Amphitheatre of El Jem

el jemDate of Inscription: 1979
El-Mahdia
N35 17 47.004 E10 42 24.984

El Jem is famous for its amphitheatre, capable of seating 35,000 spectators. Only Rome's Colosseum (about 45,000 spectators) and the ruined theatre of Capua are larger. The amphitheatre at El Jem was built by the Romans under proconsul Gordian, who was acclaimed Emperor at Thysdrus, around 238. Due to a lack of money the site was never finished. Until the 17th century it remained more or less whole. From then on its stones were used for building the nearby village of El Jem and transported to the Great Mosque in Kairouan, and at a tense moment during struggles with the Ottomans, the Turks used cannons to flush rebels out of the amphitheatre. Nowadays you can still see where the cannon balls hit.