7 Amazing Historical Sites in Africa

7 Amazing Historical Sites in Africa

The continent of Africa is home to some amazing historical sites that give a glimpse of Africa's rich civilizational history.

1/7 Olduvai Gorge

Olduvai Gorge

Olduvai Gorge is an important archaeological site located in Tanzania's Great Rift Valley. It is renowned for its archaeological significance, as it has produced the most fossilized human remains in the world, including some of the oldest Homo sapiens remains ever discovered. The site is also known for its wide variety of animal fossils, which provide important information about the environment and climate of the Pleistocene era. Olduvai Gorge is located in the southeastern part of the Serengeti Plains of northern Tanzania. It was discovered by the German paleontologist, Ludwig Kohl-Larsen, in 1931. Over the years, the site has been extensively excavated by various researchers, resulting in the discovery of numerous fossilized remains of animals and humans, as well as tools believed to have been used by early humans. The most famous fossils found in Olduvai Gorge are the remains of Homo habilis and Homo erectus, which date back to 1.8 million to 1.2 million years ago. These remains have been extremely valuable in helping to understand the evolution of human beings. In addition, the site has yielded numerous remains of animals such as antelope, elephants, giraffes, and rhinoceroses. These fossilized remains provide information about the Pleistocene environment, climate, and animal life of the area. The archaeological materials found in Olduvai Gorge include stone tools, such as flint and obsidian, used by early humans for cutting and scraping. These tools are believed to have been used for hunting, gathering, and making fire. In addition, the site has yielded a variety of animal bones, which provide evidence of early human subsistence activities, such as scavenging and hunting. 

2/7 Thebes

Thebes, located on the eastern bank of the Nile River in modern-day Luxor, Egypt, is an ancient city with a rich history and profound cultural significance. Also known as Waset or Niwt-Rst, it served as the capital of Egypt during various periods, including the Middle Kingdom and the New Kingdom. Thebes was renowned for its grandeur and opulence, boasting magnificent temples, splendid palaces, and impressive tombs. The city's most iconic landmark is the Temple of Karnak, a vast religious complex dedicated to the worship of Amun, Mut, and Khonsu. Its monumental pylons, colossal statues, and ornate hieroglyphics provide a glimpse into the architectural prowess of the ancient Egyptians. Another prominent religious site in Thebes is the Temple of Luxor, dedicated to the rejuvenation of kingship and the deity Amun. The temple's grand entrance, known as the Avenue of Sphinxes, lined with statues of these mythical creatures, leads to the awe-inspiring Hypostyle Hall and the birthplace of the annual Opet Festival. The Valley of the Kings, situated on the west bank of Thebes, is a necropolis that served as the final resting place for numerous pharaohs and nobles. The exquisite tombs carved into the rock, adorned with intricate paintings and hieroglyphics, offer unparalleled insights into the funerary practices and religious beliefs of the ancient Egyptians. Among the most famous tombs in the Valley of the Kings are those of Tutankhamun, Ramses II, and Seti I. Thebes was not merely a city of religious significance but also a thriving hub of art, culture, and intellectual pursuits. It was home to renowned artisans and craftsmen who produced exquisite sculptures, intricate jewelry, and elaborate wall paintings that depicted various aspects of daily life, mythology, and the pharaohs' achievements. Today, Thebes stands as an archaeological treasure trove and provides a deeper understanding of Egypt's captivating past.

3/7 Leptis Magna

Leptis Magna

Leptis Magna was an ancient Roman city located in modern-day Libya. It was originally a Phoenician trading post, founded by the seafaring Phoenicians in the 10th century BC, and was later conquered by the Romans in the 2nd century BC. During the Roman period, Leptis Magna became an important commercial and military hub, and was renowned for its wealth and grandeur. The city was renowned for its impressive architecture and monuments, including a hippodrome, amphitheatre, baths, temples, and a forum. The city’s most famous monument is the Arch of Septimius Severus, which was built in 203 AD to commemorate the victories of the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus. The arch is decorated with reliefs depicting scenes from the emperor’s life. Leptis Magna was also famous for its industries, such as olive oil production and the making of pottery. The city’s port was a major trading centre, and was used to export goods to the rest of the Roman Empire. Despite its great wealth and prosperity, Leptis Magna was eventually abandoned in the 7th century AD due to the decline of the Roman Empire. In the late 19th century, the ruins of Leptis Magna were rediscovered and excavations of the site began. Today, the ruins of the city are a popular tourist attraction, and provide an insight into the magnificence of the Roman Empire.

