One of Netflix's most exorbitant projects, "Marco Polo" garnered a total of $180 worth of expenses creating two seasons of the 13th Century Venetian adventurer's saga. It was the second most expensive television show following HBO's "Game of Thrones" in 2012. Unfortunately, Netflix pulled the plug despite the anticipation of the fans for its Season 3 premiere.
For better or worse, the creation of "Marco Polo" have made some cultures more visible in the eyes of the mainstream audience. In fact, in 2015 the Mongolian president Tsakhiagiin Elbegdor bestowed an accolade to the "Marco Polo" production team for their positive portrayal of Mongolian history and culture worldwide. But ironically, the series was never filmed in Mongolia.
So which countries did the "Marco Polo" production shoot their cameras? Here are the top 5 filming locations that made the show possible:
A few scenes were shot in Venice, where young Marco Polo paddled his gondola to flirt with a maiden overlooking three-story apartment room window. However, it was just one scene featuring the protagonist's recollection.
Several topographical scenes were also shot in Hungary. Ironically, it is one of the few Eastern European countries that experienced the atrocities of Genghis Khan's westward expansion. This country helped recreate Renaissance Rome in Season 2.
Of all the global locations that "Marco Polo" team has visited, many of the outdoor scenes depicting Mongolia were accomplished via filming in Kazakhstan. Curiously, Kazakhstan offers a very favorable deal for film-makers. Some of the country's geographical features also resemble the Mongolian steppes.
The last few episodes in Season 2 of "Marco Polo" were shot in Slovakia. The steep Sulovske Skaly Mountains provide a picturesque backdrop for Kublai Khan's vigil. In these highlands, Marco Polo saved the emperor from being nearly devoured by a wolf.
The majority of the scenes in Marco Polo were filmed in Malaysia. The tropical wilderness provided a realistic backdrop for Southern China, where Marco Polo and a Chinese double agent abducted the last boy emperor of the Song Dynasty.