Great Zimbabwe was the Capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe and was constructed as a royal palace for the Zimbabwean monarch. Its walls that are made entirely of stone are over 500 metres high and were built without using mortar. When the city was abandoned, it fell to ruin and was named the Zimbabwe Ruins. There are 200 smaller ruins that are named ‘zimbabwes’ all over the Zimbabwe Highveld, however, Great Zimbabwe is the largest.
Construction of these walls began in the 11th century and continued for over 300 years. These are some of the oldest and largest ruins in Southern Africa. It is believed there were about 18 000 inhabitants who were either members of the Gokomere or Lemba culture.
There are two main areas of the great ruins – The Hill Complex and The Great Enclosure. The Hill Complex is on top of a large granite dome that overlooks the site. It has small enclosures that are separated by narrow, winding passages. The Great Enclosure is a large stone enclosure with a diameter of 89 metres. The wall is 5 metres thick and 10 metres high, and the top has turrets and monoliths where carvings of birds used to sit. These ruins still stand long after many buildings made with mortar and cathedrals of Europe have fallen. A testimony to the great architecture and builders of the time.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia