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When 'Star Wars' invaded Tunisia (photos)

A series of photographs by visual artist Ra di Martino showcases the sets where George Lucas and his crew filmed the original "Star Wars."

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Daniel Terdiman
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'Star Wars' in Tunisia

To almost anyone, the scenes will look familiar. You might not be able to quite put your finger on it at first, but then it will come to you: "Star Wars!"

Indeed, as visual artist Ra di Martino showcases in these photos, the movie sets that George Lucas and his crew built in Tunisia when filming "Star Wars" are striking and haunting. And though there are people intent on saving them, many of them are becoming increasingly decrepit.

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Remote Tunisia

Di Martino's photographs show a lost, remote world -- near E Chott el Gharsa, Tunisia -- which must have struck Lucas and his set designers and location scouts as the perfect spot to film some of the scenes in 1977's "Star Wars."
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Home of the past, home of the future

This is di Martino's "Home of the past, home of the future."
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Beggar

A beggar sits amidst the Lars Homestead site.
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Overcome

The desert sand slowly but surely has its way with any parts of the sets that aren't proactively cleared.
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Left behind

It's not entirely clear why the "Star Wars" sets were left behind after the filming was done.
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Unrecognizable

If you didn't know that this was from a "Star Wars" set, you'd never guess.
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Desolate

Though it's not actually on Tatooine (a fictional planet, of course), it's easy to tell why Lucas wanted to film in such a remote and desolate location.
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Lars' home

This was the set used as Luke Skywalker's uncle and aunt's home, known as the Lars Homestead.
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Closer look

A closer look at the entrance to the Lars Homestead.
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Damage from the Empire?

Is this damage due to the Empire's attack, or the passage of time since "Star Wars" was filmed?
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Save Lars

A group called Save Lars has been working to repair and renovate some of the sets at the location in the Tunisian desert. Unfortunately, it's a big job, and not everything is so quick to be saved.
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Lars Homestead

A look down into the Lars Homestead, as captured by Declan McCullagh.
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Anakin's childhood home

A look at the childhood slave quarters where Annakin Skywalker grew up, also in Tunisia.
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Welcome to Tataouine

Where did Lucas get the name Tatooine from? This sign, in Tunisia, tells the story.

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