The construction on the monument by ancestors of the Shona people began in the 11th century and continued until the 15th century, spanning an area of 722 hectares which, at its peak, could have housed up to 18,000 people. It is recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The ruins that survived the centuries were built entirely of stone. They include 1800 Acre (7 km²) and extend of a radius of 100 to 200 miles (160 to 320 km).
The type of stone structures that were found at the site gives an indication of the location of the citizenry. The more elaborate and sophisticated structures were probably created for the kings and were found further away from the city centre.