9 Black coach

Hutter's ride in the enigmatic black coach, including the acclaimed "white forest" segment, was filmed at Vrátna dolina ("Reversion Valley" or "Gate Valley"), 25 miles from Oravský Castle.

10 Orlok's castle

The black coach ride delivers Hutter to about the only Slovak location known to most sources on Nosferatu, Oravský zámok ("Castle of Orava County").

Orava Castle is the location of all the outdoor shots at Count Orlok's (Max Schreck) residence, except the final shot of the film. Contrary to a few sources, the indoor castle scenes were staged at the studios in Berlin, not at Orava Castle.

nosferatuslovakiatop

The south-looking low angle the filmmakers found for the first brief shot of the upper palace of the fanciful Oravský Castle, inserted after Hutter crosses the bridge, misled at least one critic into believing it was a miniature special effect by making it appear that the steep cliff with the upper part of Oravský Castle on top was off the perpendicular.

nosferatuslovakiatur

The shot of one of Oravský Castle's towers – informally, "Archives Tower" – was used as Hutter's POV of Orlok's castle he was compelled to go to by the cloaked coachman (Max Schreck in a second role) after his undercranked journey in the black coach filmed at Vrátna Valley.

12 Midnight fear

Instead of howling wolves required by the screenplay and already filmed in Germany, a brief shot of a narrow horsetail waterfall at Jánošíkove diery ("Jánošík's Holes") is inserted to suggest drama and perhaps the flow of blood in the scene when Count Orlok is about to enter scared Hutter's room.

nosferatuslovakiavod

The approximately east-looking camera angle squeezed the cascading water between a rock wall on the left and tree branches on the right.

13 Raft journey

As Count Orlok departs for Germany, the location of the two shots with the raft transporting him in a coffin is at the Margita and Besná rapids ("Margaret and the Rabid [Rock]") on the Váh River, the penultimate Slovak location in Nosferatu.

nosferatuslovakiamar

Nosferatu preserves a rare view of the historical shape of Margita, one of the two cliffs dreaded by timber raftsmen. A substantial part of where it jotted into the stream (still visible in the Nosferatu screenshot above) was blasted away in 1937 to ease the flow of the river and provide ballast for the nearby railroad tracks.

2 Night creature

As Hutter eats dinner and makes himself at home in his room at the inn, the inn keeper's (Guido Herzfeld) and locals' unspoken fear of the creature of the night is reflected in repeated shots of a hyena and fearful horses, all filmed at Nová Lesná according to Murnau's handwritten notes in the screenplay.

4 Morning

The awe conveyed by the granite High Tatra mountains and earlier shots of the horses fearful of the werewolf (represented by a hyena) contrasts with Hutter's carefree morning take on the world underscored with his POV through the inn window of the horses prancing around as they are rounded up, shot near Nová Lesná with Slavkovský Peak in the background.

nosferatuslovakiasla

7 Road bridge

The wooden bridge across the Velický potok ("Village-of-Veľká Creek") Hutter's coach rides on was half-way between Tatranská Polianka and Velické pleso:

nosferatuslovakiabri1

The road is now partly rerouted with an asphalt surface and a concrete bridge (a view of part of its top with railings and the stream is below):

nosferatuslovakiabri2

With the current bridge elevated higher above the Velický potok ("Village-of-Veľká Creek") but deeper among taller trees, the Granáty ("Garnets") range rises equally indistinct in the background of both the old and the new bridge (at the upper edges of the screenshot and the photo above).

8 Brink bridge

When the head coachman (Jozef Sárený, an extra cast in Dolný Kubín) refuses to take Hutter any farther, the location is at Velické Lake. The fateful bridge Hutter crosses on foot is over the Velický Creek that flows out of it:

nosferatuslovakiasli

With the Silesian Chalet deliberately hidden behind the camera and Hutter on the bridge, the shot looks south-east toward the southern slopes of Slavkovský Peak.

A colorized photo of its predecessor taken from the opposite bank 20 years before Nosferatu shows a slightly less sturdy construction:

nosferatusli2

The bridge has been rebuilt and its vicinity substantially landscaped several times since Nosferatu, leading to the current stone-and-concrete bridge:

nosferatuslovakiasli3

But the three-baluster configuration of the railings has been maintained for over a century.

Nosferatu locations

Q: Where in Slovakia was Nosferatu filmed?

Part of the story of the 1922 German classic horror film, Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror), takes place in Transylvania. Instead of traveling over 1,000 miles from Berlin to reach it, its director, Friedrich Wilhelm Plumpe, working under the name F. W. Murnau, took the much shorter trip just to neighboring Slovakia to shoot all the filmic Transylvanian locations there in the late summer–early fall of 1921. Contrary to some sources, they were distributed in places up to 90 miles from each other. The Slovakia-shot footage makes up about 15% of the film.

