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Amphitheatre of El Djem

Listed under Archaeological Sites in Tunisia.

  • Photo of Amphitheatre of El Djem
  • Photo of Amphitheatre of El Djem
  • Photo of Amphitheatre of El Djem
  • Photo of Amphitheatre of El Djem
  • Photo of Amphitheatre of El Djem
  • Photo of Amphitheatre of El Djem
  • Photo of Amphitheatre of El Djem
  • Photo of Amphitheatre of El Djem
Photo of Amphitheatre of El Djem
Photo by flickr user ahisgett
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'The impressive ruins of the largest colosseum in North Africa, a huge amphitheatre which could hold up to 35,000 spectators, are found in the small village of El Jem. This 3rd-century monument illustrates the grandeur and extent of Imperial Rome.'

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El Djem Ampitheatre

Only the Colosseum in Rome and the now ruined theatre of Capua were larger ampitheatres than this one – built to hold 35,000 people, whooping and cheering at the gladiator shows and chariot races. In the 2nd Century, when El Djem was enjoying the peak or its prosperity, riding the wave of the olive trade that flourished here in a climate less arid than today’s, it gained a Bishop, but it wasn’t until the 3rd Century that the amphitheatre was built. And it survived quite well until the 17th Century when people began to harvest stones from it to build the new city, and the Great Mosque in a neighbouring town.

The western side was the most decimated, and a large section of it has now been rebuilt, complete with seats, to give an idea of what it once must have looked like, but the galleries below with the cells for the gladiators and animals are still in good condition, as are the arches and the entryways. This wasn’t a particularly thoroughly decorated amphitheatre, but it did have some nice floors – some of which have been uncovered.

The remains of two earlier amphitheatres, one built within the hollowed out hill, can be seen behind the El Djem museum.

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