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Tunisian Troglodytes and Star Wars
Josh Ellis, 14 Dec 06
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According to a current piece on My San Antonio, there are still people living in the sets George Lucas abandoned after filming Star Wars in Tunisia in 1977 -- and they happen to offer relatively green living.

Sidi Driss used to be a real troglodyte house, and in the beginning of the '70s it was transformed into the hotel. When Lucas came to Tunisia to shoot the original "Star Wars," he came across the hotel and liked it so much, that not only did he sleep there; he also built additional "space" decorations inside the structure to shoot the necessary scenes. I received my first insight on the Sidi Driss' role in movie location history from an extremely excited American "Star Wars" fan, who was having dinner at the next table in the hotel's tiny canteen.
As the lady ate her vegetable couscous with Tunisian tuna salad on the side, she kept giving out essential information to her fellow pilgrims.
We couldn't help but overhear, and our guide was translating the "Star Wars" story into Arabic for the astonished local driver, who had no idea whatsoever about the legendary importance and exclusivity of this "last place on earth," the Tunisian "middle of nowhere."

Apparently, the city of Matmata, where Lucas filmed, are full of these underground dwellings, called Les Troglodytes by the locals. (Collection of photos here.

Besides looking very cool, these underground dwellings are ideally adapted to the heat and strong winds of the North African desert. (Another underground city is Coober Pedy, Australia, probably most familiar to the rest of the world as the backdrop for Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.)

Coober Pedy’s cave homes are far more engaging. Boring machines can dig a four-bedroom abode in a day. The cost is 20-30 percent less than conventional housing, but the real saving comes in energy. While several air conditioners struggle to cool a normal house to under 30 degrees in summer, Coober Pedy’s caves remain a comfortable 25 degrees, year-round, free of charge.

The movie biz is generally known for being astonishingly wasteful, but in this case, the creation of a set for temporary purposes led to a longterm gain for some locals.

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