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Great Zimbabwe

Updated: May 16


Masvingo, town, south-central Zimbabwe

Masvingo, town, south-central Zimbabwe It was founded in 1890 near the Macheke and Mshangashe rivers and became a municipality in 1953.

The town is a commercial centre for cattle ranching and agriculture (grain, cotton, tobacco, fruit, and sugar). There is gold mining in the vicinity. Masvingo is a tourist base for Kyle National Park, Mushandike National Park, and the Great Zimbabwe Ruins.

The central area of ruins extends about 200 acres (80 hectares), making Great Zimbabwe the largest of more than 150 major stone ruins scattered across the countries of Zimbabwe.

Great Zimbabwe is the name of the stone ruins of an ancient city near modern day Masvingo, Zimbabwe. People lived in Great Zimbabwe beginning around 1100 C.E. but abandoned it in the 15th century. The city was the capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe, which was a Shona (Bantu) trading empire. Zimbabwe means “stone houses” in Shona.

Great Zimbabwe was a medieval African city known for its large circular wall and tower. It was part of a wealthy African trading empire that controlled much of the East African coast.

The ruins of Great Zimbabwe were designated a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage Site in 1986.

Great Zimbabwe consists of several sections. The first section is the Hill Complex,The Hill Complex is the oldest part of Great Zimbabwe, and shows signs of construction that date to around 900 C.E.

The second section, The Great Enclosure is a walled, circular area below the Hill Complex dating to the 14th century. The walls are over 9.7 meters (32 feet) high in places, and the enclosure’s circumference is 250 meters (820 feet).The walls were built without mortar, relying on carefully shaped rocks to hold the wall’s shape on their own. Inside the enclosure is a second set of walls, following the same curve as the outside walls, which end in a stone tower 10 meters (33 feet) high.

The third section is the Valley Ruins. The Valley Ruins consist of a significant number of houses made mostly of mud-brick (daga) near the Great Enclosure. The distribution and number of houses suggests that Great Zimbabwe boasted a large population, between 10,000–20,000 people.

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