By Ahmed Mheta
Huge granite dry-stone walls and massive granite boulders stacked upon one another are likely to capture any visitor’s attention. If the above are in your sight, you have reached Zimbabwe’s biggest stone kingdom known as the Great Zimbabwe Ruins. The stone kingdom is said to have been built in the 11th century by the Shona(Zimbabwe’s largest ethnic group). Mortar and granite stone boulders were used to build the massive walls and the rest of the ruins.
Early historians have found proof that the area where Great Zimbabwe is found inhabited approximately 18000 people who lived under the authority of a central power, the King. It was a city of a major state extending over the gold-rich plateau near the town of Masvingo and archeological evidence proves that Chinese pottery shards, coins from Arabia and glass beads have been excavated at the ruins . In addition, Great Zimbabwe was an ancient center for trading.
The stone structures are comprised of three main areas which are: a hill-top acropolis regarded as “royal city”, the Great enclosure which is built mainly of granite blocks and the Main Enclosure which consist of living ensembles in the valley. Soapstone birds are found within the ruins and the Zimbabwean nation has identified, and adopted its emblem the steatite bird which appears on the nation’s flag.
One cannot deny that the stone kingdom represents a high standard of craftsmanship since no cement or any other modern building material was used in the construction. All nature lovers will definitely enjoy visiting the Great Zimbabwe Kingdom and learning it’s rich history while being welcomed by the world-class hospitality offered by Zimbabweans.