The World Heritage Site, the Great Zimbabwe Ruins are sub-Saharan Africa's most important and largest stone ruins. Near to the town of Masvingo the large towers and structures of the ruins were built out of millions of stones balanced perfectly on top of one another without the aid of mortar.
These are the remains of a great city which existed here from the 11th century one and is estimated to have had over 18 000 inhabitants. These Great Zimbabwean people traded gold and ivory with the Swahili, Portuguese and Arabs who were sailing down the Mozambique coast and who brought with them wears such as porcelain, cloth and glass. This trade ensured that the city flourished for over 300 years and an empire of huge stone buildings was built, spreading out over 200 square miles.
Various tribes in Zimbabwe claim that Great Zimbabwe was built by their ancestors, however, archaeologists generally agree that the Lemba tribe are most likely responsible. By the 15th Century, Great Zimbabwe was abandoned most believe due to a decline in trade compared to sites further north, political instability and famine and water shortages induced by climatic change.
Activities on holidays to the Great Zimbabwe Ruins are based around daily guided tours and visiting a museum nearby, which holds the archaeological artefacts recovered from the site.
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