Great Zimbabwe Empire- Stone Monument

Was Great Zimbabwe the capital of a vast Gold and Ivory trading empire. Visit the largest stone structure in Africa outside Egypt


great zimbabwe ruins facing

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Lodge at the Ancient City | Great Zimbabwe

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Great Zimbabwe map | Zimbabwe

  • There are some 18,000 zimbabwes or stone ruins recorded in Southern-Central Africa
  • 100 Kilometres of ancient canals
  • Terracing covering 5,000 Square Kilometres
  • 2,000 stone pits
  • 2,000 known ancient mines

Wars were raged, art and architecture flourished, dynasties reigned and were overthrown

Was it the capital of a vast gold and ivory trading empire ?

Lost civilization of the world

Was it's wealth founded on cattle and subsequently trading gold, copper and ivory to Arab Merchants on the Indian Ocean coast in return for ceramics and cloth

Was it built by Indians who sailed here in catamarans using the favourable monsoon trade winds

Was it built by the ancestors of Venda / Lemba Tribes (now further south) or the resident Karanga

By the 15th century the city had fallen into irreversible decline

Then the civilization disappeared and left no record of a written language behind, which makes Great Zimbabwe one of the truly lost civilizations of the world, inspiring wild and romantic speculations linking it with the Queen of Sheba and King Solomons Mines. Nobody knows for sure

Two main areas of stone wall enclosures

The Hill Complex

The Hill Complex, sits atop a granite dome that overlooks the rest of the site and consists of small enclosures separated by narrow, twisting passages

View of the granite hill from where the Valley Enclosures and the Great Enclosure are situated - photo right

The Great Enclosure

is the most impressive and extraordinary of the stone remains and is a large stone enclosure with a maximum diameter of 89 meters. The wall is 244 meters long and, at its greatest, 5 meters thick and 10 meters high, capped by turrets and monoliths, where carved birds once perched. Inside is a large tower, the purpose of which is still a mystery.

Long after the buildings and cathedrals of Europe have fallen, the Great Tower will still stand as a testimony to a long dead civilization

Getting There

Coach service: Translux and Greyhound luxury coaches go nightly from Johannesburg through Masvingo to Harare - return

World Heritage site

Today, Great Zimbabwe ruins is a World Heritage site and its massive curving walls, constructed from millions of granite blocks fitted together without mortar, remain the largest ancient stone structure in sub Saharan Africa

Lofty, majestic, and timeless the quality of the building in places is outstanding

30 kilometers from Masvingo this amazing complex is formed of regular, rectangular granite stones, carefully placed one upon the other, without the use of mortar

Great Zimbabwe is the name given to hundreds of great stone ruins spread out over a 320 square kilometers area within Zimbabwe, which itself is named after the ruins

walls

Masvingo
Centre of an active mining district producing a large variety of minerals (asbestos, chrome, lithium, tin, tungsten and gold). Asbestos is mined at Mashava and Zvishane, gold at Renco and Bikita. The region has the largest source of lithium in the world

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