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The ancient amphitheatre of El Jem, the single most impressive Roman monument in Africa, is a dramatic and arresting sight. This was the scene of gladiator displays, chariot races and circuses, often cruel and bloody.

El Jem, TunisiaToday, the cries of martyrs and beasts have been replaced by the haunting strains of a concerto or the precise beauty of a fugue as world-famous orchestras and artists perform at the classical music festival held here each summer.

The archaeological museum, just a short walk across town, showcases some of the most exciting mosaics depicting Roman life and art. Amongst the finest images ever discovered in Tunisia, they portray: Orpheus charming the animals with his music, the triumph of Bacchus, the nine Muses, drunken Silenus and Dionysus as a child riding a tigress.

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