Planning On Visiting Tunisia? Check Out The Underground Homes of Matmata!

All around the world we experience certain differences with the weather. Certain places experience predominantly hot weather while others face the cold weather.

Around the world, it’s common practice for people to traditionally live in the caves to get away from the heat. In Southern Tunisia the Berbers of Matmata, a small village also do this but they do it a little differently. Instead of building their homes on the side of the mountain they instead dig large pits into the earth.

Then they dig out rooms in the sides of these manmade pit caves. The open pit is used as a courtyard and is for recreational use, they sometimes they connected to other courtyards through tunnels and trench-like passageways which thus formed tourists maze that lay underground.

Matmata and a few other towns that are scattered across Tunisia are all situated on the perfect mountain that is soft enough that you’re able to excavate with hand tools. Even though it’s easy to excavate doesn’t mean this shelf of sandstone doesn’t provide sturdy homes that last centuries. For thousands of years, the Berbers have been digging out their homes in the ground like this.

The Matmata Plateau is where you’ll find these beautiful and interesting dwellings. The lie in the plateau between Libya and Tunisia next to a narrow corridor between the two. Throughout its history, this region has experienced an excessive amount of invaders and this forced the Berbers to retreat the plateau and to begin digging their homes.

This put them in hiding from the invaders. Overtime, however, the relationship between them and the Arab invaders became better. They (the Berbers) began to feel a little safer and slowly but surely many moved downwards and new villages and homes were developed in the lower slopes of the mountain as well as the plains.

After all these years the cave dwellings are nothing more than a major tourist attraction. They attract many tourist every year and have become a part of history. It’s also been the location for the filming of Star Wars! An underground hotel named Sidi Driss Over time as the home of Luke Skywalker in the film franchise!