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Incredible Underground Houses In The Middle Of Tunisia Desert

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Tunisia’s Mediterranean landscape is uniquely breathtaking. That includes the underground cave dwellings of the Berbers of Matmata, a small community in the southern part of the country.

These houses are called troglodytes. They are not situated on the side of the mountains but instead, they are built from large excavations in sandstone areas where the ground is soft enough to be dug by hand. Once constructed, these houses are tough enough to survive harsh desert conditions.

After digging the pit, which would later serve as the courtyard, caves are further dug around the sides to create the rooms.

Accessible maze-like trenches become the passageways.

According to history, this has been the Berber’s way of building villages for more than a thousand years.

Such an extraordinary abode seems like a picturesque scene straight from a movie set.

In fact, even Luke Skywalker found it a worthy homestead in Star Wars: A New Hope. Eventually, the house was converted into an underground hotel called Sidri Dris.

These are actual livable houses that locals call home.

These troglodyte houses have been modernized over the years. Some have televisions, a kitchen, a living room and sleeping quarters like any normal home would have. On the other hand, some houses have deteriorated and were either abandoned or converted into warehouses.

Residents mainly live off from tourism, farming and carpet weaving.

Some would like to relocate to another city but they lack the money to do so. Meanwhile, others would rather stay because they prefer the peace of mind of simple living.

More than a tourist destination, Matmata is a historical place that keeps the Berber tradition and culture alive.

Definitely, it is a gem that sparkles in the desert.

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