El Jem Amphitheatre

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My family saw the amphitheater at El Djem in November 1953 as we drove from Tripoli, Libya, to Tunis, Tunisia. Then it was a large coliseum suddenly appearing in the distance south of the city of El Djem. Although we did not tour it, it made a big impression on us at the time. I would love to see it again now in the midst of the city.

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We visited here in late December of 2010, just as the Arab spring was starting. El Jem was well worth visiting. El Jem was in very good condition and there were virtually no other tourists. It is easier to see it all properly and in some ways much better than the Coliseum in Rome which is so always busy and crowded.
Tunisia had lots of amazing Roman ruins and very few tourists visiting them. The Bardo museum in Tunis was also fabulous with wonderful Roman mosaics.

This is a wonderful site. When we were there in the early 1990s, one was pretty much free to roam through the amphitheater at one’s own risk. It was a real adventure. We attended an evening performance by a string quartet at El Djem under the star filled, desert night.