4/7 Meroe


Meroe is an ancient city located in present day Sudan. It was once the capital of the Kingdom of Kush, an ancient Nubian kingdom that flourished from the 8th century BC until the 4th century AD. Meroe is renowned for its ancient ruins, which are some of the best-preserved in the world. The ruins of Meroe are located on a large bend of the Nile River and include several pyramids and temples which date back as far as the 8th century BC. The most impressive of these structures is known as the "Great Enclosure," a walled complex of temples, palaces and other structures. The ruins include a number of royal tombs, as well as the remains of a royal palace. The ruins of Meroe are a testament to the power and wealth of the Kushite kingdom. Meroe was well-fortified, with a defensive wall and several fortified gates. The city was also home to a thriving trade network, which connected the kingdom to the Mediterranean world and beyond. The city of Meroe was also a major center of culture. The city's temples were decorated with hieroglyphics, while its palaces were adorned with art and sculpture. The city was also home to a thriving music and theater scene, as well as a vibrant intellectual life. The city of Meroe was eventually abandoned in the 4th century AD. Since then, the ruins of Meroe have been the subject of archaeological investigations and have become a major tourist attraction. The city remains an important symbol of the power and wealth of the ancient Kushite kingdom.

5/7 Great Zimbabwe

Great Zimbabwe

Great Zimbabwe is the ruins of a city that was once the capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe in the 11th and 15th centuries. It is located in the modern-day nation of Zimbabwe, near the town of Masvingo, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city was founded by the ancestors of the Shona people, who were among the Bantu-speaking people who migrated southward into the area in the 10th century. It is believed that the city was initially built as a trading center, and it became a major center of trade in the region. It is the largest ancient structure in sub-Saharan Africa and is considered an architectural masterpiece. The city was composed of three main areas: the Hill Complex, the Valley Complex, and the Great Enclosure. The Hill Complex was where the rulers of the city resided and carried out their religious and administrative affairs. The Valley Complex was the industrial and trading center of the city, and the Great Enclosure was used for ceremonies and as a fortress. The city was built with a distinctive dry-stone walling technique, which is still used in the region today, and is comprised of granite blocks. It is believed that the city was abandoned in the 15th century due to the depletion of the gold and ivory resources in the area, and the subsequent decline of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe. Today, the ruins of Great Zimbabwe are a major tourist attraction in the region, and are a testament to the rich cultural heritage of the people of Zimbabwe. The ruins are still being studied by historians, archaeologists, and anthropologists in order to better understand the sophisticated nature of the people who lived in the city centuries ago.

6/7 Rock-hewn churches of Lalībela

Rock-hewn churches of Lalībela

The Rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia, are a series of remarkable monolithic churches carved from solid rock, the most famous and most impressive of which is the Church of St. George. The 11 churches, which are all part of the same complex, are believed to have been built around the 12th century during the reign of King Lalibela, who was dedicated to restoring the glory of the ancient Solomonic dynasty. The churches are carved out of a single piece of rock, with some of them containing intricate details, such as doors, windows, columns and arches. The largest of the churches is the vast Church of St. George, which measures over 23 meters long and 13 meters wide and is built into the side of a hill. Inside the church, there are several passageways, chapels and a holy of holies, which is said to contain the remains of King Lalibela, as well as the tombs of his mother and his brother. The other 10 churches are similar in design, though some are smaller than the Church of St. George. The Church of the Cross is a particularly noteworthy one, as it is built into a cross-shaped cave. The Church of St. Mary is also noteworthy, as it is the only one to have a roof. The churches of Lalibela are remarkable for their age and the intricate details that are carved into the rock. They are a testament to the ingenuity and skill of the builders and to the dedication of King Lalibela. For centuries, they have acted as a pilgrimage site for many Ethiopians and are a symbol of the deep faith that the people of Ethiopia have in their religion. The churches of Lalibela are a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, and they remain one of Ethiopia's most famous and awe-inspiring attractions.

7/7 Timbuktu


Timbuktu, also known as Tombouctou, is an ancient city in Mali, West Africa. It is located on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert and is an important center of Islamic culture, learning, and trade. It has a long and rich history that dates back to the 11th century, when it became an important trading post for merchants of gold, salt, and slaves. Timbuktu was once a major center of Islamic learning, with numerous mosques and madrasas (Islamic schools). Its libraries were renowned for their manuscripts, some of which were written in African languages. The city was also known for its architectural splendor, featuring beautiful buildings with intricate carvings and intricate tilework. Timbuktu has been in decline since the late 19th century, when French colonialists conquered the region and brought an end to the trans-Saharan trade. The city has been subject to several conflicts and occupations since then, including ones by the Tuareg and other local tribes, as well as more recent Islamist militants. Today, Timbuktu is a small, dusty trading town with a population of around 54,000. The city is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and there are plans to help restore it to its former glory. While the city may not be as prosperous or grand as it once was, it still serves as an important reminder of West Africa’s rich cultural and historical heritage.

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