The African continent has a lengthy history of human habitation, which is evidenced by several incredible historical sites. Take a look at these striking illustrations of culture, architecture, and evolution:
- Olduvai Gorge
The oldest continuous record of human evolution is found in Tanzania’s Olduvai or Olduwai Gorge (east of the Serengeti Plain), where fossil remains of more than 60 hominins have been discovered. This is where Mary and Louis Leakey made their discovery.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area in northern Tanzania encompasses this paleoanthropological site in the eastern Serengeti Plain. The deposits of Olduvai Gorge are unique because they contain the fossil remains of more than 60 hominins (human predecessors), dating from 2.1 million to 15,000 years ago. The most extensive known record of human evolution over the last two million years has been provided by it.
One of the famous ancient cities was Thebes. On both sides of the Nile River in what is now Egypt, its ruins may be found, many of which date back to the 11th dynasty (2081–1939 BCE) of ancient Egypt. Along with Luxor, the Valley of the Kings, the Valley of the Queens, and Karnak, the Thebes region is home to numerous other noteworthy archaeological sites. The ruins discovered at these locations, which include remarkable temples, palaces, and royal tombs, offer a glimpse into the daily life, religious practices, and architecture of ancient Egypt.
3. Leptis Magna
The largest city in the historic Tripolitania was Leptis Magna. Some of the most impressive Roman architectural artifacts in the world as a whole can be found there. It sits on the Mediterranean coast of what is currently northwest Libya. The Phoenicians founded this city as early as the seventh century BCE, while the Carthaginians settled there later, most likely around the end of the sixth century BCE. The city developed into a significant trans-Saharan and Mediterranean trading hub. Leptis Magna was traded and finally rose to prominence as one of the most well-known Roman cities. It was in full bloom between the years of Septimius Severus (193-211 CE) and later experienced considerable decrease because of regional unrest. After being taken over by Arabs in 642 CE, it fell into ruin and was eventually buried in sand and was unearthed in the early 20th century.
On the east bank of the Nile River which has now become Sudan, the remains of the historic Kushitic city of Meroe can be found. It was founded in the first millennium BCE. Around 750 BCE, it became the Kush kingdom’s southern administrative hub and later its capital. After being attacked by Aksumite soldiers in the fourth century CE, it started to deteriorate. In the early 20th century, excavations uncovered some of the town after the ruins were identified for the first time in the 19th century. Meroe’s structures like pyramids, palaces, and temples are magnificent displays of the art and culture of the Kush kingdom.
5. Great Zimbabwe
Great Zimbabwe served as the epicenter of a wealthy commercial empire that was built on cattle breeding, farming, and the gold trade along the Indian Ocean coast from the 11th to the 15th century. In the southeast of the current nation of Zimbabwe lie the massive stone remnants of this African Iron Age metropolis. It is estimated that there were 10,000–20,000 Shona living in the core ruins and the adjacent valley. The location is renowned for its stonework and other indications of a highly developed society. As a result, it was mistakenly credited to a number of ancient civilizations, including the Phoenicians, Greeks, and Egyptians.
6. Rock-hewn churches of Lalībela
The north-central Ethiopia town of Lalībela is renowned for its rock-hewn churches, which were constructed in the late 12th and early 13th centuries. The 11 churches were constructed under the rule of Emperor Lalbela and are significant in Ethiopian Christian culture. The churches are divided into two main groupings and connected by underground corridors. House of Medhane Alem (“Saviour of the World”), the largest church, House of Golgotha, which houses Lalībela’s tomb, and House of Mariam, which is renowned for its murals, are notable among the 11 churches. Thousands of pilgrims still flock to the churches on significant holy days hundreds of years after they were built.
The city of Timbuktu, which is now in Mali and is situated on the southern border of the Sahara, is significant historically because it functioned as both an Islamic cultural center from the 15th through the 17th centuries and a trans-Saharan commercial station. Around 1100 CE, Tuaregs constructed the city. It then joined the Mali Empire and had a number of ownership changes. There, throughout the 14th and 15th centuries, three of western Africa’s oldest mosques were built namely: Djinguereber (Djingareyber), Sankore, and Sidi Yahia; Djinguereber was commissioned by the renowned Mali emperor Mūsā.