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EL JEM

The Amphitheatre of El Jem is located in the small town of El Jem in central Tunisia, about 60 km south of Sousse.  It is undoubtedly the most impressive Roman monument in Africa, its massive bulk visible for kilometres around, dwarfing the tiny houses of the town around its base.  It has a seating capacity of around 30,000 people, stands 30m high, with a diameter of well over 100 metres, almost as large as the Colosseum in Rome.  It is thought to date from around 230 AD, and was built by a local proconsul, Gordian.  The amphitheatre has been extensively renovated and it is possible to climb to the top of the third tier of seating, and explore the corridors and rooms under the arches and floors.