The Lars Family Homestead: Interiors

By Pamela Green
Photography by Pamela Green and Gus Lopez

Just a few kilometers southwest of Gabes is the mountain town of Matmata, home of distinctive underground dwellings of Les Troglodytes. Star Wars fans know that Matmata is also home of Sidi Driss, where the interiors of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru's house were filmed.

Location: 33° 32' 26" N, 9° 57' 59" E (using Magellan GPS Pioneer)
Directions: You'll probably find the easiest going to Matmata following the road southwest out of Gabes. This road will head you through New Matmata, where most of the residents of old Matmata are now located.

You start seeing hand-painted signs for Les Troglodytes many miles before you hit the secluded mountain town of Matmata. Matmata's claim to fame (not to mention tourist bucks) is a distinctive style of underground dwelling.

Location scouts for ANH obviously noted the otherworldly look of the place. Although the 'vaporators are now gone, Hotel Sidi Driss, the location used for interiors of the Lars family homestead, still looks more like something you'd find on the planet Tatooine than on planet earth.

Here's a behind the scenes look at the filming in Matmata.

Gus couldn't resist the chance to pose on the stairs Luke Skywalker also climbed so many years ago. To the left you can see the hotel manager and a hopeful "tour guide" hanging around the hotel entrance. One of the many hazards of touring Tunisia are the hoards of dubious-looking fellows who hang around tourist spots, museums, and the like, intent on being hired as a guide. They are kind of like the "Are you satisfied with your long distance company?" guys of Tunisia.

The stairs actually run up over Sidi Driss's kitchen. While Hotel Sidi Driss can not be said to possess the most inviting accommodations (see my remarks on Ksar Hadada for my opinions vis a vis spending the night in a cave), but it does boast a farily decent restaurant. Gus and I would later take advantage of this fact.

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