Great Zimbabwe ruins – the city of power and mystery

      Great Zimbabwe is a ruined city in the southeastern hills of Zimbabwe covering almost 800 hectares
      A UNESCO World heritage site, it was constructed between the 11th and 15th century spanning 300 years – and it housed up to 18 000 people
      The royal palace was a seat of political power divided into the Hill Ruins (royal city), Great Enclosure (community area) and the Valley Ruins
      Trade was prevalent on site after excavations revealed glass beads and porcelain from China and Persia
      Zimbabwe identifies with this historically symbolic ensemble – and adopted as its emblem the steatite bird, which may have been a royal totem
      Method of construction is unique in African architecture. Although there are examples of similar work elsewhere, none are as distinguished and imposing as Great Zimbabwe
      The Shona word Zimbabwe means the house in stone
      The site has been legally protected since 1893
      The first visit by Europeans were in the late 19th century
      The word “Great” distinguishes the site from the many hundreds of small ruins
      Majority of scholars believe that it was built by members of the Gokomere culture
      Great Zimbabwe are some of the oldest and largest structures located in southern Africa. They are the second oldest after Mapungubwe in South Africa
      Its decline was due to a shortage of resources
      Great Zimbabwe ruins features in fiction books by Wilbur Smith (The Sunbird) and Stanlake Samkange (Year of the Uprising). – natAfrica  


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