In addition to breathtaking desert landscapes, colorful markets and friendly people, Tunisia shines with a sight of a completely different kind: the original Star Wars movie sets!
Okay, for those of you who are wondering, „What the heck is Star Wars?“ – just click away. But for all those who are a bit nerdy at heart – just like us – stay tuned, because here you can find out everything about the still existing film sets of the famous space saga.
From 1977 to 1999, the small desert state served as a location for Star Wars several times. Especially scenes for the desert planet Tatooine were filmed in Tunisia. Clear – barren landscapes, sun, sand, salt and an endless sky. You immediately understand why George Lucas chose the south of Tunisia as the location for his space epic.
To explain briefly: the desert planet Tatooine from the Star Wars films is the home planet of Anakin and Luke Skywalker. And yes, the name „Tatooine“ actually comes from the similar sounding Tunisian city „Tataouine“.
Mos Espa aka. Ong Jamal – Nefta
The most visited, still preserved location of the space saga is „Ong Jamal“ near Nefta (Tozeur). The location served as the backdrop for the space town „Mos Espa“ in „Episode I – The Phantom Menace“ (1999). Mos Espa was the place of work and residence of the young Anakin Skywalker.
Mos Espa and its fantastic domed buildings have been lovingly restored in recent years and now attract many tourists again. Guests can stroll undisturbed through the winding streets and take a look behind the scenes. A really great experience for all Star Wars fans!
The entry to Mos Espa is (still) free. There are a few souvenir sellers at the entrance.
Mos Espa or Ong Jamal (that’s the Tunisian name of the place) can now be reached via a perfectly paved road from Nefta. The signage is good. Coordinates: 33.9935728, 7.8433659
Star Wars fans will also recognize the barren rocks around Ong Jamal. They served as the backdrop for Darth Maul’s light sword fight against Qui-Gon Jinn in „Episode I – The Phantom Menace“.
Lar’s Homestead – Nefta
Probably the most mysterious backdrop of the Star Wars saga! In the middle of a seemingly endless, flat salt lake lies the so-called „Lar’s Homestead“ (the „House of Lars“). The small, white dome house served as the outside backdrop for Luke Skywalker’s home in „Episode IV – A New Hope“ (1977). The desolate salt lake in which it is located was and still is the perfect backdrop. Especially at sunset, the place to be for all Star Wars fans!
Since it is a little off the beaten path and cannot be seen from the main street, it has often been avoided by visitors in the past. Unfortunately, this led to the dome building decaying over time. In 2012, a handful of fans from all over the world rebuilt it.
Lar’s Homestead is located about 10 km west of Nefta (not far from the Algerian border). After the Km24 boundary stone, turn left onto the salt lake (here is a large house/former restaurant). At the first junction to the right and then always „straight west“. Coordinates: N33 ° 50’34.163 “, E7 ° 46’44.537 “ Entry is free.
Warning: in bad weather, the surface of the salt lake can develop into a sticky, viscous sludge!
Ksar Ouled Soltane – Tataouine
The beautiful Ksar Ouled Soltane, near Tataouine, served as the location for „Episode I – The Phantom Menace“ in 1999. The many small chambers, strung together like honeycombs, were the backdrop for the slave quarters in which the young Anakin Skywalker lived with his mother. Here you can find out more about the wonderful Ksar Ouled Soltane, which is worth a visit not only for Star Wars fans!
The entry is (still) free. Coordinates: 32.7886306, 10.5153802
More Star Wars movie sets in Tunisia:
- The Ksar Hadada near Tataouine was also used as a movie set for scenes for the slave accommodations on Tatooine.
- The extraordinary cave hotel Sidi Driss in Matmata served as the interior backdrop for Luke Skywalker’s home in „Episode IV – A New Hope“. Today it is used as a hotel – unfortunately it has been restored rather kitschy.
- The Sidi Bouhlel Gorge north of Tozeur is now known as „Star Wars Canyon“ – this is where the fast pod race from „Episode I“ took place.
- The village of Ajim on the Tunisian island of Djerba served as the backdrop for the space city „Mos Eisley“. Chalmun’s Restaurant (where Luke Skywalker meets Han Solo for the first time in „Episode IV“) is actually a Bedouin bakery in Ajim. And Ben Kenobi’s house from „Episode IV“ is also here. However, it is not on a hill, as shown in the movie, but directly by the sea.