Great Zimbabwe

Constructed between the 11th and 15th century by the Shona, Great Zimbabwe is the Iron Age capital of Zimbabwe. It is now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The stone city spans an area of 7.22 square kilometers and could have housed up to 18,000 people at its peak.

The ruins consist of three groups of architectural structures known as the Hill Complex, the Valley Complex and the Great Enclosure. The Great Enclosure which has the form of an ellipsis, dates to the 14th century. It consists of an Outer Wall and a smaller Inner Wall which encircles various structures. The main feature of the site is a Conical Tower between the Inner and Outer Walls. The Great Enclosure was built out of cut granite blocks without using any mortar.

Several artifacts have been recovered from the site of the Great Zimbabwe ruins. The most important are soapstone figures in the form of a bird. This figure became a national symbol and is still depicted on the national flag.


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