David's Diary: Monday, December 2, 2002

Matmata and El Faour, Tunisia

Matmata at Sunrise
Matmata at Sunrise

Matmata, Tunisia has been made famous as the home of Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars films. With the cave-like homes and desolate landscape it is not surprising that George Lucas was drawn to this area for his films. Berbers have been living underground in Matmata for centuries in order to escape from the summer heat. While the village now has numerous contemporary buildings, there are still some families that live in traditional troglodyte homes.

Typical Matmata Home
Typical Living Room in a Matmata Home

We were taken on a guided tour of Matmata. The mounds that you can see are each a home. The homes were made by digging down to create a circular courtyard and then out to form rooms and corridors to the outside. We were taken to a traditional home where we got to see first-hand how these people live. With white-washed walls and a rug on the floor the rooms seemed more comfortable than we would have imagined for a cave.

Sahara
Sahara Desert Near El Faour

We visited the Matmata market where we got to see a lot of men dressed in the traditional brown Berber robe. We had lunch in the village and then took a Louage to the town of El Faour. El Faour is located on the very edge of the Sahara Desert. While the rest of the group explored the town, I went off to climb dunes and take pictures. At the top of a dune I was surprised to see the Sahara Desert sitting at my feet stretching away in the distance for as far as my eyes could see. A group of local children saw me and ran up asking for a Dinar (Tunisian money) or a Bon-Bon (candy in French). I did my best to ignore them, but for a half-hour I had a large group of children following me around as I tried to catch the last light of the sun setting over the desert sand.

These diary pages only have a few of the pictures that we took in the desert. For more pictures, view our Sahara Desert pictures Web pages, then use your brower's back button to return here.

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