Star Wars movie sets in and around Matmata and Tunisia
Matmata is an extraordinary site to visit, so much so that is was used as the scenery for several of the Star Wars movies. Not many people know that Tunisia is the home of Luke Skywalker : many of the desert scenes of the Star War movies Phantom Menace and the Attack of the Clone and the original Star Wars were filmed in Tunisia. The desert dwellings in the ground were in fact the Tunisians Troglodyte homes in the Village if Matmata. For all the Star Wars fans remembering the Pod race in desert, they conjure up images of deserts and cliffs.
Matmata Troglodyte houses
When approaching Matmata it is easy to overlook the buzzing life that lies just underneath the surface of the earth. If you lived in one of Matmata’s troglodyte homes, adding a new room to your home would be as simple as digging out the soft stone to create another room in your pit. Pardon me….your pit??! That’s right, Matmata troglodyte homes are open circular pits dug 6 meters (18 feet) deep down into the desert rock to provide shelter from the desert wind and sun. Matmata’s troglodyte rooms are carved according to the dwellers needs and are tunneled out from the sides. The origin of these troglodyte homes is known to date as far back as the first century BC. While visiting a troglodyte home you’ll feel the temperature cool with each step that you descend. At the bottom a wizened Berber woman with faded facial tattoos will proudly welcome you to the troglodyte home that her family has lived in for centuries as a guide provides explanations of daily life underground.
Feeling a little alien in this environment? Star Wars enthusiasts of all ages will be ecstatic to visit the troglodyte location where the intergalactic café scene of “The Empire Strikes Back’ was filmed !
Three hotels have been constructed in these underground homes. Bear in mind that they offer more of a unique tourist experience than luxury Tunisian accommodation. Thinking of hailing a taxi? You'll soon discover that many visitors to Matmata consider camels to be the preferred method of transport around Matmata.