Great Zimbabwe



wp-content/uploads/2016/05/great-zimbabwe-1.jpg

The ruins of Great Zimbabwe’s complex of massive stone walls undulate across almost 1,800 acres of present-day southeastern Zimbabwe. Begun during the eleventh century A.D. by Bantu-speaking ancestors of the Shona, Great Zimbabwe was constructed and expanded for more than 300 years. Neither the first nor the last of some 300 similar complexes located on the Zimbabwean plateau, Great Zimbabwe is set apart by the terrific scale of its structure. Its most formidable edifice, commonly referred to as the Great Enclosure, has walls as high as 36 feet extending approximately 820 feet, making it the largest ancient structure south of the Sahara Desert.


Great Zimbabwe’s most enduring and impressive remains are its stone walls. These walls were constructed from granite blocks gathered from the exposed rock of the surrounding hills. Since this rock naturally splits into even slabs and can be broken into portable sizes, it provided a convenient and readily available building resource. All of Great Zimbabwe’s walls were fitted without the use of mortar by laying stones one on top of the other, each layer slightly more recessed than the last to produce a stabilizing inward slope.


wp-content/uploads/2016/05/great-zimbabwe-2.jpg

Little is known about the Bantu-speaking people who built Great Zimbabwe or how their society was organized. The ruling elite appears to have controlled wealth through the management of cattle, which were the staple diet at Great Zimbabwe. At its height, Great Zimbabwe is estimated to have had a population greater than 10,000, although the majority lived at some distance from the large stone buildings.

wp-content/uploads/2016/05/great-zimbabwe-3.jpg


The enormous walls are the best-preserved testaments of Great Zimbabwe’s past and the largest example of an architectural type seen in archaeological sites throughout the region.


In addition to architecture, Great Zimbabwe’s most famous works of art are the eight birds carved of soapstone that were found in its ruins. The birds surmount columns more than a yard tall and are themselves on average sixteen inches tall. Although their precise significance is still unknown, these sculptures remain powerful symbols of rule in the modern era, adorning the flag of Zimbabwe as national emblems.





--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Registered Seller of Travel License # 602 127 852.    •   

All rights reserved. Nothing contained on this website may be reproduced without express written permission. African Safari Company does not assume responsibility for errors or omissions in the content of this website.