""Great Zimbabwe"" - Explore the Ruins and learn a little history!

Constructed from 9th century onwards, the city known as ""Great Zimbabwe"" today, was a medieval city in the south-eastern hills of ZImbabwe.  It lies near Lake Mutirikwi and the town of Masvingo. It became the capital of the kingdom of Zimbabwe.

Painting great Zim

Painting by Barry Lungu

It covered an area of about 7.22 Square Kilometers and could house up to 18,000 people. 

It comprised  of 3 different areas:

The Valley Complex (probably for the citizens)

The Great Enclosure (probably for the king) 

Great enclosure

The Hill Complex (probably a temple)

Hill complex

It is believed that ""Great Zimbabwe"" housed a royal palace.

royal palace

The walls and towers were constructed without motar ie were just dry stone on top of each other. The walls and towers rose upto 11 meters in height.

Walls of

The constructon was probably made by the ancestors of the Shona in Zimbabwe namely by members of the Gokomere culture. 

Some say that the shona sculpture had its beginnings here.

This might be because of the fact that 8 Zimbabwe Birds were found and probably were designed to be placed in the Hill Complex of Greater Zimbabwe. Other artifacts including figurines carved in Soapstone were also found.  It is known that Shona sculpture developed from the eleventh century, peaking around the 13th century.  It slowly declined until it again became important around the middle of the 1900's. Most sculptures were made originally from soapstone which is s sedimentary stone and is soft.  As soap stone tends to crumble, other stones slowly took over in importance and serpentine as well as verdite became the stones of preference.

Chess beautiful small

Around 1500 the Mutapa state arose, founded by Nyatsimba Mutotas from ""Great Zimbabwe"".  He had been sent to the  north to find new sources of salt and this shortage of resources (not only salt but others such as water and food) lead to the decline of ""Great Zimbabwe"".  Mining of gold had reduced as the gold mines had become exhausted and there was more and more political instability. 

""Great Zimbabwe"" was slowly abandoned and the next one hears about this great city is from the Portuguese traders who passed en route.  Other groups such as the Lemba also claim to have built ""Great Zimbabwe"" but this has after a lot of research been refuted and the archaeological evidence suggest that it was built by the Shona and Venda peoples.  

In the early 21st Century, a university was created for arts and culture, near to the vicinty of the ruins.  Ths should help to protect these great ruins further from damage.


Zim flag

A short Sonet to celebrate ""Great Zimbabwe"" contributed by Chatgpt

""Great Zimbabwe"", a place of ancient lore,

Where kings once ruled with power and might,
Their kingdom thriving, their wealth did soar,
Their legacy, a wonder to our sight.
The walls of stone, they tell a story grand,
Of skilled artisans, and strong builders too,
Of mighty warriors, who ruled the land,
And merchants, who traded goods anew.
The birds on high, they circle round the site,
A symbol of freedom, that once was known,
The ruins, now shrouded in mystery and might,
A glimpse of history, through time has shown.
""Great Zimbabwe"", a marvel to behold,
A testament to the greatness of old.