Chott el Jerid

The Lars Family Homestead: Exteriors

By Pamela Green
Photography by Pamela Green and Gus Lopez

West of the oasis town of Nefta, on the road to Algeria, there is a little-used turnoff that leads past a tourist stand, and along a salt flat. Follow this unremarked dirt road out to the location of perhaps the most memorable scenes in all of Star Wars: ANH.

Location: 33° 50' 35" N, 7° 46' 44" E (using Magellan GPS Pioneer)
Directions: If you start from Tozeur, head west towards Nefta. The turnoff is 11.8 kilometers west of the Nefta arch. Turn left. The road leads first south, past a Berber souvenir and camel stand, and then veers to the west, towards Algeria. Since you're driving across a salt flat, be aware that conditions can be quite bad during the rainy season.

Yes, it's just a hole in the ground, but what a hole in the ground! All of the buildings and set decorations are gone, but these craters served as the exterior location for Owen and Beru's house in Star Wars: ANH. This is the location where we first "meet" Luke Skywalker ("Luke! Lu-uke!") The place we later see him dejectedly kick a rock, and then stare up into the twin suns as the music swells ("Da-dum-dum, da-da dum-dum....").

You can't be a Star Wars fan, stand here, and not be affected. (Gus couldn't resist the urge to look up into the twin suns, as you can see from this photo.)

This Star Wars Galaxy card captures an image from one of the most symbolic and powerful moments in the entire Star Wars saga...

As you can see, the rims are still pretty much intact.

We were kind of debating whether the craters might be some kind of natural phenomenon. I suspect Lucas's film crew just excavated 'em, and left them as is when they were done, but my doctorate is in psychology, not "Strange Desert Phenomena," so I don't really have a clue.

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