1 Hutter's arrival: High Tatras

As Hutter (Gustav von Wangenheim) enters the country, Nosferatu features its first Slovak location, a panorama of the High Tatras.

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Looking north from the vicinity of Tatranská Polianka, the camera pans from Slovakia's highest mountain, Gerlach (name based on the village of Gerlachov; 8,710 ft.) hidden in clouds in the west, across the Granáty ("Garnets") range to Slavkovský štít ("Village-of-Slavkov Peak"; 8,045 ft.) in the east.

Murnau's somewhat inconsistent notes in the screenplay indicate that the arrival at and departure from the "Carpathian inn" were filmed at Dolný Kubín, where he was also reported to have hired Jozef Sárený as an extra for the role of the head coachman.

3 Inn creeps: tough location

With only wooded rolling hills in Germany except along the southernmost Bavarian border, Murnau found high-altitude pans and long-lens details of craggy tops of Slovakia's mountains and a waterfall sufficiently formidable to convey the drama in Nosferatu in several places.

The dangers, yet unknown to Hutter, are underscored for the viewer with two pans of stirring mountain views shown on the screen while Hutter is asleep. Both were taken during the morning hours through noon from Poľský hrebeň ("Polish Ridge"), the most difficult filming location of Nosferatu, when porters needed to carry the heavy camera and cans with film from 5,500 ft. to 7,200 ft. and haul them up a rock wall secured with chains.

nosferatuslovakiavel nosferatuslovakiazam

The first pan starts looking west (left screenshot) at Velický Peak ("Veľká-Creek-Valley Peak"; 7,605 ft.) and moves left (south) toward Litvorový štít ("Angelica Peak"; 7,917 ft.) along the ridge north of Gerlach.

The second pan (right screenshot) also moves from right to left (north to north-west) across Zamrznutý kotol ("Frozen Combe"), the upper terrace of Svišťová dolina ("Marmot Valley"), with a central view of Zamrznuté pleso ("Frozen Alpine Lake"; 6,604 ft.), whose ice-free surface indicates that the filming took place in late summer–early fall, which was how long it normally took for its ice to melt in the summer during the colder decades of the 20th century – hence its name.

5 Premonition: Granáty

As soon as Hutter's post coach departs from the inn, a long-lens static shot framing the tops of the Granáty ("Garnets"), reminiscent of the previous night pans, alerts the viewer again to the likely drama ahead of him.

nosferatuslovakiaroh

Looking north-east, from left to right: Rohatá veža ("Horned Tower"; 7,938 ft.), Roh ("Horn"), and Malá... and Veľká granátová veža ("Small..." and "Large Garnet Tower"; 7,602 ft.), the shot was filmed comfortably from the vicinity of Velické pleso ("Village-of-Veľká-Creek Alpine Lake"; 6,449 ft.), reached by coach, in late afternoon.

6 Post coach: Velická Valley

The short takes of Hutter's post coach ride were filmed along the road up Velická dolina ("Village-of-Veľká-Creek Valley"), from Tatranská Polianka (3,281 ft.) to Velické Lake (6,449 ft.) five miles north-west of it. Two separate shots from the road were used later in the story.

The post coach first drives Hutter through deciduous trees and bushes in the vicinity of Tatranská Polianka (identified as such only in Murnau's notes).

nosferatuslovakiazak nosferatuslovakiakon

As it turns a sharp bend (left screenshot), the slopes of Končistá ("Pointed"; 8,317 ft.), viewed from the east, peek out from behind the horses, below the coachman's right arm.

11 Ghostly evenings: Končistá

A west-looking contre-jour shot of Končistá, with the lower peak of Klin ("Wedge"; 7,172 ft.) to its left (south), flashes on the screen and fades to black as Hutter's second night at Orlok's castle draws near, before the intertitle warns, "The ghostly evening light seemed to bring the castle shadows to life again."

An almost identical shot (the right screenshot above) from a slightly shifted location is inserted before Hutter's third night at the castle, after he discovers Orlok's coffin. Both were filmed from the Velická Valley road through what the screenplay said should be "fantastische" tree trunks.

14 Castle in decay: Starhrad

Commonly mistaken for another castle, the ruins of Starý hrad ("Old Castle"), also called Starhrad (or Varínsky hrad, Varín), appear on the screen as the last shot of Nosferatu – an image of Orlok's castle in decay, which lets the viewers' thoughts linger on the horrors of its owner's formerly almost eternal power and gruesome demise, after Die Ende appears on the screen.

nosferatuslovakiastar1 nosferatustar2

With no maintenance, its walls collapsing and progressively overgrown by trees, Starhrad's decline (filmed by Murnau in 1921 on the left) has advanced through the present (right).