History – Culture – Great Zimbabwe


Quick Fix History

Tucked away in the interior of southern Africa lies the ancient city of Great Zimbabwe. These ruins were once the bustling capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe.

Quick Fix FactsGreat Zimbabwe
PeriodAround 1000-1450 CE
PopulationUpwards of 18,000
SizeAbout 3 sq mi (7.7 sq km)

The word “Zimbabwe” means “Houses of Stone”. A fitting name since many houses, temples, and walls were built from blocks of granite. One set of ruins, known as the Great Enclosure, protected the king’s palace and boasted a massive outer wall made up of over 100,000 tons of granite!


The farmers, craftsmen, and artisans of Great Zimbabwe lived in sophisticated round houses made from daga, a building material of clay and gravel.

Quick Fix FactsThe Great Enclosure
Height35 ft (10.7 m)
WidthUp to 17 ft (5.2 m) at the base
Length830 ft (253 m)

Gold, ivory, soapstone carvings, and ornaments of precious metals were among Great Zimbabwe’s exports, which supplied the merchants of the Swahili and helped to drive Indian Ocean trade. Chinese stoneware and glazed dishes, Persian painted bowls, and colored glass from the Middle East have all been found among the ruins of Great Zimbabwe!

Great Zimbabwe is just one of hundreds of similar ruins that are spread over an area of more than 270,000 sq mi (nearly 700,000 sq km) in modern day Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique, and South Africa. These magnificent ruins are a lasting testament to African ingenuity and craftsmanship!

Who, what, or where will we discover next?


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