It is not only the largest in Africa, but it is also able to hold up to 35,000 spectators and it was the third structure to accommodate the entire Roman world, after the Flavian Amphitheatre, the Italian Colosseum and the theater of Capua. Here too, as is it was customary in the Roman amphitheatres, duels between gladiators and chariot races used to happen every day.
We should not be surprised, because what is now divided was once the Mare Nostrum, which cultivated the same customs and habits, on all sides of the Mediterranean, including Tunisia, which in those days, thanks to a less arid climate, was one of most important granaries of Rome. The amphitheater remained intact until the seventeenth century, because the ancient Roman settlement was no longer inhabited, when it was used as a quarry for the construction of the Great Mosque of Kairouan (somewhat analogous to what happened in Rome?). It has been protected by UNESCO since 1979; also there have been shot some scenes of Gladiator. If you are in a hurry and want get some affordable airline tickets, just check www.flighthub.com; they do offer a wide variety of cheap flights.
The ticket for the entrance to the amphitheatre is 8 dinars (about 4 euro), which includes access to the museum of El Jem, which houses the architectural elements, frescoes and mosaics of ancient Roman villas found in El Jem( in summer it open from 7:30 to 19:00). El Jem is located halfway between Sousse and Sfax, along the road connecting the two cities.
By Angela B