What You Should Know About the Great Zimbabwe Ruins

By | November 27, 2018

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Zimbabwean tourists visit the Great Zimbabwe, the ancient site where Shona kings once held sway, in Masvingo, the capital of their Munhumutapa empire.

In sub-Saharan Africa, there are the ruins of a once-great city in a desolate are of Zimbabwe near the country’s border with Mozambique. Known as Great Zimbabwe, the ruined city lent its name to the entire country when it was founded in 1965. The complex at Great Zimbabwe is so well-built and massive that when it was first discovered by European explorers, they assumed it was built by outsiders…that it was too sophisticated in its construction to be the work of native Africans. But we now know that that attitude is both elitist and wrong. Great Zimbabwe is a true Africa empire that has yielded many clues about Africa’s rich past. 

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The Ruins Point to an Ancient Grandeur

Great Zimbabwe was the rich and powerful capital of the Zimbabwe Kingdom and the royal home of the ruling class. Archaeologists believe that construction on Great Zimbabwe began in the 11th century and continued until the 14th century. The complex is sprawling, covering more than 1,700 acres. At its heyday, Great Zimbabwe probably housed about 18,000 people.