It’s less than four short months until summer, and what better way to pass the last couple weeks of winter than by planning your dream vacation to Tatooine! While the Outer Rim is only a figment of the Bearded One’s imagination, Tatooine is actually much closer than you think – an adventure playground of sun-scorched mesas, eroded seas, barren canyons, sculptural standing stones, and extinguished geysers. Podrace down Beggar’s Canyon, hit the markets at Mos Espa (and haggle with the Jawa shop-owners), discover Mos Eisley’s nightlife, tour Jabba’s palace, ride the rugged terrain by Bantha, and explore the ruins at Anchorhead. Accommodations can be made at the Lars homestead, where you’ll enjoy the cozy ambiance, home-cooked meals (with fresh blue milk), and a complementary droid cleaning. Dig in and watch the twin suns dip down past the horizon.
Mos Espa. Photo credit: Srdjan Djordjevic
Doesn’t that sound like the trip of a lifetime? While Tatooine, the homeworld of Luke Skywalker, is a fictional planet that we’ll never visit, Tunisia is real. Los Apos has a great job tracking down all the original sets used in the Star Wars films, many of which are in surprisingly good condition. The site has even retrieved the coordinates for each structure, revealing the planet’s (or Lucas’) haphazard urban planning and the desolate landscape that envelopes the Lars ranch. The interior of Luke’s boyhood home has in fact been converted into a hotel, where you can inspect the realities of moisture farming up close and even stay in Luke’s bedroom – no word on the blue milk, unfortunately.
Ben’s hermitage is located just off the coast and near Ajim, a port city that was, in part, transformed in 1976 to serve as the background of the Mos Eisley scene from the original film. The actual house is currently used for storage by local fishermen. Toshi Station, a grander structure, seems to be in a similar state, stationed on the banks of the sea.
The Lars Homestead, interior/ Hotel Sidi Driss. Photo credit: Jean-Marc Matthey
Ben’s home. Photo credit: Hoylen Sue
Toshi Station in Anchorhead. Photo credit: eckart1
Mos Espa. Photo credit: maciekke
Much of the Mos Espa sets, used for the filming of Episode I, stand in excellent condition, despite being relatively neglected. Few tourists make it out this far, so much so that you can have the place to yourself, says Los Apos. Here you’ll find what’s left of Watto’s shop and the site of Qui-Gon Jinn’s first duel with Darth Maul.
Ksar Ouled Soltane at Tataouine. Photo credit: Michael
Ksar Medenine/ Skywalker Alley. Photo credit: Bernard Gagnon
Medenine is a major town in Southeaster Tunisia and was once an important trading junction, not to mention the site of Rommel’s last stand in Africa. The Ksar Medenine, a series of ancient granaries, are the town’s main tourist draw and doubled as the exterior of Anakin Skywalker’s home. To the south of Medenine is Tataouine, which, of course, provided Lucas with the name for the land of Skywalker. Save for the Ksar Ouled Soltane, expressionist granary structures which were used sparingly in Episode I, most of the film’s scenes here were shot just outside the town.
Jundland Wastes, where Luke is attacked by Tusken Raiders. Photo credit: Roger Noguera Arnau
The Jundland Wastes has been witness to some of cinema’s greatest moments. Lucasfilm named the site “Star Wars Canyon” and used it as the backdrop for the original Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Here is where Luke was attacked by Tusken Raiders and where he first encounters Ben (Obi-wan Kenobi), a meeting that would change the course of the teenage farm boy’s future forever.