The Sandcrawler

By Gus Lopez
Photography by Gus Lopez

Although Episodes I and IV of the Star Wars saga were filmed extensively in Tunisia, none of the filming occurred in or around Tunis. However, there is one distinctive building in the Tunis skyline that has a clear Star Wars connection. The resemblance between this building and the Jawa Sandcrawler vehicle is too much to be a coincidence.

Location: Tunis, Tunisia
Directions: It's hard to miss this building if you're in downtown Tunis. Walking west on Avenue Bouguiba, you'll see the building to the north along Avenue Mohamed V, near the tourist office. The Sandcrawler is on rue Sinbad which runs east from Avenue Mohamed V.

This building almost certainly inspired the design for the Jawa sandcrawler in Star Wars. The color, the angles, and the fact that it's situated in Tunisia indicate that this building had a strong influence. An interesting aspect of the sandcrawler is that there are no right angles, giving the appearance an almost dissonant or unsettling feeling.

This sandcrawler building in Tunis is actual a hotel called Hotel du Lac. It's a luxury hotel that is well-positioned for visiting Tunis or taking the train out to Carthage and Sidi Bou Said. The phone number for Hotel du Lacis 01/258322.

The caption on this photograph reads, "In the heart of Tunis, the soaring futuristic architecture of the Hotel du Lac looks like it's upside down, with rooms at the end of the building hanging in space."

This image was sent to us by alert reader Andrew Myers. The clipping is from his scrapbook--from 1976! Andrew says the article appeared in a Melbourne paper, and impressed him so, even though he hadn't seen Star Wars yet, he cut it out and kept it. Andrew comments, "Actually looking at it now, I can see some differences with your pictures. Maybe its been extended since then." Many thanks, Andrew!

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