Star Wars was truly a classic movie series. It is rare to find someone over the age of 20 who has not seen the original Star Wars movies. It was one of the most successful series ever, and viewers enjoyed being taken to a galaxy far, far away, where everything was different. But in order to film Star Wars, the producers had to work with what they were given in this particular galaxy, as space travel for the purpose of filming a movie was not a financially viable option at the time.
As a result, several locations around the world look just a little too familiar to hardcore Star Wars fans. Though many different areas and landscapes were used to film Star Wars, much of the filming took place in Tunisia. Tunisia’s climate is dry and warm, which made it a perfect setting for the fictional planet Tatooine.
Star Wars fans will be happy to learn that they can visit the filming locations of Star Wars, scattered throughout the nation of Tunisia. If you allow yourself to get lost in the ambience of the area, it’s not too difficult to imagine that you are really on Tatooine.
One of the most popular filming locations in Tunisia is the site of Luke Skywalker’s home. Today, the building operates as a hotel. In order to attract tourism and ultimately bring in more foreign money, many Tunisian people have decorated the film sites with Star Wars memorabilia. If you are a Star Wars fan, and are willing to take a trip to Tatooine – oops – Tunisia, then read the rest of this article.
Hint: you can use the information in this article on Google Maps to see the Star Wars locations without having to travel there. Plus you can map it to see how to get there.
Lars homestead interior
Lat/Long coordinates 33.54253,9.967341
For true Star Wars fans, this is the main attraction. Any fan would absolutely love to see the interior of the Lar’s homestead, but when they find out they can actually sleep there, they are happy as can be. The hotel, Sidi Driss, caters to fans by offering a Star Wars inspired menu, as well as a good selection of memorabilia from the movies.
Anakin Skywalker’s home
Lat/Long coordinates 33.347272,10.492051
Tunisia is not a densly populated place, and there are only a few large cities. One of these cities is Medenine, which is considered the largest town in the southeastern region of Tunisia. Another granary, Ksar Madenine, was used in the Star Was films as Anakin Skywalker’s home.
Ksar ouled soltane
Lat/Long coordinates 32.788361,10.514989
If you’re wondering why the name Tataouine sounds so familiar, it’s because that’s where the fictional planet Tatooine got its namesake from! Although the town name played a key role in the movie, no shots were actually filmed there. Several shots were filmed in the surrounding areas/outskirts of the town, however. The main scene was from Episode I and featured a background shot of the local Ghorfa (grain storage building) located in Ksar Ouled Soltane, used in the movie as the Slave Quarters.
Located north west of Chott el-Djerid, Tozeur is a Tunisian oasis. This beautiful city is well shaded with thousands of palm trees, and is a popular tourist attraction. Within walking distance from the Sahara desert, Toezeur was the perfect place to film many Star Wars movie scenes.
Lars Homestead Exterior
Lat/Long coordinates 33.842823, 7.779038
While not located directly in Toezeur, the site of the Lar’s Homestead is close enough to the city to make a day trip to. Specifically, the site is located at Chott El Jerid, which is part of the salt lake flats, that stretch 5,000 km through Tunisia and parts of Algeria. In this environment, Luke’s home sticks out like a sore thumb – an igloo in the middle of a salt flat. This location of Luke’s house was only used for the exterior shots. There is no underground house here, although the crew dug craters near the house, to give the impression that there is more to the site than meets the eye.
This site should ideally be visited in the evening. As the sun sets, you can view an unbelievable sunset, with the profile of the little igloo the only building in site. This igloo has a lot of meaning for Star Wars fans. It was used a lot in the original trilogy, and was then destroyed. However, the producers realized that they needed it to film the newer movies, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. In Attack of the Clones, the funeral for Shmi Skywalker was held at the little igloo near Toezeur, and in Revenge of the Sith, the igloo made an appearance in the very last scene of the film.
Lat/Long coordinates 33.994296,7.842677
Standing out like a sore thumb in the middle of the dessert is the set of Mos Espa. Many scenes in the Star Wars series were filmed at this location. The cool thing about this location is that almost everything has been left intact over the years. Most settings, like the Pod Racing area, the gates of Mos Espa, Watto’s shop, and many others, still contain many of the original props used in the movies. The Tunisian people have, for the most part, no knowledge of Star Wars, but they know that these locations keep the tourism money flowing, so they leave the sets intact.
If you remember the epic Jedi duel in episode I between Darth Maul and Qui-Gon Jin, you might recognize the mountains of sandstone located a few hundred meters from the set of Mos Espa. These protruding pieces of sandstone are called Yardangs, and are easily visible from most of the Mos Espa set.
Sith infiltrator landing site (Oung Jmel)
Lat/Long coordinates 34.015353,7.911444
Oung Jmel, better known to most as the Camel Head Rock, is located about 6km east of the set of Mos Espa. In the newer Star Wars movies, this setting was used to film Darth Maul arriving on Tatooine. This is where the Sith Probes were released, and it is also where the shot of Darth Maul flying over the cliffs in pursuit of Anakin and Qui-Gonn was filmed.
Lat/Long coordinates 34.033572,8.281771
Sidi Bouhel, otherwise known as the Juntland Wastes, is located 23km north-east of Tozeur. Amazingly, this canyon was used in 9 shots in the Star Wars movies. The same canyon has been used to film The English Patient and Raiders of the Lost Ark, as well, but Lucasfilm used it the most, unnofficially dubbing it “Star Wars Canyon”.
The canyon itself is beautiful, even if you’re not a Star Wars fan. It is a narrow gorge with 200 foot cliffs, and a dry river bed running down the middle, all the way from Jebel Krefane. The gorge is significant in the movies, as this is the location that Luke is attacked by Tusken Raiders, and is then saved by Obi-Wan, and introduced to him for the first time. At the front canyon entrance, you might notice a familiar setting: the Sandcrawler parking lot. And just a bit further outside the mouth of the canyon, you’ll recognize the location of the Jawa massacre, committed by Imperial Stormtroopers.
Djerba is an island in the Gulf of Gabes, off the coast of Tunisia. It is a popular tourist destination because of its sandy beaches, resorts, and beautiful hotels. It also boasts 2 Star Wars filming locations, both on the western side of Djerba.
Lat/Long coordinates 33.740833,10.734951
Making its first and only appearance in Episode IV, Ben’s Hermitage (the house of Obi-Wan Kenobi) is one of the attractions on Djerba. Today, the building is used as a storage facility for local fishermen.
Lat/Long coordinates 33.831411,10.747936
Located a few miles north of Ben’s Hermitage is the Tunisian temple, Sidi Jemour. In the Star Wars movies, this buildingwas seen as Toshi Station in Anchorhead. The only shot of this building happens when a Landspeeder heads into Anchorhead, en route for Mos Eisley.
As a nation, Tunisia is a beautiful place. Though it appeals to Star Wars fans in a special way, there is plenty to see here for anyone, even if you don’t like the movies. One of the best ways to explore Tunisia is to simply rent a car and start driving in a chosen direction. If you’re looking for an affordable, fun vacation, consider Tunisia today!