The United States granted Tunisia $430,000 dollars for the restoration of the Amphitheatre of El Jem, TAP reported Wednesday.
This grant, initiated by the U.S. Embassy to Tunisia, was offered by the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation, in order to preserve the Amphitheatre of El Jem which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.
“The Tunisian-American partnership in restoration and preservation will help to integrate urban archaeological wealth in the economic circuit through tourism,” TAP quoted Tunisian Minister of Culture Mohamed Zine El-Abidine as saying at the inauguration of the restoration project.
This Unesco World Heritage-listed colosseum is the second-largest in the Roman world (after Rome’s); it was 149m long by 124m wide, with three tiers of seating 30m high. Its seating capacity has been estimated at up to 35,000 – considerably more than the population of the town itself. Built entirely of stone blocks, with no foundations, its facade comprises three levels of arcades. Inside, most of the supporting infrastructure for the tiered seating has been preserved.