More than 50 years after the Winnetou films
were produced, the hype surrounding the characters, that were created by the famous German author Karl May, is not decreasing. The movies about the legendary Native American chief and his friend Old Shatterhand are just as popular today as they were in the 1960s when they first appeared on the big screen. The French nobleman Pierre Brice, who played Winnetou, and the US actor Lex Barker, who played Old Shatterhand, achieved world fame with these roles. It is also interesting that the movies about the adventures of Winnetou are still among the most watched movies of all times
The beautiful, wild nature
through which Karl May’s “blood brothers” rode has contributed to a large extent to the popularity of these movies. Many Winnetou fans are amazed when they hear that the movies about their heroes were not filmed in the American Wild West, but in Croatia
. Between 1962 und 1968, eleven films about Winnetou were made in a co-production between “Rialto Film” from Berlin and the Croatian production company “Jadran Film” in Croatia. Numerous beautiful places in Croatia served as the film set for the adventures of Winnetou and we bring you a short overview of the most important locations
National Park Plitvice
Not much needs to be said about the breathtaking beauty of Croatia’s most famous and oldest national park, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site
in 1979. What is less well known, however, is the fact that this wooded mountain area in central Croatia
with its 16 crystal clear and blue-green lakes also served as filming location for some of the most famous Winnetou films such as “The Treasure of the Silver Lake”, “Apache Gold” and “The Desperado Trail”.
National Park Paklenica
Seven of the eleven films about the fearless Apache chief were shot in Paklenica, one of the most beautiful national parks
in Croatia, located in the Zadar and Lika-Senj counties. In the spectacular landscapes of this 95 square kilometre park on the slopes of the Velebit mountain, “The Treasure of the Silver Lake”, “Among Vultures”, “Old Surehand” and “The Valley of Death” were filmed. A special highlight for all Winnetou fans will certainly be a visit to the hotel “Alan” in Starigrad-Paklenica, where the entire film crew was staying during the filming. In 2009 the hotel was transformed into a unique Winnetou Museum
, which houses many original film props such as canoes, costumes and reflectors.
Krka National Park
The Krka National Park
, which stretches over 109 square kilometres of the most beautiful part of the rivers Krka and Cikola in the Sibenik-Knin County, is famous for its numerous lakes and waterfalls
. Many visitors are surprised to hear that the world’s second oldest hydropower plant and the oldest hydropower plant in Europe is located here. The Jaruga hydropower plant, located below the Skradinski buk waterfall, was built on August 28, 1895, just three days after the world’s first hydropower plant on the Niagara Falls. This majestic water landscape
also served as filming location for “Apache Gold”, “Apaches’ Last Battle”, “Among Vultures” and “The Valley of Death”.
The canyon of the river Zrmanja
in the south of Lika and the north of Dalmatia is certainly one of the most beautiful locations where the films about the unforgettable Native American chief were filmed. Film classics such as “The Treasure of the Silver Lake”, “Apache Gold”, “The Desperado Trail” and “Flaming Frontier” were shot in this breathtaking natural landscape. This canyon also served as filming location for numerous other films such as “Genghis Khan”, played by film legend Omar Sharif in 1965, or “Scalawag”, a 1973 film directed by another Hollywood star Kirk Douglas.
Vrana Lake Nature Park (Vrana Lake)
The Vrana Lake Nature Park, which is located between the cities of Sibenik and Zadar, is the largest natural lake and one of the largest wetlands in Croatia. It is considered a true paradise for all sport fishermen
and cyclists. “The Desperado Trail” and “Winnetou and the Crossbreed” were shot on this lake, which is located directly by the Adriatic Sea.
If you have ever travelled from Zadar to the central part of Croatia, it is highly unlikely that you haven’t noticed this rocky peak that towers proudly above the Sveti Rok tunnel. Many legends are associated with this place.
It has been said that dragons hatched from their eggs here or that Velebit fairies lived in these amazing rocks. Many Winnetou fans will recognise this rocky peak as the place where Pierre Brice appeared right at the beginning of “Apache Gold”. This place also served as the setting for the Nugget Tsil, where the Apaches hid their gold, or for the valley of skeletons in “Flaming Frontier”.
If you are on vacation in one of our villas
, make the most of your time and visit some of the wonderful places where the movies about the legendary Apache chief were filmed.