The Last Families Living in Tunisia's Underground Houses

Reuters photographer Zohra Bensemra recently spent time in southern Tunisia's Djebel Dahar region, where locals have lived in underground homes for centuries.  The cave houses, also known as troglodyte houses, offer protection against the extremes of summer and winter in the arid desert. A cluster of these crater-like homes can be seen in the village of Haddej on Google Maps. Most of theses cave homes can be found around Matmata, which gained fame as a filming location for Luke Skywalker’s home in the 1977 movie Star Wars. Reuters reports that fewer of these underground homes are now used, with some falling into disrepair: “In recent decades, rural depopulation has meant fewer people live in the homes, which are composed of rooms hewn into the walls of an excavated circular courtyard. The few remaining families say they are attached to the homes and the land or see no way of moving.”

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