The fictional planet of Tatooine features in all but one of the Star Wars films but the real life filming location of Tataouine in Tunisia will disappear forever in the next few years!
Many key Star Wars scenes were filmed in Tataouine, including Luke Skywalker growing up and the scene where Anakin pod raced. Located in the southeast of the country, Tatooine is rapidly being swallowed by up by the Tunisian Desert. A vast sand dune is encroaching on the set, with only the set from The Phantom Menace remaining. Much of the rest of the set was swallowed up more than a decade ago.
More than 100,000 fans of George Lucas’ Star Wars visit Tataouine each year to catch a glimpse of the buildings which featured in the films. And as the massive dune gains by around 45 feet a year, it’s estimated that the set will completely disappear within five years – get there quick!
Explore the site of Ksar Ouled Soltane (pictured above), which draws travellers keen to see the well preserved vaults of the Berber ‘ksar’, aka granary, which featured in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. The Hotel Sidi Driss (pictured below) served as Luke Skywalker’s home on Tatooine and the set pieces can be seen within the walls. The traditional Berber building is an underground troglodyte structure located in the village of Matmata in Tunisia.
Time your visit for March in order to catch the annual Ksour Festival, aka ‘Festival international des ksour sahariens’ in French, which is held in Tataouine’s centuries old souk. The traditional festival attracts thousands of Berbers from all across North Africa and in authentic dress and playing traditional instruments, the event makes for quite a sight.
Image credit: 1; Ian Sewell CC ASA 3.0, 2; Acarvin CC ASA 2.5