Germany's easternmost city, which helped it escape damage in World War II, since the British Royal Air Force never flew far enough east to bomb it. The nearby town of Zgorzelec, Poland, was part of Görlitz until 1945. It's just across the river, and you can reach it by crossing the Old Town Bridge (Altstadtbrücke).

If you need a place to stay in Görlitz, several hotels have provided lodging for Hollywood stars. This includes the Hotel Börse in the Lower Market Square (Untermarkt), where the cast and crew of "The Grand Budapest Hotel" stayed while filming in Görlitz. When Kate Winslet and Nicolas Cage were in town, they reportedly stayed at the Hotel Tuchmacher and Hotel Sorat (now the Am Goldenen Strauss).

The Grand Budapest Hotel's exterior was created from a miniature model, so you can't actually stay there. The hotel's interior, on the other hand, was shot in the Görlitzer Warenhaus (pictured above). This vacant, Art Nouveau-style department store, built in 1913, is located at An der Frauenkirche 5-7, 02826 Görlitz. It's currently undergoing restoration, with plans to reopen it in the future as the Kauhauf Görlitz store. Guided tours are sometimes available on request, so check the signs posted outside or the upcoming store's website for the latest. If nothing else, the building is one location you might see on a film-themed walking tour of Görlitz.

Relive Inglourious Basterds and other films

You can book some movie location tours, including a 90-minute English-language tour, through Visit Görlitz. For a self-guided two-hour walking tour, grab a "Welcome to Görliwood" flyer from the Görlitz-Information tourist center to help lead you through the city. The Walk of Görliwood will even take you past movie-themed shop windows.

The Upper Market Square (Obermarkt) was the setting for the George Clooney- and Matt Damon-led World War II film, "The Monuments Men." It co-starred Bill Murray, making this yet another case in which a "Grand Budapest Hotel" cast member appeared in more than one Görlitz-shot film. Elsewhere, you might recognize the tower above Görlitz's Town Hall as the sniper's nest where Daniel Bruhl's character perched himself in "Nation's Pride," the fake German propaganda film that served as a movie-within-a-movie in Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds." Eli Roth, who co-starred alongside Brad Pitt as one of the Basterds, shot "Nation's Pride" in the Obermarkt and Untermarkt.

Roth's own horror film, "Hostel," may have scared some European backpackers enough to keep "hostel" off their list of essential words and phrases in Germany. Yet the aforementioned Hotel Börse does include shared, hostel-type rooms, including one named after the father of sadism, the Marquis de Sade. (Make of that what you will.) Kate Winslet, who co-starred in an earlier movie about de Sade, "Quills," shot scenes for "The Reader" in the Landeskronstrasse area and on one of Görlitz's street trams.