September 27, 2014

1252 TUNISIA - Amphitheatre of El Jem (UNESCO WHS)

El Jem, or El Djem, was built by the Romans on a former Punic settlement, under the name Thysdrus. In a less arid climate than today's, Thysdrus, which became part of the Roman province of Byzacena, prospered especially in the 2nd century, at the time of Emperor Hadrian (AD 117-138), when it became an important center of olive oil manufacturing for export. It was the seat of a Christian bishopric, which is included in the Catholic Church's list of titular sees. By the early 3rd century AD, it rivaled Hadrumetum (modern Sousse) as the second city of Roman North Africa, after Carthage.

El Djem is famous for its amphitheater (often incorrectly called a Colosseum), which is capable of seating 35,000 spectators. Only the Flavian Amphitheater in Rome (about 50,000 spectators) and the ruined theatre of Capua are larger. It was built under proconsul Gordian, who was acclaimed Emperor at Thysdrus, around 238 and was mainly used for gladiator shows and small chariot races (like in Ben-Hur). Until the 17th century it remained more or less whole. From then on its stones were used for building the nearby village of El Djem and transported to the Great Mosque in Kairouan. The amphitheater was used for filming some of the scenes from the Oscar winning film Gladiator.

About the stamp
The stamp is part of the series Architecture of the City of Tozeur, about which I wrote here.

El Djem - Wikipedia
Amphitheatre of El Jem - UNESCO official website

Sender: Eunika Gos (direct swap)
Sent from Monastir (Monastir / Tunisia), on 03.09.2014

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