Stonehenge :: Wiltshire, England
Take a step back in time to a world of magic, mystery, and sacred rituals. Stonehenge, located in Wiltshire, England, is an ancient monument begun in approximately 3100 BC as a series of earthen mounds and wooden posts. Completed around 1500 BC the only stone circle with lintels on top has kept its true nature and purpose a mystery to scholars the world over. It has been regularly misattributed to Druid priests; however there is no historical evidence of Druids existing prior to 200 BC, leaving the completion of Stonehenge predating them by well over a thousand years. Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the current prevailing speculation as to the builders is a series of native peoples dating from the Neolithic Period to the Bronze Age with no specific religious ties. Rather, they each began, added to, and used the site for their own ritualistic purposes.
In modern times, Stonehenge is a major tourist attraction in the south end of England drawing about 800,000 visitors a year. Many who travel to Stonehenge are neo-druids, pagans, and neo-pagans looking to celebrate the summer and winter solstices and the spring and autumn equinoxes. These are also the only officially scheduled times of the year when people may walk among the stones. Since 1977, they have been roped off due to severe erosion from frequent touching and significant vandalism caused by those wishing to take a piece of the stones home with them. If you are planning a trip to Stonehenge, English Heritage (a public advisory committee responsible for historic landmarks) can arrange special private tours to allow small groups to walk inside the circle outside of the officially scheduled days. Otherwise any day except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day the site welcomes travelers to this powerful and mystifying place to walk the grounds around the stones and take advantage of the many photo opportunities you will find there.
Make sure to take advantage of the complimentary audio tour which provides many additional bits of facts, trivia, and information related to Stonehenge and its history. Most recently, a series of archeological digs in and around the site have provided a wealth of information on the possible construction methods, the cultures of those who built this monument over 1600 years, and the extensive burial practices of those who worshiped here so long ago. In a place steeped in so much mysticism and history, it’s hard not to find yourself connecting with those ancient people who called to the sun and the moon from Stonehenge all those centuries past. Come and experience the magic and wonder that has been captivating visitors for nearly 5000 years.
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