Amphitheater in El Jem, Tunisia. History, photos, how to get there

From Africa to the southern limits of Russia, more than 2 thousand years ago, stretched the Roman Empire. The ruins of the ancient temples and palaces, preserved to the present, are striking with their power and beauty. Amphitheater in El Jema, a small town of Tunisia, of all known arena for spectacles, the least suffered from time to time. This majestic monument of the Roman heritage is also called the African Colosseum.

Amphitheater EL-Jam. The history of the African Colosseum in Tunisia

in the form of the amphitheater el-jam reminds of the Colosseum. But still inferior on the scale and Roman circus, and similar structures in Kapui and Verona cities. The fourth largest and first safe, - the African amphitheater was built allegedly over 8 years.

Construction, architecture

Amphitheater in El Jema (Tunisia has no one isna for spectacles on its territory), - a grand construction of an oval form with sizes 148 by 122 m, a height of 36 m. The dimensions of the "classic" coliseum, for comparison - 188 at 156 m. It is assumed that the construction of construction falls on the 230th centuries. e.

The building is made of sandstone extracted in quarries not far from the city of Tisdrus, for the residents of which it was built. Sandstone is a warm golden stone stone, well-handled. The amphitheater consisted of 3 floors decorated with arches of the Corinthian style.

So far, 30 out of 68 arches has been preserved. The construction was decorated with marble columns and multicolor mosaics, but until the end finished was not over due to the subsequent dramatic events.

The heyday of the Tisdruus

Amphitheater was commanded to build Pronsulus of Africa Gordian in the city of Tisdrus (in the former Berber city of Tzdr). In the first century AD. The city flourished, being at the intersection of trade routes. In addition, the climate favored the cultivation of olive trees and Thysdrus was the leader in the production of olive oil, which was highly valued in the Roman Empire.

The city's population numbered 50-60 thousand. The creation of a huge amphitheater, similar to the Colosseum, and accommodating up to 35 thousand spectators, was to emphasize the significance and wealth of Thysdrus. In 238, a riot took place in the city against the tax extortions of the Roman procurator. Soon the uprising swept all the surrounding territories.

Representatives of the nobility dealt with the procurator and proclaimed Proconsul Gordian as Emperor of Rome. The uprising was crushed by imperial troops, Gordian committed suicide, all the instigators were executed. Thysdrus was plundered and heavily taxed. Since that time, the city began to decline, and the grandiose amphitheater remained unfinished.

In subsequent centuries, the African Colosseum was used as a fortress. In the 17th century, part of the amphitheater was dismantled, and the stone blocks were used to restore the famous mosque in Kairouan, and to build houses by the Arabs, who at that time inhabited these places. In the future, part of the historical walls were badly damaged by explosions arranged by the Ottomans.

In 1695 they tried to destroy the secret camp of the Berbers who rebelled against the Turkish yoke. Only at the beginning of the 20th century, during the French colonization of Tunisia, did the amphitheater begin to arouse historical and archaeological interest. And on the site of the ancient and majestic Thysdrus, the town of El-Jem appeared. In 1979, the African Amphitheater was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

What to see in the El-Jema amphitheater

In addition to the ancient building itself, tourists will have the opportunity to get acquainted with the finds of archaeologists, admire the well-preserved mosaics created to decorate city buildings and private houses. And even visit a real ancient Roman villa, spacious and luxurious.

Arena of the amphitheater

The amphitheater in El-Jem (Tunisia, like the whole of North Africa, was part of the Roman Empire) has an elliptical shape, traditional for the ancient circus. This is a large-scale construction: the amphitheater has a circumference of 427 m (a hundred meters less than that of the Roman Colosseum) and the size of the arena is 65 m by 37 m.

El Jeme, Tunisia is called the African Coliseum.

At the end of the 70s of the last century, restoration was carried out, arches and walls were strengthened, stands were recreated on one of the sides. The building for spectacles consisted of 3 floors with many passages and an equally complex underground part. Under the arena there were rooms closed with bars: cages with wild animals and cells of Christians sentenced to death, prisoners, slaves.

