THE JERID

Traditionally the Jerid is a narrow strip of land that extends from Algeria to the coast at Gabes. It has long been one of the main trading routes into the Sahara. It is bound by the Chott el-Jerid and el-Gharsa which are both low lying salt lakes. It has always been an agriculturally productive region - mostly dates, as well as oranges and lemons in lesser quantities. The chotts themselves are pretty inhospitable places and support only a few rare bushes and birds that can cope with the extreme exposure and saltiness of the lakes. However, along the fringes large palm groves grow supported by the numerous oases and seasonal streams that run down to the chotts.

Crossing the Chott el-Jerid on the Degache-Kebili causeway is an experience no one should miss. On the edges sparse collection of bushes grow and the odd camel roams. After a further 20 km (12.5 miles) the landscape becomes unnaturally flat and devoid of any life. The view to the horizon is broken only by mirages and strange colourations in the damp sand as salts are leached out. The causeway runs straight as a rod to the northwest and links the Nefzaoua plains south of the Jerid to Tozeur, Nefta and Gafsa.

extract taken from Tataouine Tours: On Location
Chott el-Gharsa - TPM Mos Espa set, Slave Quarter set & Sarth Mauls Lookout La Grande Dune - ANH Dune Sea Chott el-Jerid - ANH Lars' Homestead (Exterior) Sidi Bouhlel - ANH Jundland Wastes/TPM Tusken Raider snipers

The Jerid holds the greatest number of Star Wars filming locations - five. Lucasfilm used the area for both A New Hope in 1975 and The Phantom Menace in 1996. Several of the outdoor sets have been left intact at the request of the Tunisian tourist authority and can be visited for free. Early in 2000 Lucasfilm is returning to the area to film location scenes for Episode 2. With a bit of luck (and a lot of money) the new locations will be covered in a second visit in 2001.

Chott el-Gharsa - on the fringes of this salt lake scenes from The Phantom Menace were filmed, including Darth Maul's arrival and pursuit of the heroes, Mos Espa, the Royal Starship landing site and the duel between Qui-Gon Jinn and Darth Maul to name but a few. Because of the vast number of shots done here this location is broken into 3 sections: Darth Maul's Lookout, Royal Starship Landing, Jedi Duel & Slave Quarters IV and Mos Espa

Sidi Bouhlel - after Death Valley, the Valley of the Kings and the Grand Canyon this is probably one of the most famous valleys in the world. Not only was it used for the Jundland Wastes in A New Hope, it was also used for Raiders of the Lost Ark (the rest of the Raiders locations are no more than a mile away) and more recently The English Patient

Chott el-Jerid - set out on the edge of the Chott el-Jerid was the surface location of the Lars' family homestead. Here Uncle Owen purchased his new droids and Luke stared into a far-away future.

La Grande Dune - chronologically this is where Tataooine begins. At the base of this large sand dune the droids first set foot onto Luke's homeworld, C-3PO got lost in the Dune Sea and the Empire began its hunt for the stolen Death Star plans.

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