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Star Wars hotel

It's been 30 years since Star Wars
came out, and I can't believe I've only just heard of ksars. These beautiful Tunisian buildings carved out of sandstone were once used as grain stores and now have a double life as hotels — plus, thanks to George Lucas, movie locations.

To devotees of the sci-fi franchise, the Sidi Driss Hotel in Matmata (pictured immediately above) is better known as the 'Star Wars hotel'. If it looks familiar, that's because Tunisia
doubled as the planet Tatooine, and these cavernous dwellings cut into the sandstone played Luke Skywalker's childhood home. Some of the movie decor was left behind when filming stopped, so it's not surprising to find out the hotel's a big draw for die-hard Star Wars fans. They've been coming there in such large numbers for so many years that, apparently, many locals have packed up and moved away.

Clearly George Lucas had a thing for ksars and ghurfas (the tubular rooms within them). Later on — or was that earlier on? I get confused — it was back to Tatooine for The Phantom Menace. In Medenine, 35 miles southeast of Matmata, the ksar (pictured above and top) was the location for young Anakin Skywalker's home. They definitely have an other-worldly quality. If anyone reading this has stayed in one, we'd love to know what it was like.

Images: top and bottom, with thanks to Star Wars tour guide
Mark Dermul

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  • Mark Dermul

    July 2, 2007

    I’ve just returned from a trip to Finse in Norway, scouting the filming locations of The Empire Strikes Back. Let me know if you want more info or simply visit and use whatever you see fit, just be so kind as to mention the source 🙂 Thanks.


  • felix

    March 24, 2007

    Thanks for posting this! I can’t believe I’ve never heard of this. 🙂

  • Heinz legler

    March 16, 2007

    Mark, thanks for your comment. If you have been to other interesting spots let us know and we are happy to show it here.
    Thanks Heinz

  • Mark Dermul

    March 14, 2007

    Obviously, I stayed at these place (3 times to be exact, 2001, 2003 and 2005) taking along a group of ‘Pioneers’ to tour the filming locations. The funny thing is, when you’ve only known these places from TV and video (and since recently, at last, DVD), it’s very strange to be actually standing there ‘for real’. It makes you wonder if you are not actually on another planet – and I’m not being overly sentimental, now. You actually have to stop yourself and think ‘no, no, Tatooine is a movie location and Tunisia is a real place in a real world.’ Even if you are not a Star Wars buff, you’ll still very much enjoy this place.

Any comments?