Ksar Ouled Soltane Pictures, Images & Photos, Tunisia { 124 images } Created 31 Dec 2015

Pictures, photos & images of Ksar Ouled Soutane, Tunisia.

Ksar Ouled Soutane is an old fortified granary and food storage complex that was essential for the nomadic Berber tribes that traded across the Sahara desert to assure that their food supplies were safe whilst they were away.

The Berbers of North Africa were a sophisticated people that controlled what was know as the Magreb, Morocco Algeria and Tunisia, as well as most of Spain at the height of their powers. Berbers were nomads and their camel trains that traded across the Sahara desert brought high value products north which brought them wealth and allowed them to build a civilisation of great power.

There is an obvious problem of food supply if you are a nomad in the arid conditions of the Sahara desert. Goods could be traded for food along the coast but where would you keep it during the months it took to cross the Sahara and return. The Berbers evolved Ksour (plural of Ksar) or fortified villages to protect their food supplies whilst away. A Ksar consists of ghorfas which are vaulted rooms used by the Berber people for storing grain. Each ghorfa is a self contained unit and they were built on top of each other in continuous circles or squares with doors only opening on the inside to create 3 or 4 story high walled Ksar. It would be entered through a wooden gate and would house a small mosque for nomads to pray at. Ksour would have been easy to defend from raiding parties as the lack of wood in the desert meant that building ladders or siege equipment was impossible.

Ksar Ouled Soutane is situated on a barren hill overlooking the beginning of the Northern Sahara, in the Tataouine district in southern Tunisia. From Ksar Ouled Soutane the Sahara spreads away south for 1000 miles across and endless flat arid plain where it might only rain every 10 years. To live in such conditions the desert peoples had to adapt strategies for survival and the Ksar played a crucial part. Although the Berber Ksar has a very distinctive style, similar mud brick villages can be found in Mali and the Yemen showing that the desert peoples learnt from each other over great distances.

The Ksour of Tunisia may look very familiar and there is a good reason for that. George Lucas recognised the evocative style of Ksour and used them as locations for his Star War movies. Ksar Ouled Soutane was the setting for the Slave Quarters Row of Mos Espa in Star Wars Episode 1 The Phantom Menace, where Anakin Skywalker lived as a boy.

Although Star Wars has bought Ksar Ouled Soutane a steady trickle of Star Wars fans, its remoteness and proximity to the Libyan Border make it inaccessible to most tourists to Tunisia so Ksar Ouled Soutane is deserted, apart from a couple of resident guides, most of the time.

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