Ksar Ouled Soltane - Atlas Obscura

Ksar Ouled Soltane

Tataouine, Tunisia

A 15th-century granary that played the role of futuristic slave quarters in the world of 'Star Wars.' 

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Atop a gentle, sandy hill is the oval fortification of Ksar Ouled Soltane. Rounded, protected structures built completely of cracked, dry mud face the center of the castle-like granary, while steep outdoor staircases give the area the appearance of another world entirely.

Ksar Ouled Soltane looks so otherworldly, George Lucas chose southern Tunisia for filming four of the six Star Wars films. Fans will undoubtedly recognize Ksar Ouled as the slave quarters where Anakin and his mother lived in The Phantom Menace. Even more surprising for fans of Lucas’ films, is that the area of Tunisia is actually called Tataouine, styled as Tatooine for the films.

Before Star Wars put Ksar Ouled Soltane on the tourist map in North Africa, the windswept buildings stood in relative isolation. Constructed by Amazigh people, the ghorfas, or stacked grain-holding buildings have survived the hot climate since the 15th century. Although they have now been abandoned for many years, the Ksar was built for protection from raids, and designed to remain cool during arid weather near the Sahara Desert.

The entire complex can be toured and explored on a visit to Tataouine. For the nerdier visitors, complete Star Wars tours of Southern Tunisia are offered by many locals.

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Accessible from Tataouine by taxi

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