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Geo Files: Thousands celebrate the summer solstice at Stonehenge

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People raise their hands in meditation during the summer solstice, shortly after 4:52 a.m. at Stonehenge, in Salisbury, England. Modern-day druids, pagans and partygoers crammed into the mystic stone circle to cheer, bang drums and shake tambourines in an effort to greet the sun on the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. Stonehenge, on the Salisbury Plain, about 80 miles southwest of London, was built over three phases between 3000 B.C. and 1600 B.C. It is one of Britain’s most popular tourist attractions, with more than 750,000 visitors every year.

People raise their hands in meditation during the summer solstice, shortly after 4:52 a.m. at Stonehenge, in Salisbury, England. Modern-day druids, pagans and partygoers crammed into the mystic stone circle to cheer, bang drums and shake tambourines in an effort to greet the sun on the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. Stonehenge, on the Salisbury Plain, about 80 miles southwest of London, was built over three phases between 3000 B.C. and 1600 B.C. It is one of Britain’s most popular tourist attractions, with more than 750,000 visitors every year.

Visitors make their annual pilgrimage to Stonehenge to celebrate the first day of the summer. Police said Monday that they had made 34 arrests, the majority for drug possession, and reported no serious problems. A bubble floats past revelers as they watch the sun rise over the megalithic Stonehenge monument. Unlike previous recent years, when the sunrise has been obscured by clouds, the 2010 summer solstice was marked by a bright sun that bathed Stonehenge in orange and gold.

The origins of Stonehenge are still a mystery, but theories suggest the grounds were part of an astronomical calendar. Others say an ancient sun-worshiping culture aligned the monument with the midsummer sunrise and the midwinter sunset. About 20,000 people crowded the prehistoric Stonehenge in Salisbury Plain, in southern England, to see the sunrise after an annual all-night party. People wait for the sunrise early Monday morning. The summer solstice is one of the few times people are allowed to step inside the stone circle, which has been roped off since 1978, following years of erosion and vandalism. The sun rises behind Stonehenge as revelers celebrate the summer solstice. Thousands gather at the landmark every year to see the sun rise on the first morning of summer. Source: The Washington Post

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Written by Theophyle

June 22, 2010 at 2:41 pm

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