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Chott el Jerid: Misc



Up to date as of February 04, 2010

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Chott el Jerid



First seen in

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope


33°50′35″N, 07°46′44″E (estimated)

"Uh, I'm quite sure you'll be very pleased with that one, sir. He really is in first-class condition. I've worked with him before."

Chott El Jerid (arabic:شط الجريد) is a dry salt lake in south-west Tunisia.

The salt flats were used for the exterior of the Lars' homestead on Tatooine. The interior was filmed in Sidi Driss Hotel, which is located in Matmata, 300 kilometers away.

The sets from the original movie - which had been taken down - were rebuilt in 2000 to the exact specifications from the original plans. The man-made craters are still there. Lucasfilm and crew returned here to shoot the dramatic Tatooine sequences for Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.

The location is a bit hard to find. From Nefta, take the road to Algeria (but do not enter!). Look for the 26 kilometer marker. If the weather permits, you should even be able to see the set from the main road. It’s only about 900 meters from the marker. However, be mindful of the trails you follow to get there. The surface may be difficult, especially when it has rained. A four-wheel drive shouldn’t have a problem, though. When you drive up to the set, you’ll get a rather eerie feeling, as it is only a small set, but so very pivotal in the saga. And there it is, in the middle of nowhere…


The Igloo

The most prominent structure there is the entrance to the Lars Homestead (of which the interior is the hotel Sidi Driss in Matmata, about 300 kilometers away). It looks a lot like an eskimo dwelling. Hence the nickname it has been given: the igloo.

It’s a new construction, built in 2000, on the exact same spot and with attention to details insofar as recreating the very same building as 30 years ago. Lucas and crew could have built it somewhere else – they had the whole desert at their disposal – but came back here to recreate it completely, knowing that fans demanded it and had a right to it.

The stairs leading down into the homestead lead nowhere in reality, they just go inside the Igloo. There is nothing to see on the inside, except the raw material that was used to build the place : chicken wire, plaster and wood.

The Hydroponics Garden

Behind the Igloo is the Hydroponics Garden – the place where the natives grow fruits and vegetables. Nothing much is left of it as the boards that formed the roof of the structure have been stripped by the locals. The alien look is created by a wooden circle, pieces of latex on the side and some plumbing cut in small pieces. The latex is deteriorating fast and has come off at certain sections.

The Sunset Craters

There are three craters. A large one, a smaller one close to the hydroponics garden and a third one that has almost eroded completely and isn’t even featured in the movies. There is nothing mysterious about these craters. They were man-made in 1976, and they were dug out again in 2000.

They represent the pit into which Luke looks down to address his Aunt’s call to find a droid that speaks Bocce.

John Williams's score makes your heart skip a beat when Luke, longing for adventure, stares into the twin suns as they start to set over the horizon.

The Vaporators

None of the moisture vaporators are still there (although there are some left at the Mos Espa set – see further), but you can still see some indentation in the sand of where they were.

You can even walk quite a bit of distance from the Igloo and come across yet another imprint in the salty flat. Even though it rains here from time to time and the site is often the victim of a horrendous sandstorm, the imprints were still very recognizable when we were there. How long they will stay there is anyone’s guess.

The Gravestones

In Attack of the Clones, Anakin, Padmé and the Lars family bury Shmi at the Lars Homestead. There are three gravestones to be found, about 150 meters to the north of the Igloo.

The stones themselves are long gone (they were actually painted wood), but the indentations in the sand are clearly visible.


Shmi Skywalker's funeral in Attack of the Clones
The Lars homestead in Revenge of the Sith
The final shot of Revenge of the Sith
Jawas bringing robots for sale to the Lars homestead in A New Hope

External links

  • Star Wars Trip To Tatooine by Mark Dermul
  • The Star Wars Traveler by Gus Lopez and Pamela Gren
  • Loms Galactic Tours by Loms
  • Chott el Jerid on Wikipedia
  • Coordinates: 33°50′35″N, 07°46′44″E (estimated)
Filming locations
Ajim - Chott el Jerid - Djerba - Grand Dune - Hôtel Sidi Driss - Ksar Hadada - Ksar Medenine - Ksar Oueld Soltane - Oung Jmel - Sidi Bouhlel - Sidi Jemour - Tataouine
Caserta Palace - Ealing Studios - Elstree Studios - Finse - Grindelwald - Lake Como - Leavesden Studios - Mount Etna - Plaza de España - Shepperton Studios - Whippendell Woods
North America
Death Valley - Tikal - Yuma Desert
Asia and Australia
Fox Studios, Sydney - Guilin - Phuket

This article uses material from the "Chott el Jerid" article on the Starwars wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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