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Great Zimbabwe is located southeast of the town of Masvingo and is one of the best preserved stone cities in sub-Saharan Africa. The site itself is 722 hectares and the name is derived from Shona words meaning houses of stone.

Great Zimbabwe, ZimbabweThe ruins have been the subject of heated debate over the years from the early Europeans believing Africans could not have built them to Cecil Rhodes attributing the ruins to the Phoenicians. Historians believe that the first structures were erected around AD1100 and these were added to up until the 15th century with the purpose being more religious and political rather than for fortification.

The city was developed over the years as a tribute to a long succession of rulers whose kingdom stretched far and wide and was situated at a key trading position which lead to great wealth.

At its peak it is thought to be home to some 18,000 people who traded in cloth, beads and ceramics from Arabia and China, via traders from East Africa, for gold, ivory and copper.

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Map of Great Zimbabwe

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