Site: Ajim neighborhood (Al-Hunit Mosque district)
GPS: 33.723964, 10.750016
Location: Ajim city center (Médenine Governorate) / Djerba island (Tunisia)
Description: Bakery (abandoned) — plaza — two side streets
Star Wars film:
Episode IV — A New Hope (1977)
Set construction start: Mid-February 1976
Production: 2-3 April 1976
Star Wars location | Film sets:
Mos Eisley | Cantina (exterior)
Mos Eisley | Docking Bay 94 alley
Mos Eisley | plaza
Mos Eisley | stormtrooper checkpoint
Leads on set:
Alec Guinness / Obi-Wan Kenobi
Mark Hamill / Luke Skywalker
Anthony Daniels / See Threepio (C-3PO)
Kenny Baker / Artoo Detoo (R2-D2)
Anthony Forrest / stormtrooper patrol lead
Jack Purvis / robot
Peter Diamond (stunt supervisor) / cantina patron
48 [Ben: “These are not the droids you’re looking for”] — Filmed: 2 April 1976
49 [In Luke’s landspeeder, they approach cantina] — Filmed: 3 April 1976
ZA50 [Droids in front of cantina] — Filmed: 3 April 1976
A50 [Ben tells Luke he’ll have to sell his landspeeder] — Filmed: 3 April 1976
59 [Mos Eisley: stormtroopers watch Millennium Falcon blast off] — Filmed: 2 April 1976
Final cut: 5
Party: Cast/crew celebrated Alec Guinness’ 62nd birthday on set in Ajim (2 April 1976).
Architecture: Djerban architecture (Amazigh/Ibadi Islamic blended style)—the combination of (1) simplistic domes, (2) barrel-vaulted roofs, and (3) weight-bearing external buttresses that directly shaped “Tatooine” design—is readily visible in Ajim, both inside the small city and on menzel complexes in rural outskirts.
Mos Eisley: Crews added set dressings to a now-abandoned bakery (cantina exterior) with a domed side section on Avenue Abou el Kacem Chabbi, an adjoining rectangular plaza (landspeeder and pedestrian traffic) once lined to the north and south with domed grain storage ghorfas, and two intersecting side streets (stormtrooper patrol activity focused on Rue Habib Thameur) just north of the plaza to create the Mos Eisley film site area in Ajim.
Spaceship: The “roller” machine used to make sandcrawler tracks at the Lars Homestead set on the Chott el-Djerid salt flats was repurposed as the elongated tail of the unnamed crashed spaceship (not the Dowager Queen) constructed to cover a large tree (since removed) near the cantina set and city buildings in the background, particularly the Ajim Primary School complex.
Jerba prop: Two shaggy-haired, fiberglass/latex skin beast-of-burden “jerbas” (named after Djerba island; call sheet: “cow with pack and saddle”) were positioned close to the cantina set faux entrance.
Stormtroopers: Anthony Forrest, sunburned from Djerban beachfront lounging while waiting to film Tosche Station scenes at Sidi Jemour Mosque after the Ajim location shoot, was cast last-minute as the the ranking stormtrooper (joining six local Tunisian stormtroopers on set) to fill the need for an English-speaking patrol lead at the security checkpoint to fluidly interact with the Jedi mind trick dialogue.
Torn pants: For the last C-3PO activity filmed in Tunisia, Anthony Daniels’ shuffle in scene 49 from the parked landspeeder toward the cantina set faux entrance was hampered by a visible split down the seat of his pants.
Controversy: Removing the “orange blob” visible under Luke’s motorized landspeeder while driving across the plaza (created by smearing vaseline on the camera lens in Ajim to disguise the landspeeder wheels) and expanding the overall vision of Mos Eisley (hindered by location shoot realities in Ajim) were key factors that prompted The Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition revisions decades later, sparking the enduring “original version” debate coupled with the #ReleaseTheOriginalTrilogy campaign.
Cantina: Identified in screenplay versions either as the “spaceport cantina” or “Mos Eisley cantina,” the term “Chalmun’s Cantina” (not a screenplay reference) was first introduced in the roleplaying sourcebook Galaxy Guide 7: Mos Eisley (1993).
Modernization: Community-wide construction/improvement projects in addition to ownership neglect have altered, replaced, or left derelict almost all film site reference points in the Ajim neighborhood.
Invader: Paris-based French artist Invader in November 2019 attached the stormtrooper mosaic to the abandoned bakery exterior (on the northern face under the dome where crews constructed the cantina set faux entrance) as part of a 15-day project to install 58 pre-made “space invader” mosaics around Djerba island.
Accessibility: Very easy; flat terrain; paved roads; parking area (33.723813, 10.750087) directly at the site.