As you travel towards the town of Matmata in south Tunisia you can soak up the magnificent scenery, driving one of the three roads into the town, you only notice the town once you are actually upon it. This is a town with a difference that will have you captivated from the minute you arrive.
Don’t be fooled, the fact that this town is almost invisible if you aren’t sure what you are looking for does not mean it’s not a major tourist attraction rich in history, culture and with celebrity status.
The first thing you will notice is how unique the town is with its underground Berber homes, troglodyte homes as they are called. The town is surrounded by hills and sand and these homes are built by digging straight down making caves with long trenches passageways between the caves, this was a clever way to build homes using the earth as insulation keeping the homes warm in winter and cool in summer, a really unique experience and the locals are more than willing to let you see their homes for a price.
There are as many as seven hundred of these pit homes, though many of them have been deserted, but there are still around one thousand residents who live in this unusual town.
The town is better known because of the Star Wars movie which was filmed here. Remember Luke Skywalkers home? Well that was Hotel Sidi Driss and you can visit the hotel complete with the set decorations still in place, making this a very popular tourist attraction.
Be sure to visit the Berber Museum with a guided tour where you can go into one of the troglodyte homes, walk the long passageways and view the exhibits showcasing the various types of pit homes that were available depending on the wealth of the family. The museum is a once in a lifetime opportunity, rich in history complete with models dressed in traditional wedding attire, enabling you to see what the Berber people were all about.
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