The ruins of Great Zimbabwe are the largest archaeological site in Africa and is located some 30 km in the southeastern town of Masvingo, Province of Zimbawe, south of the great Egyptian pyramids. The amazing ancient ruins are built of regular, rectangular granite stones precisely placed one upon another without being bonded with mortar.
These impressive monuments are ruined, which is understandable, given that they dated from about 1250 to 1450 AD and of ancestors of today's citizens of Zimbabwe. Such old buildings do not occur elsewhere in Africa.
Stone ruins are spread over an area of 200 square meters, and the very name of the country comes from them. Stone city appears for the first time in 13th century on the map of Africa.
For 300 years Great Zimbabwe flourished and grew as the capital of the vast empire as it traded gold and ivory. The period from 1250 or 1450 was the most progressive state, but then numbered more than 20 000 people.
Its prosperity is mainly due to the livestock, trade in gold, iron, ivory, and in return they received from Arab traders ceramics and clothes. After the 15th century then began the decline of Great Zimbabwe. In the 16th century merchants arriving from Portugal were the first Europeans that set foot near these ruins.
Today the stone arrays are part of world heritage of UNESCO. The two largest sites are Hills complex and Road barrier. Hills complex is located on a granite dome that overlooks the rest of the area.
The Road barrier is the stone ruins that impress with its uniqueness. Diameter is 89 meters and the long wall is 244 m. The most massive part of the wall holds a thickness of 5 meters and its height reaches 10 meters.
It ends with towers and monoliths, which were once engraved images of birds. Inside are towering remnants of a huge tower, but what it was used for is still a mystery.
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