Cities where Star wars was filmed
In this article, I will introduce you to all the Star Wars shooting locations in Tunisia. Places that I had the chance to visit during my tours and my work as a travel guide.
Star Wars Shooting locations in Djerba
Although many ignore it, the island of Djerba has 3 Star Wars filming locations as follows:
1- 1. Ajim (Mos Eisley – Episode IV)
Ajim is a town of fishermen par excellence. Located in the southwest of the island of Djerba, this city was chosen by Lucasfilm to shoot some scenes of Mos Eiseley between April 2nd and 4th, 1976.
George Lucas’ team changed a few streets to film the scenes with Ben Kenobi, Luke, the droids and the stormtroopers:
– control by stormtroopers
– the Cantina de Chalmun
– the flight of the Millennium Falcon with the beard of stormtroopers
Discover these places in detail below
- “Stormtrooper checkpoint”:
In an alley that is difficult to find without the help of a GPS in the heart of Ajim town, the Lucasfilm team changed the scenery to film the scene where the stormtroopers were controlling Luke and Ben.
“These aren’t those droids you’re looking for.”
Stormtrooper checkpoint GPS point
- Chalmun Cantina:
Not far from Stormtrooper checkpoint, George Lucas’ team chose an old bakery to create Chalmun’s canteen.
This place was visited not long ago by the famous Invader where he left his signature.
Chalmun Cantina GPS point
- The flight of the Millennium Falcon:
The alley is located a few blocks south of the stormtrooper checkpoint and is quite difficult to find, but more easily recognizable.
The flight of the Millennium Falcon GPS point
2. Ajim (Old Ben’s Hermitage – House of Ben – Episode IV)
3 km north of Ajim, on the coastal road leading to Sidi Jemour, is the old fisherman’s house which was used to film, in April 1976, the house of Ben Kenobi during his exile on Tatooine. It has become a high place of “pilgrimage”, and is therefore regularly maintained.
Note that since the Special Edition of the Trilogy in 1997, the original house has been replaced in the film by a shot of a miniature and a digital painting, radically changing its appearance …
Old Ben's Hermitage GPS point
3. Sidi Jemour (Anchorhead, Mos Eisley – Episode IV)
A dozen kilometers north of Ajim, On the road that leads to the airport and to the beach called Sidi Jmour.
Even without wanting to visit the Star Wars sets, this rugged coastline of the island is definitely worth a visit!.
2 scenes from Episode IV were filmed there in April 1976:
– A cut scene outside Anchorhead
– The arrival scene of Luke and Ben in speeder at Mos Eisley
Anchorhead ("Toshi station") GPS point
– Anchorhead (“Toshi station”):
This cut scene is actually made up of 2: the one at Toshi station, and the one between Luke and Biggs. You can find them here.
– Arrival at Mos Eisley:
Right next to the Sidi Jmour mosque and always in front of the sea, you will find this old Marabout who was used for the filming of the arrival at Mos Eisley!
Star Wars Shooting locations in Medenine
Ksar Medenine (Mos Espa – Episode I)
Medenine is located about fifty km northeast of Tataouine, and of equivalent importance, just as touristy, although more industrialized.
The Ksar Medenine is located in the city, precisely on the Avenue du 7 novembre, and, like the Ksar Hadada, it served as the backdrop for the slave quarters of Mos Espa.
2 main scenes were filmed in Ksar Medenine (Episide 1 The Phantom Menace).
– The 1st is when Anakin Skywalker leads his new friends to his home in the sand storm.
– The 2nd is when Anakin runs back to his mother, just before he goes with Qui-Gon Jinn, both on the same location
Anchorhead ("Toshi station") GPS point
Star Wars Shooting locations in Tataouine
– Ksar Ouled Soltane (Mos Espa – Episode I)
One of the most beautiful Ksours in Tataouine and the perfect place to watch a sunset. This Ksar is located on the road that leads from Tataouine center to Maztouria.
Like that of Medenine and the Ksar Hadada, Ksar ouled Soltane served as a slave quarter in Mos Espa. The scenes were taken in August 1997
Ksar Ouled Soltane on Google Map
– Ksar Hadada (Mos Espa – Episode I)
This Ksar is the most famous in all of southern Tunisia for two reasons! Firstly it is a Star Wars filming location and secondly it is a regular passage for visitors who make the Tataouine-Chenini excursion from Djerba.
Like Le Ksar Medenine and Ksar Ouled Soltane, Ksar Hadada served in the filming of the Slave Quarter in Mos Espa The Phantom Menace in July 1997.
(scene where Qui-Gon contacts Obi-Wan via comlink, and scene with Shmi “He has no father …”).
Ksar Hadada on Google Map
Star Wars Shooting locations in Matmata
Hotel Sidi Driss, Matmata (Lars Farm – Episodes II and IV)
This troglodyte hotel is above all an architectural masterpiece which reflects the architecture and history of Matmata and its Berber inhabitants!
This location was chosen by George Lucas to film the interior scenes of Lars’ farm (1976 for Episode I and 2000 for Episode II).
The Sidi Idriss hotel is nowadays considered a place of pilgrimage for Star Wars fans wishing to spend the night there!
Once there, you have the opportunity to eat at the same table as in the photos below!
Sidi Idriss Hotel on Google Map
Star Wars Shooting locations in Tozeur
SIDI BOUHLEL CANYON (“Star Wars Canyon” – Episodes I and IV)
Coordinates: 34 ° 01’56 “N, 8 ° 16’58” E
– Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
– The English Patient (1996)
About 40 km north-east of Nefta, after Tozeur, is the village of Dakas. And 2 km north-east of this village, accessible by a road, is the marabout (or mosque) of Sidi Bouhlel, this one located at the southern end of the “Star Wars Canyon”, where several scenes mainly from Episode IV for the Jundland desert (filming in March 1976), as well as some passages from the pod race of Episode I.
