On a family holiday we were told we could each have one day were we did exactly what we wanted. Mine was the most incredible exploring history day. Number one on the list... El Jem!
We hired a chauffeur with driver to drive us for the day (cheaper than some hire cars we were offered!) and headed off. It's a fair way from Port Kantaoui and the tourist areas but so worth it. We arrived just before midday. We could see the amphitheatre as we approached from a few miles away. Spectacular on the horizon, through the miles and miles of olive trees. Once you hit the town it's a very different experience but just as exciting. Traffic everywhere! No organisations, cars, bikes, pedestrians and animlas everywhere. A sight to see!
Our driver parked just a short walk from the amphitheatre. The small streets open up to reveal the huge building. Amazing! Outside was a mother and baby camel tied up. Not your everyday sight!
Great price to get in, so quiet. Saw less than twenty other tourists inside, ideal for taking photos. A school group arrived as we left but even then it didn't change the atmosphere. You really felt like you were back in the times of the romans.
The fact that there are few signs and fences/barriers around really make a difference. They haven't tried to really make this place into an ott visitor attrcation. They've let the history of the place sell itself.
Despite it being 53 degrees on the day we visited, I made sure to explore every inch. From the tunnels and rooms underground where the slaves were kept before the 'show' started, to the entirety of the stands the locals watched from.
A concert had taken place in the arena just days before so there was modern stage with electrical equipment taking up a fair bit of space but it did little to detract from the beauty of El Jem.
It amazes me that people visit these amazing countries and just lie by the pool or on the beach instead of visiting these absolutely incredible places!!
On the same day we also visited the Archaeological Museum in El Jem which was included in the price of the amphitheatre. Just around the corner , it is well worth a visit. As well as President Bourgiba's masoleum in Monastir and the Ribat next to it were parts of Monty Python's Life of Brian was filmed. As well as the covered bazzar (souk) in Sousse.
One of the most amazing days I have ever had on a holiday!
100% a must do!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.