Pining for a holiday that combines your love of adventure, new cultures and Star Wars? Tunisia is likely the only place on earth that fits the bill! In the midst of the Tunisian deserts, you’ll also find the film sets for Tatooine, the home planet of Anakin and Luke Skywalker.
You can find film locations for George Lucas’ work all over the world. Parts of the two trilogies were filmed in the USA, Italy, Spain, England, Norway, Guatemala, China and even Switzerland. But one of the most important places of pilgrimage for die-hard Star Wars fans lie in the deserts of Tunisia.
The village of Tataouine is located south-east of Tozeur and was used not only as the film location for Star Wars: Episode 1, but the planet in the movie was also named after this place. There are day tours available to Tataouine from coastal seaside resorts along the Tunisian coast and also from Djerba.
The Desert Menace
Just like other famous film locations, once the cast and crew depart the places are left almost like a shell unless someone steps in to preserve the sets and props. Just think of what New Zealand’s tourism board did with The Shire in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films. Unfortunately for Tatooine, the Sahara Desert is a force to reckon with and if Tunisia doesn’t step up, this place could be drowned in sand in no time.
Luckily for fans, the Tunisian government asked for the lavish set for Anakin’s hometown, Mos Espa, to remain intact after the film crews went home. Today a set of 20 buildings stand, covering an area of around 10,000 square metres. While the set has withstood the desert for a decade already, the sand dunes are quickly moving closer and closer to the site, at a rate of 4cm per day.
If you want to see this place before the Sahara swallows it up, you’d better add Tunisia to your travel bucket list!
Find a complete list of film locations in Tunisia over on Wikipedia.