The Great Zimbabwe was the capital city of The Kingdom of Zimbabwe, which ruled a large part of Africa between the years 1100 A.D. and 1400 A.D. The city, which is now just a ruin, once housed as many as 18,000 people and was the cultural and economic hub of Southern Africa for almost 300 years.
The city had many modern features, including an impressive wall that measured nearly five feet tall and was contracted of stone and mortar. The city also contained the royal residence, from where the monarch of Zimbabwe ruled.
The city contains the oldest known exampled of southern African architecture. One of the most impressive parts of the city was the Great Enclosure, which had walls that measured at least 36 feet tall in some areas. It is the largest construction project south of the Sahara Desert, matched only by the likes of the Great Pyramids and Timbuktu.
Archeologist note the variety of trade goods that point to the great span of trade routes leading to the city, which brought goods from as far away as Arabia and China. This speaks to the reach of ancient Zimbabwean kings. The Great Zimbabwe benefitted greatly from the Gold and Salt Trade that developed around the 1200’s in this region.
Although there is no clear reason for decline, people have speculated that famine, political instability or a shift in trade to the kingdoms of West Africa may have all contributed to its eventual abandonment.