Star Wars: NASA Honors A New Hope With Satellite Images of Original Filming Locations

Last week saw the 43rd anniversary of the release of Star Wars: A New Hope in theaters, resulting in fans around the world celebrating the film's accomplishments, with even NASA getting in on the action by sharing satellite images of the original filming locations in Tunisia. Specifically, the images point out where the scenes of Obi-Wan Kenobi's house were filmed in relation to scenes that took place in the Mos Eisley spaceport. While the original production went to great lengths to capture the otherworldly terrain of Tatooine, it was also able to make a more manageable trek from Los Angeles to Death Valley National Park in California to secure establishing shots of the valley in which Mos Eisley was set.

"In the movie, Mos Eisley was a dusty, bustling port city set on a desert plain," NASA detailed on Facebook. "In the real world, parts of several key scenes from the spaceport were filmed in Ajim, a fishing town on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The island (also called Jerba) is situated in the Gulf of Gabes on the Mediterranean Sea. A domed building that was once a Berber bakery provided the exterior of the cantina. Though now crumbling, the building still stands in the southern part of the city near a ferry terminal. Apartments have sprung up around it, but tourists still come to see its exterior and find the skyline and cityscape that the Millennium Falcon rocketed through."

They added, "On the northern outskirts of Ajim, there is another set from Star Wars — the desert abode of Obi-Wan. The scenes were actually filmed in an old mosque along the Mediterranean Sea, which still stands but has become a storage space for fishing equipment. If you look carefully at the large image, the structure is just barely visible."

For the original film, a number of sequences were filmed in Tunisia, which also included the Lars homestead where Luke lived and the iconic shot of Luke looking out at the Twin Suns. When it came time to shoot Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, the production headed back to Death Valley to serve as Tatooine, in addition to traveling further up the coast to use the giant redwoods of northern California to create the otherworldly landscape of the Forest Moon of Endor.

The original sets in Tunisia, however, have remained in good enough condition that they have become a tourist hot spot for devout Star Wars fans.


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