Live Like a Gladiator in El Djem
Further south, the town of El Djem gives visitors the opportunity to relive the grandeur of the Roman Empire. Today’s settlement grew up around the ruins of the Roman city of Thysdrus, once one of the most prosperous settlements in North Africa. Much of the original architecture is now lost—with the exception of the city’s mighty amphitheater. Built to house gladiator shows and chariot races, the amphitheater held 35,000 spectators and was one of the largest in the Empire. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the amphitheater is more intact than the Coliseum in Rome, with two thirds of its triple-arcaded outer walls still standing. Visitors can also see the underground passages and cells that once held the arena’s human and animal combatants.