The opening scene takes place on the paradise island of Santorini, Greece. The island is the last of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea and is located 63 nautical miles north of Crete. Its history dates back to 3000 B.C., the volcanic island erupted in 1450 B.C., forming Santorini’s crescent shape. There is a talk about the connection between the island and the lost kingdom of Atlantis. Sanotrini is a favored holiday destination, a stunning island of white villages clinging to volcanic cliffs above black sand beaches. Sunsets from Oia town is spectacular.
Mountains and lakes of Snowdonia at Wales of United Kingdom doubles as China in the film. Llyn Gwynant is the location where Lara and partner Terry land in their pod. This scene was done using real images of the lake along with CGI mountains of Guilin to make it look more like China.
Photographer: wikimedia/Mike Peel
The construction team built a wonderfully convincing Chinese village by the lake, with a traditional water mill for an authentic Asian feel. Lara and Terry got their gears and motorbikes here.
The most memorable moment of the movie is that Lara rides a motorcycle on the Great Wall of China.
Photographer: wikimedia/Nicolas Perrault III
The Buddha cave monastery on a cliff where TerraCotta soliders are stored is actually CGI generated, with the cliff at Alexandra Slate Quarry at Gwynedd of Wales and the caves at LongMen Grottoes at LuoYang, China. The cliff is only 100 feet, CGI was used to make it much higher.
In Hong Kong, an exotic fusion of West and East, Lara and Terry located Dr. Reiss' lab at Times Square Marketplace mall. Later they leap off then-under-construction International Finance Centre skyscraper, landing on a ship out in the Kowloon Bay. The 88-story building is for now Hong Kong’s tallest skyscraper at 420m (1,378 feet) and the sixth tallest in the world.
The African scenes are filmed at Kenya and Tanzaria. In Kenya, the production traveled from one side of the country to another, filming in the famed Rift Valley, game reserves, remote hideaways and busy Nairobi thoroughfares.
Situated on the equator, Kenya has the second highest mountain in Africa. Rising from a natural environment of exceptional beauty, the snow-tipped peaks of Mount Kenya add to the country’s dramatically diverse geography seen in the film, including Desert Rose, a magical and very exclusive hideaway near lake Turkana.
Photographer: wikimedia/Chris 73
The village location is located in Hell’s Gate National Park, near Naivasha, in the Great Rift Valley. The most recent of Kenya’s National Parks, created in 1984, it contains a wide variety of wildlife including cheetahs, zebras, leopards, giraffes, warthogs, buffaloes and a variety of antelopes.
Ol Doinyo Lengai, meaning The Mountain Of God, is an active vocalno, at Tanzania. It reaches 9,650 feet above sea level.
Lara Croft’s home, Croft Manor, is filmed at Hatfield House in Herfordshire, United Kingdom. Hatfield House was built by Robert Cecil, the 1st Earl of Salisbury, between 1607-1611. The house has been in the Cecil family for over 400 years.