Tunisia Fundraises To Save Darth Vader’s Home Village



The sand dunes of Tunisian landscapes threaten to cover the set of what was once Darth Vader’s home village in the blockbuster hit Star Wars. The fantastic small town was originally built to film “Star Wars Episode One – The Phantom Menace.”

The Tunisian ministry of tourism has been putting much effort into renovating the mud-brick structures and set props from the 1990s with the expectation that they will soon be welcoming a pilgrimage of millions of Star War fans around the globe. The set was built in the southern Tunisian area of Ong Jmel. The idea is to boost the Tunisian economy as the fans swarm to visit the place where some scenes from the cult franchise movie took place. The town was the birthplace of Anakin Skywalker, the protagonist who later becomes Darth Vader.

To save the set from being covered under layers of sand, the Tunisian ministry has to resort to fundraising. The campaign is called “Save Mos Espa”, and its aim is to raise 300,000 Tunisian dinars ($188,929) for repairing houses and moving sand dunes. Satellite videos show that due to the strong wind, the dunes devour the area by 15 meters a year, and 10 percent has been covered in sand already. The structures are not firm enough to support the weight of the sand, and sadly, some have even collapsed. But, Tunisian officials have managed to remove 8,000 cubic meters of sand in 12 days. Due to the nature of the desert, the removal will last for another 8-10 years, after which the sand has to be moved again.

Tunisian government has already forked out 160,000 Tunisian dinars for the start of the works, whereas the rest would have to be collected by fundraising. They are using crowd fundraising to get some $45,000 needed for the project. This would be a great opportunity to rejuvenate Tunisian tourism, as the revolution and political turbulence in 2011 has reduced the number of visits to the North African country.

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