These unfortunate sent to the battle with gladiators, or to be torn off hungry predators. Two broad passages, for animals and people led from the underground part of the building in the amphitheater arena.

The strong impression is made by special carvings of utilitarian purposes - streams for blood. In addition to the battles of gladiators in the amphitheater arena, races on chariots were arranged, urban forums were held, theatrical performances were put.

Archaeological Museum

in 10 min. Walking from the majestic amphitheater El Jam on the highway to the city of Sfax is the Archaeological Museum. A ticket to the Amphitheater gives the right to visit and the Museum. A collection of coins, ceramics, sculptures and mosaics is inferior to the famous Bardo museum, but still worthy of attention.

The museum building is built taking into account Roman architectural techniques: for example, the courtyard with shady trees, surrounded by columns is a mandatory element of the Villa Patricia. The most valuable museum exposure is perfectly preserved mosaics once decorated houses of the residents of the Tisdrussa.

Multicolor, skillfully performed mosaic images of people and animals, decorated with vegetable or geometric ornament, can be seen not only in the halls of the museum, but also on the site of the excavation.

Archaeological excavations

to imagine how the houses and villas of ancient Rome looked like, if you go to the excavation zone. Immediately next to the Museum, archaeologists have discovered several buildings of an ancient period. In the "House of Peacock" and "House Sollertiana" will be able to admire the mosaics "in the interior". These are two least victims of the villa, decorated with mosaic panels.

Villa "Africa" ​​

is so called one of the richest estates found by archaeologists on the territory of the former Roman province in North Africa. His name Villa received in honor of the fertility goddess, which was very read in this region. Manor is about 3 thousand square meters. M with a large house and beautiful garden is located behind the building of the Archaeological Museum.

After passing the mosaic floors of spacious rooms and galleries, it is possible to obtain an idea of ​​a well-thought-out planning of a rich Roman house, which gives coolness in the heat and equipped with water supply system. Water was served in bathrooms with a stone bathroom, and also walked to watering the garden.

The building was decorated with marble carved columns and a variety of mosaic stories. There is here and the image of the very goddess of Africa. You can visit this attraction on the same ticket (in the Amphitheater and Museum).

Location of sights, how to get

The distance from the main resorts of Tunisia to the city of El Jam does not exceed 80 km (except More distant Hammamet).

Cities (resorts) of Tunisia Distance to the city of El Jam
Machia43 km
Sousse63 km
el- Kantaui71 km
SFAX64 km
Monastir80 KM
Hammamet155 km

Amphitheater in El Jime is the opportunity to visit both individually and As part of excursion groups. Alone to the main ancient Roman Arena Africa can be reached by municipal transport: by bus or train, or on a rented car.

as an option - a taxi, in Tunisia, rates are low. For example, a trip from Sousse to El Jem and back (plus waiting time) will cost 50-65 euros.

by aircraft

There is no airport in El Jime itself.

The main flow of tourists per season arrives through 2 air harbors:

  • Habiba Burgibiba Airport is located next to the city of Monastir.
  • Enfida Airport is an hour's drive from Hammamet resort.

in "Low Season" when charters stop flying, regular flights take the third, the capital airport near the city of Tunisia - Carthage.

by train

From the capital - the city of Tunisia, from the resort souss and Hammamet to El Jime walk:

  • for 3 hours. And 6 euros - from Tunisia.
  • for 2 hours and about 4 euros - from the souss.
  • for 2 hours 30 minutes. And 5 euros - direct train from Hammamet.

Tourists from the Monastir will have to go with transfers: at the beginning to the souta train, by bus or minibuses (here they are called Louage - Luzh), and before the destination by the train again. The trip is obtained by a long and tedious, so it is better to choose a 2-day journey with a tour. Get acquainted with the train schedule offered on the railway site.

