On Friday, December 18th the latest Star Wars film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be released in theaters worldwide. However, many Star Wars fans don’t realize that Tunisia was the primary filming location for the planet of Tatooine in both Star Wars: A New Hope and Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. I recently ventured down to Southern Tunisia to find some of the locations that were featured in both of these films. Here are a few locations that stuck out to me as must-see places for any Star Wars fanatics visiting the country.
MATMATA – Matmata, located 45 km southwest of Gabes, is famous for its troglodyte homes, underground homes originally built by the native Berbers. The most famous trogdolyte home in Matmata is located in the Sidi Driss Hotel and was the filming location for the home of Luke Skywalkers’ uncle and aunt in the first film, Star Wars: A New Hope. Most of the original Star Wars set has been preserved in this location making it a must visit for Star War fans.
SIDI BOUHLEL – Sidi Bouhlel is a small canyon located approximately 23 km outside Tozeur on the road to Kebili. This canyon is often dubbed “Star Wars Canyon” because it was the filming location for many scenes in Star Wars: A New Hope. The most memorable scenes filmed in this canyon were the abduction of R2-D2 and C-3PO by the Jawa traders, as well as Luke Skywalkers’ first meeting with Obi-Wan Kenobi. This canyon is definitely a place worth visiting and hiking through its vast ravine. This site was a favorite film location of George Lucas as he also filmed scenes from his film Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark here.
KSAR OULED SOLTANE/KSAR HADADA – These two Ksars, both located outside of the city of Tatouine, were featured in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace as the slave quarters where Anakin Skywalker lived as a child. Both of these impressively built structures were originally used by Berbers for storing grain and other goods. Ksar Ouled Soltane is located 22 km southeast of Tatouine and is easily accesible by car. Ksar Hadada is also accesible by car and is located 29 km northwest of Tatouine and just 5 km north of the town Ghomrassen.
(4) ONG JEMEL – Ong Jemel, located near the town of Nefta, is famous for being the film location of the settlement Mos Espa in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. This location is one of the most impressive Star Wars locations in Tunisia because it contains a nearly completely preserved movie set. For Star Wars fans who want to completely immerse themselves in the movie, this is the place for them as you can’t help but feel that you are part of the movie when you walk through this breathtaking set. This place is very hard to get to on your own without a LandCruiser because of the desert terrain, so it is advisable to arrange a personal driver to take you there through a Tunisian travel agency or one of Tozeurs’ tourist hotels.
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