Amphitheatre of El Jem, Tunisia
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A 'standing ovation' to Roman architecture. Amphitheatre of El Jem, Tunisia
This impressive structure is the Amphitheatre of El Jem, in the Tunisian town of the same name. Made entirely from stone blocks, it was built in the 3rd century CE, when this area was Thysdrus, a city of ancient Rome. Once capable of seating up to 35,000 spectators, it is the largest colosseum in North Africa and one of the largest in the world. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, it is one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheatres, almost equal in grandeur to the Colosseum in Rome.
Beneath the arena, there is an extensive underground network of tunnels and chambers, which are open to visitors. Despite its age, the arena floor is still preserved, and visitors can walk on it, following in the footsteps of gladiators and others who stepped out before huge crowds, nearly 2,000 years ago.