Christopher Nolan's Tenet, the winner of the Academy Award (Oscar) for Best Visual Effects,takes us on a whirlwind adventure involving international secret agents, time manipulation, and epic action scenes. It was filmed in seven different countries around the world, including Estonia. Read our guide to discover the locations of some of Tenet’s most pivotal scenes (no spoilers) and see Tallinn through the eyes of Christopher Nolan, John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, and Hoyte van Hoytema.
The monumental Linnahall was initially built as a multifunctional event venue for the Tallinn sailing regatta of the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics and named V. I. Lenin Palace of Culture and Sports. Its brutalist style and impressive size serve as the perfect location for the movie’s intense opening scene.
Linnahall is located in the city centre, between the Port of Tallinn and the Old Town. Simply walk there or take tram nr. 1 or 2 (stop: Linnahall).
Top tip: Although Linnahall is currently closed to the public and awaiting renovation, the building itself is a sight to behold from the outside for its architectural style and grand scale. You can also walk on top of it to take in a beautiful seaside sunset or admire the view of Tallinn’s medieval Old Town.
The view of Tallinn's harbour and silhouette with medieval towers and modern skyscrapers in the background is iconic. Also, if you look closely, you can see the ferries of two of the main companies that sail between Tallinn and Helsinki, the capital of Finland, more than 20 times per day: Tallink and Viking Line.
When strolling on the Pirita Promenade do not forget to look around. The 1970s architectural ensemble with a concrete obelisk dedicated to the defenders of the Soviet Union is hard to miss. The paved pathway along with the "Perishing Seagulls" statue serve as a backdrop for one of Tenet's highly cryptic discussions.
If you prefer to use public transport, simply hop on buses nr. 1A, 5 or 8 (stop Maarjamägi) that will take you from the city centre to the complex in approximately 20 minutes.
Designed by Finnish architect Pekka Vapaavuori, the serene and stately Kumu is the headquarters of the Estonian Art Museum and functions as a national gallery as well as a museum for contemporary art. In the movie, Kumu is cast as the fictional Oslo freeport, and you can see Robert Pattinson (Neil) and John David Washington (Protagonist) walking around the museum's atrium.
The museum is located in the city's largest park, Kadriorg, established by Peter the Great as a gift to his wife Catherine I. To get to Kumu, take tram nr. 1 or 3 (stop: Kadriorg). From the tram stop, you can either walk or take a short ride on a self-driving bus.
Laagna tee is a busy freeway connecting the city centre with Lasnamägi, once a model Soviet micro-district mostly built in the 1970s and 1980s. For Tenet, almost the entire road was closed to traffic to film the epic time-bending car chase scene with many locals cast as stunt drivers.
The best way to enjoy the view of Laagna tee is from one of the several bridges that cross the road, for example, Pae, Lindakivi, or Saarepiiga. You can also hop on one of the buses that frequent the road, like nr. 67 or 68 (stop Paesilla for Pae, Kotka kauplus for Lindakivi, and Laagna for Saarepiiga).
Top tip: If you are short on time, Kumu's second exit (or should we say entrance to the Oslo freeport) on Valge street is only five minutes from Laagna tee's first bridge, Pallasti. Although it was not in the epicentre of the car chase scene in Tenet, you can still get a glimpse of Lasnamägi.
The 1970s office building, a former courthouse, is currently empty and closed for visitors, but you can still have a look at the exterior (and even the spot where the "Wermuth-Bygningen" sign used to hang).
Can you recognise any of the shopfronts starting from the corner of Pärnu maantee and Roosikrantsi? Hop on one of Tallinn's red-and-white trams from the aptly-named Kosmos stop and ride like Pattinson and Washington in the movie. Maybe you'll even spot a familiar-looking Estonian police car or a fire truck as seen in the film...
The corner of Pärnu maantee and Roosikrantsi is a mere 5 to 10 minute walk from Vabaduse väljak (Freedom square) or the "Wermuth-Bygningen building".
We are still on the hunt for this exact location seen early in the film. Nonetheless, we can confirm that what you see in the background of Washington's troubling scene on the railway tracks are the church spires of the Tallinn Old Town and a tiny bit of Telliskivi Creative City — a collection of trendy bars, restaurants, cultural venues, and shops housed in former Soviet factory buildings.
It appears that some of the port scenes were filmed in Paljassaare Port, located on a peninsula not far from the city centre (approximately 30 minutes by bus nr. 73 from the city centre or 20 minutes by tram from Telliskivi).
Top tip: While an industrial port might not be an obvious destination for sightseeing, the peninsula offers amazing (and under-Instagrammed) views of the Tallinn Bay, not to mention a sandy beach and a nature conservation areaknown for its unique seaside flora.
The beautiful view and the cool interiors of one of the top-floor suites of the Hilton hotel in Tallinn serve as the calming background for one of the many serious conversations between Pattinson and Washington in the movie. Rumour has it that some members of the movie's main crew also stayed at this hotel during their time in Estonia...
Dine like the Tenet's stars in Tallinn
It is not every day that you get to dine like Hollywood superstars, so don't miss out on this opportunity in Tallinn. Below is a list of some of the bars and restaurants that Elizabeth Debicki, John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Christopher Nolan, and others reportedly visited during the several weeks they spent in the capital of Estonia.
F-hoone (building F in Estonian) is a trendy bar and restaurant located in the Telliskivi Creative City. Very popular among the locals for its relaxed atmosphere and industrial setting.
Lee (formerly known as Leib) in the Old Town is famous for its fabulous garden and fresh tastes.
Tallinners love the restaurant for its locally-inspired food and friendly atmosphere.
As the name suggests, Wrap'n'Roll sells delicious wraps at Balti Jaam (railway station) Market, one of the city's street food hubs. Surely a very convenient lunch on the go between takes or when waiting for a train.
Listen to what Tenet's leading cast and director thought about Tallinn and the local restaurants: ETV's exclusive interview with Robert Pattinson, John David Washington, Elizabeth Debicki, and Christopher Nolan. Visit Estonia has also caught all the exclusive filming locations on camera: see the reportage on Youtube.