By bus

Another possibility to travel is to use the bus or minibus. Bus flights are a bit, usually 2 / day: Sutra and in the evening. Tickets can be bought at the bus stops approximately an hour before departure, securing the queue. There are no routes, about where the bus is moving, indicated on the plate behind the glass.

Minibuses can be boarded at special stops (Station de louage). As such, there is no timetable. The car sets off when all the seats are occupied by passengers and the driver has collected the fee. There are also no numbers, the destination must be checked with the driver.

The shortest way to El-Jem from Mahdia: by minibus for 1.5 euros and 30 min. There is a bus route from the capital, but not direct, but to Sousse (ticket - 5 euros). A minibus runs from Sousse, the journey takes 1 hour, the fare costs 2.5 euros.

From Hammamet, the path is long: first by train or bus to Sousse, then - by the above-mentioned minibus. From Monastir to El-Jem, buses and minibuses take about 1 hour 30 minutes. (ticket - 3 euros).

By car

If you want to feel like a traveler making an interesting route on your own, you should think about renting a car. Prices are as follows: from 40 euros per season and 10-15 euros cheaper the rest of the time. For registration, documents are needed: a passport and a driver's license (both Russian and international standards are accepted).

Roads in Tunisia are divided into 3 types: toll autobahns, national roads and municipal roads. Autobahns - with good coverage, informative signs. Prices are reasonable - from 50 euro cents per plot.

It is important to know that every toll road has a free understudy. There are many traffic police posts. Therefore, advice: do not break the rules, the speed limit and do not offer a bribe. An attempt to bribe can increase the amount of the fine at times.

Excursions to El-Jem

The amphitheater in El-Jem (Tunisia is famous for its ancient monuments) is the most visited attraction along with Carthage and the Bardo Museum. All resorts have the opportunity to go on a two-day sightseeing trip that combines a visit to El Jem and the Sahara Desert. A rich program guarantees vivid impressions, and besides, without haste and overwork.

The cost depends on the location of the resort and the tour operator, as a rule, it is in the range of 100-130 euros. Excursion "El-Jem - Kairouan" with a tour of the ancient capital of Tunisia is designed for 1 day. But, it is not offered at all resorts and, due to the time limit, it will make it possible to visit only the amphitheater in El Jem. Such a trip costs 45-65 euros.

Opening hours

The amphitheater is open to visitors during the tourist season (from May to mid-September) from 7.30 to 19.00. The rest of the time - from 8.00 to 17.30.

Interesting facts

The stones of the ancient circus protect against snakes and scorpions - the inhabitants of El-Jem believed in ancient times. And they laid them as a kind of charm in the walls of the house under construction. This story is from a number of superstitions and myths.

But Real Facts:

  • Arena in El Jema had its own "specialization": fighting gladiators with lions, tigers and panthers, as well as contractions Predators with each other. The bloody "supplement" of the spectacle was to rush the hungry animals over unarmed convicted.
  • Despite the destruction, the amphitheater retained excellent acoustics. And since 1985, African Colosseum became a scene for holding a festival of symphonic music and various musical productions.
  • The enormous building of the amphitheater was built without a foundation. Ancient architects considered that with a smooth surface and hardness of the selected location, the foundation simply does not need.
  • The good preservation of the monument is related to the fact that all underground rooms, part of the stands and the arena were covered with sand shielded for many centuries.
  • according to the law adopted in Tunisia in 1994, it is forbidden to build buildings above 5 meters in the area of ​​300 meters around the amphitheater.

There is an opinion that it is the amphitheater's amphitheater's Arena in El Jema who served as a filming platform for the scenes of the Film Film "Gladiator". This is not true. Not in Tunisia, and in Malta, all the attentive shootings were made and the circus layout is only one tier.

Computer graphics skillfully devaled all the missing: tiers, tribunes and viewers. And yet, in order to feel that severe time, really, and not through a virtual picture, it is worth seeing the African Colosseum with its own eyes.

Video about the amphitheater in El Jime, Tunisia

Amphitheater in El Jime, Tunisia, Overview: