Lars Homestead is one in a series of Tunisian relics from a galaxy far, far away. The unassuming structure is the original movie-set for the home of hero Luke Skywalker, the main protagonist in both the original Star Wars movie trilogy and later episodes of the popular series.
Located just outside the town of Naftah (Nefta) in the Eastern part of the country, the small dome represents the entrance to a below-ground-level home. First constructed in 1976 when the film crew for Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope arrived in Tunisia, after serving its purpose Lars Homestead was left to decay in the middle of the desert.
Just like the Star Wars movies, the saga of Lars Homestead seems to never end. In the year 2000, after decades of abandonment, the iconic home was reconstructed for the latest installment of series, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones. After filming concluded, once again the homestead was left to the whims of this unforgiving environment. Several years later, the dome was given an unexpected new lease on life and sympathetically restored, this time by a dedicated group of international Star Wars movie enthusiasts.
It’s incredible that a relatively flimsy film set from 1976 has lasted this long, especially here. After all, Lars Homestead was created to be a temporary set, and permanence was not part of the original design brief. However, although Lars Homestead may be extant, it continues to suffer from both the unrelenting Saharan climate, and due to the remote location, neglect.
Unknown to many fans of the Star Wars series, the movie directors must plead guilty to deceiving the movie-goers. Most would naturally assume that both the entrance to Lars Homestead and the internal below-ground courtyard of the same house, are one structure. In reality, with the help of a little Hollywood magic, the inner courtyard of Lars Homestead was created and filmed around 160 miles away from this domed entrance, inside what is now the real-life Hotel Sidi Idris.
Know Before You Go
Lars Homestead is located in a fairly remote part of the world, in a pretty harsh environment, and it’s recommended to have a guide and/or a 4x4 vehicle. Exit the town of Naftah in the direction of Algerian border, head down the main road for about six miles (10 kilometers), and at some point of your choosing, you will need to travel off-road and into the desert (heading approximately southeast from the road).
Just a little farther away, but not quite in another galaxy, is another must-see for both Star Wars buffs and Tunisia explorers in general: the abandoned space-port named Mos Espa. Bring plenty of water inside a sturdy four-wheel drive, head across the Sahara desert, and you’re there.