Where was Tenet filmed? - The top filming locations in Tallinn and how to find them

    07.09.2020 Laura Hiietamm
    Christopher Nolan's new film Tenet 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. 

    Tenet's filming locations in Tallinn, Estonia 

    Linnahall (city hall): "Kyiv Opera House"


    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

    Tenet filming locations in Tallinn, Estonia: Linnahall cast as the Kiev Opera House. Photo: Georg Svidlov
    Photo: Georg Svidlov

    Port of Tallinn and the city's gorgeous skyline


    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

    Top tip: The easiest way to admire the skyline is to stroll on Reidi tee or the Pirita seaside promenade, starting from the city centre and going as far as the sandy beach of Pirita. You can also simply take a sunset cruise on Tallinn Bay or go on a day trip to Helsinki.

    Tenet filming locations in Tallinn, Estonia: sunset on the bay and view of the port Photo: Kaupo Kalda
    Photo: Kaupo Kalda

    Maarjamäe memorial complex


    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.

    Top tip: Maarjamäe is the perfect destination for history and movie buffs. In addition to the Soviet ensemble, a modern Memorial to the Victims of Communism, the Estonian History Museum, and the Film Museum are all located in the same area. The Film Museum was even visited by Christopher Nolan during his free time in Tallinn. 

    Tenet filming locations in Tallinn, Estonia: Maarjamäe memorial complex Photo: Georg Svidlov
    Photo: Georg Svidlov

    Kumu Art Museum: "Oslo freeport" 


    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.

    Tenet filming locations in Tallinn, Estonia: Kumu art museum cast as Oslo freeport. Photo: Kadi-Liis Koppel
    Photo: Kadi-Liis Koppel

    Laagna tee (Laagna road) 


    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. 

    Tenet filming locations in Tallinn, Estonia: Laagna tee in Lasnamäe where the movie's epic time-bending car chase was filmed Photo: Kadi-Liis Koppel
    Photo: Kadi-Liis Koppel

    Liivalaia 24: "Wermuth-Bygningen building"


    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).

    Tenet filming locations in Tallinn, Estonia: former courthouse on Liivalaia street, cast as the Wermuth-Bygningen building in the movie. Photo: Kadi-Liis Koppel
    Photo: Kadi-Liis Koppel

    Pärnu maantee (Pärnu highway)


    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". 

    Tenet filming locations in Tallinn, Estonia: Pärnu maantee and the red-and-white tram in the city centre. Photo: Kadi-Liis Koppel
    Photo: Kadi-Liis Koppel

    Railway tracks near Telliskivi Creative City


    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. 

    Paljassaare Port


    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 area known for its unique seaside flora. 

    Hotel Hilton Tallinn Park


    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...  

    Tenet filming locations in Tallinn. Hotel room with a city view. Photo: Hilton Tallinn Park Hotel
    Photo: Hilton Tallinn Park Hotel

    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

    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. 

    Leib

    Leib (bread in Estonian) in the Old Town is a restaurant with a fabulous garden serving modern Estonian cuisine made from fresh local ingredients.

    Rataskaevu 16

    Tallinners love the restaurant for its locally-inspired food and friendly atmosphere.

    180 degrees

    180° offers a true fine dining experience with a sea view in the modern Noblessner Seafront Quarter

    Wrap'n'Roll - Balti Jaam Market street food area

    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.