Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Star Wars Fans the World Over, Come to Tunisia

Matmata, Tunisia
So, have you ever been to Tunisia?  If so, I bet it didn't look quite like this.


  It may have looked more like this.  But, like I always say, get away from the tourism.  Get out of Tunis and go to Tatooine.  This is where Luke Skywalker was from in Star Wars.  The picture above is of the set of his old home in Star Wars IV, A New Beginning.
And that's not all.  Luke Skywalker's homestead has been lovingly restored and turned into a hotel, called the Hotel Sidi Driss.  It's not the five star accommodations that you'd think would be linked to one of Hollywood's most iconic movie series.  It's the real thing.  It's the kind of accommodations that were used by the Berbers centuries ago during wartimes.  These rooms are caves.

This is some authenticity that you won't find anywhere else.  There are many well preserved sites that were used in Star Wars in Matmata, the town that hosted the movie moguls in the seventies and again for Episode One.

This is the igloo that represents the outside of Luke's home.  It's only recently been refurbished for tourists to check out.

This is Chott El-Gharsa where Qui-Gonn and Daurth Maul first battled on Tatooine.  


And this is Anakin's slave house set at Mos Espa which was also where the pod racing arena was located.
The area of Matmata is overrun with Star Wars sets.  It has everything that a true fan is looking for.  There are small restaurants, a hotel, and great memorabilia from the movies.  You never know what you're going to run across though.  Ewan McGregor once stopped by while filming Long Way Down with his best friend and hero of mine, Charley Boorman.  Strangely enough, he claimed that no one recognized him.  I thought it was kind of funny that Obi Wan Kenobi stopped by and no one noticed.
So, in a beautiful country that is most well known for having it's government overthrown last year, there is something truly unusual to see.
Tunisia is a country full of Egyptian and Roman ruins.  It snaps back and forth between modern and ancient.  It's a deeply religious Muslim country that currently is somewhat in flux.  It has Mediterranean seaside resorts and bustling cities.  But one thing that you can do in Tunisia that you can't do anywhere else is go to Luke Skywalker's house and sleep in a cave.  If you really love Star Wars, you can't miss this. 

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