Episode IV: Jundland Desert
– R2-D2 is captured by the Jawas
– Luke and C-3PO find R2-D2, and are attacked by the Tuskens, then rescued by Ben
– Luke and Ben discover the sandcrawler and the Jawas slain by the Imperials
– Luke and Ben observe Mos Eisley in the distance
Episode I: The Tuskens Shoot The Pod Race Competitors
Appendix: Indiana Jones Raiders of the Lost Ark: all scenes of the film supposed to be in Egypt having actually been shot in Tunisia (for example: Cairo was filmed in Kairouan, and Tanis a short distance from the canyon) , the same goes for the scene where Indy threatens Belloq to blow up the Ark, shot in Star Wars Canyon:
Chott el-Gharsa (Various locations – Episodes I and II)
Chott el-Gharsa is located north of Chott el-Jerid, and like it, is a saline plain, which has the particularity of presenting the lowest altitude in Tunisia, 17 meters below sea level.
On its southern edge, and in an almost straight line north of Nefta, there are 3 filming locations for Episode I, a short distance from each other (2 or 3 km in total). Filming took place there from July 28 to August 7, 1997.
Mos Espa (Episode I and II):
Coordinates: 33 ° 59’39 “N, 7 ° 50’33” E
The most easily visible site, and certainly the most attractive, is the reconstruction, in the middle of the desert, of buildings, which create an entire district of Mos Espa. The sets were created by Lucasfilm for the filming of Episode I, in July 1997 (notably the wanderings of Qui-Gon and his troop in the streets and in the Mos Espa market), and reused for Episode II ( Ani’s visit to Watoo). And at the request of the Tunisian tourist office, they were left as they are, for tourist purposes. A road leads there easily from Nefta.
Yardang Field (Episode I)
Coordinates: 33 ° 59’39 “N, 7 ° 51’00” E
In the immediate vicinity of the scenery above, is the “Yardang Field”, literally “field of yardangs”, a yardang being a rocky ridge created by the erosion of the wind in the desert environments.
This is where Queen Amidala’s ship landing on Tatooine was filmed in Episode I, along with all the scenes around the ship (including the Maul / Qui-Gon duel).
Oung Jmel / Camel Rock (Episode I)
Coordinates: 34 ° 00’51 “N, 7 ° 53’39” E
2 or 3 km north-east of the higher scenery, is a rock famous in Tunisia, for its shape giving the illusion of the silhouette of a camel (“Oung Jmel” translating roughly into “neck of the camel”).
Episode I stopped over there to locate Darth Maul’s landing site on Tatooine just across the road, and a short clip of the pod race also passed just past the boulder.
Great Dune (Sea of Sand – Episode IV)
Coordinates: 33 ° 52 ‘N, 7 ° 45’ E
Further north of the igloo, and north of the Algeria -> Nefta road, where the Sahara begins, is an imposing dune, the “Great Dune”, where were filmed:
– the scene of the crash of the capsule of R2-D2 and C-3PO, in the “Sea of Sands” of Tatooine, in Episode IV
– the scene where C-3PO walks past a Krayt dragon skeleton
– the scene where the stormtroopers find the capsule there (scene which was then extended with shots shot in the Yuma desert)
Filming took place there in March 1976.
Star Wars Shooting locations in Nefta
Nefta, Chott el-Jerid ( Lars Farm – Episodes II, III and IV)
Coordinates: 33 ° 50’33 “N, 7 ° 46’44” E
The Chott el-Jerid is a large saline plain (about 5,000 km²), located roughly in the center of Tunisia.
The city of Nefta is located at the northwestern limit of Chott el-Jerid, about twenty km from Tozeur and its airport. It is an oasis-city of around 20,000 inhabitants, strongly religious and having hosted several film shoots, including The English Patient and Star Wars.
About 26 km from Nefta, by the road leading to Algeria, and about 1 km from this same road, literally in the middle of nowhere, is in fact the place where the exterior scenes of the Lars farm were filmed, for Episodes II, III and IV. The interior scenes were shot at the Hotel Sidi Driss, in Matmata, about 300 km away, see above.
All the sets used for the filming of Episode IV, from March 22 to 31, 1976, having been destroyed, they had to be reconstructed identically for the filming of Episode II, from September 7 to 10, 2000. The site has since remained as it is, but is starting to deteriorate, which has caused, just like for the Cantina de Chalmun, an international movement to save it (still in progress at the beginning of 2012).
This is undoubtedly the main element of the decor: it simulates the entrance to the surface of the Lars farm, and has almost become a symbol of Star Wars, and in any case of Tatooine. It was originally built in 1976, then rebuilt in 2000, identically and in the same location. It is only a “hollow” decoration: there is nothing inside and it leads nowhere.
Located behind the igloo, there is not much left, except the outline, and a few pieces that formed the “roof” …
There are 3: a large, a small (the closest to hydroponic gardens), and a 3rd which has completely disappeared. They represented the interior courtyards of the Lars farm (courtyards filmed elsewhere, see Matmata), the largest of which is the one over which Luke leans when his aunt calls him, and at the edge of which he admires the twin suns. Today only the outlines remain …
Nothing remains today, except their imprints where they were located.
The graves, including that of Shmi:
They are located about 150 meters north of the igloo, and there too are only the footprints.