The ancient city of Great Zimbabwe are the oldest known buildings in the country - estimated to be built between 1100 and 1450 AD. The many ruins spread over about 800Ha of land in 3 main sections; the Hill Ruins (Acropolis), the Valley Ruins and the most-known and visited Great Enclosure.
The Great Enclosure
Built in the form of an ellipse - the enclosure has a series of living quarters , a community gathering area and a narrow passage way leading to the conical tower. The conical tower is the main attraction of the enclosure and often used on symbolic Zimbabwean paperwork, signage, logo’s and currency. This was believed to be the living areas of the king or chief, women and children - in sight of the hill ruins where men and soldiers would watch over the area for danger and intruders.
The Hill Ruins (Acropolis)
Located at the top of a granite hill within the site the Hill Ruins form a huge mass of rocks built within the rockfaces, many paths and passages lead to different viewing points - which was what lead to the belief that men and soldiers would be based up here to keep an eye on the approaching traders and colonies. Also known as the ‘royal city’ because this is where it was known to host the steatite upright posts which were topped with the original Zimbabwe birds (featured on the Zimbabwean flag) that can now be viewed in the Great Zimbabwe Museum.
The Valley Ruins
This series of living ensembles scalters through the valley behind the Great Enclosure - considered to be the most recent of the ruins only built in the 1800’s. These constructions were thought to be the more advanced building style - with intricate craftsmanship resembling the later Stone Ages - incorporating an impressive exhibition of chevron and chequered wall decorations.
Visiting the Great Zimbabwe Ruins is one of the highlights of the Masvingo area, and relatively easy to get to from Romelda Lakeside Retreat. A 40km drive either back through Masvingo town and on the Main Beitbridge Road or over Murray McDougall Drive, around the lake, through the traditional farmlands and over the Dam Wall. National Monuments charge a small fee for entrance and the option to take a guided tour - contact us for assistance with planning your visit to Great Zimbabwe Ruins.