An Indulgence Of Photographs
From The Great Zimbabwe Monument.
I suppose that's an appropriate collective noun for so many photos.
So I'll try to keep the words short. Not always successful on this blog.
"The postings needn't be long, but it takes a long while to make them short."
These photos were taken over two days, the first dull, dark and cloudy, the second bright and sunny.
It's a fairly fascinating place. Built as a royal capital city between the 12th and 15th centuries, at the height of its powers in the 13th and 14th centuries it was the largest settlement in southern Africa. The site extends to 720 hectares.
The centre of the city is the Hill Complex, built atop a 300ft granite hill.
Down in the valley is the Great Enclosure, the largest of the remaining city buildings and ruins which are spread out across the rest of the site.
The Hill Complex from the outside wall of the Great Enclosure
And from the opposite (east) side of the hill.
A section of the walls, beneath a few tons, or more, of 'balancing boulders'.
The narrow 'stairway' ascending the 300ft up to the Hill Complex.
And the view back down.
The Recess Enclosure inside the Hill Complex. Beyond is the Great Enclosure.
More stairs inside the Hill Complex.
Like much of East Africa this area is littered with volcanic boulders, ejected from the volcanoes of millions of years ago. They are categorised into two main types: "balancing boulders" and "whale boulders" depending on their appearance and demeanour.
Both types are scattered around Great Zimbabwe, including up in the Hill Complex.
Balancing boulder No.1, hanging above the Hill Complex.
Balancing boulder No.2
The main entrance to the enclosed part of the Hill Complex is at bottom right. You walk in and arrive right underneath this monster.......
........just here. Can't really see the overhang at this angle though.
Balancing boulder No.3. There's definitely nothing holding this one in place on its little sloping shelf, not a single Rawlbolt.
A few more.
The builders of Great Zimbabwe weren't bothered by a few balancing boulders, they just built their walls around and over them. The same with whale boulders, even up here on the hill-top.
This whale has a dry-stone wall on its back..........
and is even balancing a ball on its blow-hole.
A few million years ago many volcanoes hereabouts were in full spate. And wouldn't you know it? - all the pink and grey turret-shaped boulders fell to earth in the same spot, instantly building a Walt Disney magic castle, just like in the cartoons!
(Left in the far distance, the Great Enclosure is in the foreground)
A small part of the outside wall of the Great Enclosure. With all the grass here growing in red earth, it's to be expected I suppose that it turns red in the late winter.
The entire Great Enclosure wall.
Main entrance to the Great Enclosure.
Through the main Entrance.
Looking out through another entrance.
'The Parallel Corridor'.
The Great Enclosure is believed to have been a royal palace. This narrow and tall passageway inside the main wall leads about halfway round the enclosure to the Conical Tower and the back of what was once the throne area. Believed to have been used by waiters serving meals and the beer that was brewed here.
Conical Tower. Resembling a granary, but purpose unknown. It's height is presumed to represent the royal family's wealth. It's the tallest structure here.
Believed to be the main ceremonial area in front of the Conical Tower.
A good place for a moon shot, next to the Conical Tower.
From inside the enclosure.
And outside the main wall.
Another whale near the museum. There's even a water spout from his blow-hole. It just happens to be in the shape of a spindly tree.
Accommodation here is either camping or huts. Somehow or other my bike made a beeline for one of these.
Posted by Ken Thomas at August 24, 2010 10:42 AM GMT