Archives for October2015

The Great Zimbabwe Ruins

The Great Zimbabwe Ruins are sub-Saharan Africa’s most important and largest stone ruins. It is the largest ancient structure south of the Sahara and second only to the Pyramids of Egypt in terms of size.
Designated a World Heritage Site in 1986, the large towers and structures were built out of millions of stones balanced perfectly on top of one another without the aid of mortar.
Great Zimbabwe gave modern Zimbabwe its name as well as its national emblem – an eagle carved out of soapstone which was found at the ruins.


The Great Zimbabwe


The people of Great Zimbabwe are believed to have become increasingly influential during the 11th Century.
The Swahili, the Portuguese and Arabs who were sailing down the Mozambique coast began trading porcelain, cloth and glass with the Great Zimbabwe people in return for gold and ivory.
The ruins form three distinct architectural groups. They are known as the Hill Complex, the Valley Complex and the Great Enclosure.
The Hill Complex is the oldest, and was occupied from the ninth to thirteenth centuries. The Great Enclosure was occupied from the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries and the Valley Complex from the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries.
The most important artifacts recovered from the Monument are the eight Zimbabwe Birds that were carved from soapstone on the tops of six foot high columns.


The Great Zimbabwe


The architecture of Great Zimbabwe reflected a complex socio-economic system.
The monumental stonewalls were constructed to express wealth, power and pomp of those living within them, an elite population either closely related to or serving a powerful monarchy.

Great Zimbabwe is a clear testimony to the cultural richness of southern Africa’s past and is celebrated as an African contribution to world civilization.
This ancient Zimbabwe site is of tremendous cultural, political, and scientific significance.
However by the 15th Century, Great Zimbabwe was in decline due to over population, famine, water shortage, disease and political disputes.
By the time the Portuguese arrived in search of rumoured cities built of gold, Great Zimbabwe had already fallen into ruins.
To most Zimbabweans Great Zimbabwe is a reminder of the tremendous achievements of their fore-bearers – and as such a rich source of inspiration.


The Great Zimbabwe

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