Great Zimbabwe – the main sanctuary and the cult center of ancestors of the Shona, a World Heritage Site. Great Zimbabwe – the only ancient group of stone buildings in all of Africa south of the Sahara. Until now, archaeologists argue about who built this city and can not come to a consensus. centuries, the mystery of the ancient buildings of the complex sub-Saharan Africa is haunted by historians and archaeologists.
Trying to determine the origin of Great Zimbabwe, the researchers found his connection with the biblical characters – King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Advanced civilizations existed in Africa before the arrival of Arab traders who settled here in the XI century. Between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers found numerous ruins of stone buildings, but Big Zimbabwe, whose name was given, and the modern state is worth in this series alone. Zimbabwe – this changed the English style African word meaning stone house.
The fortress was built of stone – unusual for Africa building material. The complex of Great Zimbabwe are scattered in an area of 24 hectares in the upper part of the valley. Its main building – Big fort enclosed by an ellipse on the outer wall of a length of 250 m Three narrow passage in the wall leading to the inner territory partitioned other stone walls and passages. The most curious construction of a large settlement – conical tower near the outer wall. This superb example of the method of construction of dry stone towers on 9 m, the length of its circumference at the base of 17 m Its shape resembles a tower silo farmers local Shona tribe, but because of his absolute solidity of construction assignment is an unsolvable mystery to archaeologists. Approximately 800 m north of the Greater settlement, on top of a granite hill, lie the ruins of another complex known as the Stone Fortress, or the Acropolis. He was also erected by the drywall. Narrow stairs, which you can only go in alone, are the inner labyrinth of smaller buildings. One of these areas was found seven statues of soapstone birds who had believed, for religious purposes, but now the picture of this bird has become a national emblem of Zimbabwe. The first Europeans to hear about the Great Zimbabwe were Portuguese traders, who arrived in Africa in the XVI century in search of gold. About 50 years later, the Portuguese missionary Joao dos Santos in his writings mentioned the same structure, indicating that some Africans believed their ruins gold mines owned by the Queen of Sheba, or perhaps King Solomon. Dos Santos himself believed it mines of King Solomon, referred to in the Bible as the gold mines in Ophir. Generally speaking, no one has seen firsthand the Portuguese Great Zimbabwe – the legend of its existence passed from mouth to mouth by African traders. However, it was believed that the biblical land of Ophir obnaruzhena. Pozdnee, in the middle of the XVII century, the stone ruins of Ophir tried to find the Dutch who settled in South Africa, but did not succeed. In 1867, the German geologist Carl Mauch visited the Great Zimbabwe and his detailed report declared him the ruins of the palace of Queen of Sheba. In 1905, English archaeologist David Randall-McIver firmly rejected this conclusion and began his excavations in the Greater fort and the Acropolis. During the work, he suggested that these ruins are not that old, and that the construction of the complex began in the XI century and ended in the XV.
Subsequent archaeological research has confirmed its conclusion, proving also that the area was originally mastered in the III century. Most experts agree that the Great Zimbabwe was designed and built by Africans. There remains, however, unclear why it was built of stone, and not from the traditional African wood and clay. Located near the old mine indicates that this place is likely to be the center of the ore production in Africa, fallen into decay in the XV century. British archaeologist Roger Summers, who studied in the 1958 Mines of Zimbabwe, concluded that these methods are applied to the extraction of ore is likely to have come from India. Items found here belong to the Arab and Persian cultures, and prove that the people of Great Zimbabwe maintained contact with the outside world. But without the written evidence it is difficult to ascertain the facts. So grandiose stone ruins that lie in a frame the picturesque hills remain only extant evidence of a civilization lost in time. Large Zimbabwe found in 1888. Zimbabwe architecture is unique and belongs solely to the African type. Most large buildings – the castle on the hill Acropolis and the elliptical building called the Temple of length 90 and a width of 60 meters.
In one version of an elliptical building is a replica of the Queen of Sheba’s palace in Jerusalem, and the Acropolis – a copy of Solomon’s Temple on Mount Moriah. Remarkable quality of masonry, especially in the north-eastern part of the wall of the temple. Mostly it is 10 meters in height and the width at the base of 6 meters. At the upper end of a belt zigzag patterned brickwork, the fourth wall, the length of which is 244 meters. Stonemasons-hewn granite blocks and arranged them by regular rows around the central stone. This wall, like others, are in the fence, a few curved. The function of internal walls and walkways are still not clear. But the design does not look as if it had a roof. Similarly, no clear role conical tower, which again raises the zigzag pattern. Masonry style is very similar to the walls of the city Western Sudan. Inside the outer wall of a temple are smaller in size ellipses walls. Of the buildings drew the tower 6 m wide and 10 m high It has no stairs, no windows or even entrance, and inside is filled with stones. Acropolis stands on the slope height of 27 meters, it can be reached by stairs.
The steps were carved into the rock, they are just so wide that it could rise by one person. This place was also protected by a wall. On the track width of 4 meters, extending along the upper portion thereof, were placed at a certain distance monolithic columns. Emerged in the VII century and lasted until XVIII, Zimbabwe represents a layer cake. Its foundations significantly more years, beginning no one was looking … destroys the ring of stone walls and platforms about 250 meters in circumference as previously thought belonged to the palace complex of the local rulers about 800 years ago. But Richard Wade of the Nkwe Ridge Observatory thinks that building was used is similar to the famous Stonehenge in Britain. Location of walls, complex characters on the stone monoliths and the position of a high tower suggests that the medieval Zimbabwe was used as a set, to observe the moon, the sun, the planets and the stars for centuries. The importance of Great Zimbabwe is that it was the capital of the only known sub-Saharan African Empire, which existed nearly 1,000 years, – says Wade.
Several stone monoliths are aligned with some of the bright stars in the constellation Orion, as they go back in the morning of the shortest day of the year, the day of the winter solstice. Another monolith contains the marks that match the patterns of the orbits of Earth and Venus. These signs could be used to predict eclipses. In the most questionable assumption, Wade said that the tower in the complex was probably built to observe a supernova explosion about 1300 According to an ancient legend, believe that the ancestors of the local people migrated from the north, following an unusually bright star in the southern sky. At one time Great Zimbabwe was the main shrine and religious center of ancestors of the Bantu. The excavations revealed soapstone sculptures of birds, fragments of painted steatite dishes, beads and pottery. All evidence of an active trading past of the city. The word Zimbabwe, except for the basic values – stone house, and has an additional – the house of worship. Zimbabwe Ruins are not the only ones of their kind. In the vicinity of the port of Nova Mozambique are the ruins of several such structures, although smaller in size. It is safe to say that the elliptical wall did not serve defensive purposes.