By Gus Lopez
Photography by Gus Lopez

The sign welcomes visitors to Tataouine, and you feel like you're stepping into a planet in the Star Wars universe. Tataouine is both a city and a region of Tunisia. Although the name of this city was obviously borrowed to name Luke Skywalker's home world, no actual filming occurred in this city. However, it does make an excellent place to photograph oneself entering "Tatooine".

Location: Tataouine, Tunisia
Directions: All roads leads to Tataouine as it's a central hub in the middle of Tunisia.

When Pam and I first arrived in Tataouine, we wondered how the locals pronounced the name, considering that their spelling of the town has every vowel in the alphabet unlike the spelling for Luke's homeworld. Much to our surprise, we found out that the locals pronounce it Tatooine just as Luke Skywalker did at the end of the Empire Strikes Back (ironically, the only Star Wars movie in the original trilogy where Tatooine is mentioned is the one movie that has no events on that planet).

In this photo, Pam posed by a Tataouine distance marker when we were 16 kilometers outside the city. Tataouine makes an excellent base for visiting some of the Star Wars movie sites as it's close to Matmata, Ksar Hadada, and the island of Jerba. On our trip, we used the city as a convenient spot to mail postcards so that the cards would arrive with the postmark "Tataouine".

For symmetry purposes, the town of Tataouine bids visitors farewell similar to the welcome sign. Interestingly enough, Tataouine is one of the very few places in Tunisia with signs in French, Arabic, and English. Almost all signs in Tunisia are exclusively in Arabic and French.

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