A popular attraction for tourists, El Jem is home to some of the best-preserved Roman ruins in Tunisia, including the famous amphitheatre. Built around the year 238, the amphitheatre was used for gladiator fights and chariot races. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. One side of the structure has been rebuilt with seating and safety rails, allowing visitors a spectator's view of the arena. Another notable archaeological site in El Jem is the remains of Roman merchant houses in the south of the city. The archaeological museum in El Jem has displays of various artefacts recovered from the sites, including some beautiful mosaics.
The modern town of El Jem surrounds the amphitheatre with cafes and souvenir shops. Accommodation in El Jem is very limited, as the town has only one basic hotel.