If only George Lucas knew the exact coordinates of the planet Tatooine, which plays a key role in one of his most famous films, part of the Star Wars saga, then each of us could “visit” the home planet of the legendary Jedi Luke Skywalker! Well, you don’t have to travel trough galaxies at hyperspeed – you can just take a trip to Tunisia and tour the Sahara Desert, where you can see much of the scenery from the movies Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) and Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999).
Many of the sets are well-preserved and open to visitors who will recognize them as various iconic scenes from the films, including Lars’ home, where Luke Skywalker grew up, and the spaceport where Anakin Skywalker lived before it was discovered by Qui-Gon Jin, as well as many other landscapes that appear in various scenes from the movies.
The Berber town of Mamata has several underground troglodyte dwellings, one of which is included in Episode IV – A New Hope as the home of Lars, where Luke was raised by his aunt and uncle. There are several rooms in which the local barbers still live up to today.
The desert town of Tozeur is another great destination with many sets from the movies, located relatively close to each other. The oasis of Sidi Bouhlel appears in several scenes from the original Episode IV – A New Hope, including the abduction of R2-D2 by Jaba dealers and their wrecked vehicle after the Imperial assault and the attack on Luke in the desert.
You’ll also recognize the area’s dramatic desert ridges (known as the Yardangs) as the backdrop to the match between Qui-Gon Jin and Darth Maul in Episode I – The Phantom Menace. To the west of the Yardangs is the abandoned Mos Espa complex, where Lucas’ team is building much of the spaceport which again is part of the same film. The desert sands seem to have encroached on the movie set, giving it an eerie atmosphere of an abandoned city, but landmarks such as Wato’s shop, Sebulba’s cafe and the battling arena where little Anakin won his freedom are still clearly visible.
Personally, as a person who grew up with these movies, I can’t describe to you what it feels like to walk among the places where your favorite characters from the screen were filmed! It’s as if you’re part of the movie, as if at any moment you’ll see Luke jumping out of somewhere or you’ll just hear that impactful music they play in the background of several suns and moons in one place!
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