The striking British landmark was built in three stages – and some parts of it are 5,000 years old.

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Stonehenge is one of the most recognisable and Instagrammed landmarks spots in Britain, but do you know its history?

But where are the famous standing stones and more importantly who put them there? Here’s what we know…

What is Stonehenge?

Instantly recognisable from the surrounding roads, Stonehenge is made up of a ring of standing stones – each of which are around 13ft (4.1 metres) high, 6ft 11in (2.1m) wide and weigh 25 tons.

The stones are set within a group of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments, as well as several hundred burial mounds.

Stonehenge was added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 1986, and is one of the most Instagrammed tourist attractions in Britain.

In 1915, wealthy Shrewton resident Sir Cecil Chubb became Stonehenge’s last private owner when he bought the site for £6,600. It is now estimated to be worth a huge £51 million.

He formally handed it over to the state three years later, with a number of conditions.

The site is managed by English Heritage – and is the third best view in Britain, according to a recent poll.

 

What is the history of Stonehenge?

Stonehenge was built in three stages, with some parts being a huge 5,000 years old.

The outer bank of Stonehenge was made in around 3000 BC, while the stone settings were built in 2500 BC.

Hundreds of people helped to construct the landmark – transporting the stones from the nearby Marlborough Downs and Preseli Hills, in south-west Wales.

The stones were then worked into shape using sarsen and flint hammerstones.

Today, Stonehenge is linked to the druids – and many people wrongly think they built the structure.

However, archaeologists believe it was constructed by three groups – the Neolithics, the Beaker people and the Wessex Peoples – who are said to have finalised the site into what we see today.

What happens during the Winter Solstice Festival?

Every year, hundreds of people gather at Stonehenge for The Winter Solstice, which falls around December 21.

It is the day with the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year.

Every year people gather at Stonehenge in the early morning to mark the Winter solstice and see the sun rise over the stones.

People also gather at Stonehenge on the eve of Midsumer’s Day, to celebrate the Summer Solstice.

At dawn on the longest day of the summer – which normally falls between June 20 and 22 – pagans, druids and other spectators gather to celebrate and watch the sunrise.

Spring Equinox, which falls around March 20, is also marked at the historic site.

What’s going on with the plans for a tunnel near Stonehenge?

The plans for a 1.8-mile dual carriageway tunnel near Stonehenge, have got the go-ahead from Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.

Some experts warned it would compromise the “precious” archaeology of the World Heritage Site.

But government agency Historic England, and the National Trust and English Heritage who manage the stone circle, welcomed the ruling. The A303 is often gridlocked there.

Time Team presenter Tony Robinson has previously described the scheme as “old-fashioned” because it “assumes what needs to be protected is that little clump of stones”.

He said the stone circle was invaluable, but over the past 20 to 30 years, experts had begun to appreciate that the area around it was a complex network of henges, pathways, barrows and track-ways.

Article Source: By Josie Griffiths: The Sun Online

Join us on a Stonehenge guided tour from London or Bath and join the Pagan celebrations at sunrise on the Winter Solstice. This is a popular tour and should be booked in advance: Stonehenge Winter Solstice Tour

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http://www.StonehengeTours.com

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The days are getting shorter, the nights are drawing in, and the Winter Solstice is just a a week away.  It may feel like the days can’t get any shorter, but we still haven’t yet reached the winter solstice , which is the shortest day of the year.

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The solstice marks the moment the sun shines at its most southern point, directly over the Tropic of Capricorn.

The world might look pretty grim now, but remember: as soon as the solstice has passed, the days will start getting longer again and you can start looking forward to Spring.

Here’s your guide to the darkest day of the year – and a few reasons to be cheerful about it.

What is the winter solstice?

The winter solstice marks the shortest day of the year and the official beginning of winter.

The solstice itself is the moment the sun is shining farthest to the south, directly over the Tropic of Capricorn.

When is the Winter Solstice?

The date of the winter solstice is different every year, falling between December 20th and 23rd.

This year, the solstice will occur on Wednesday, December 21. The sun will rise in the UK at 08:04 GMT and set at 15:54 GMT, giving just 7 hours and 49 minutes of daylight.

Traditions and rituals

The winter solstice is a major pagan festival, with rituals of rebirth having been celebrated for thousands of years.

Chief Druid leads the Winter Solstice service at Stonehenge

Chief Druid leads the Winter Solstice service at Stonehenge (Photo: PA)

Every year revellers gather at Stonehenge to watch the sunrise on the shortest day.

Many of the traditions we now think of as being part of Christmas – including Yule logs, mistletoe and Christmas trees – have their roots in the pagan celebrations of winter solstice.

Wait, the Christmas tree was originally a winter solstice tree?

Sort of. The Druids – the priests of the ancient Celts – used evergreen trees , holly and mistletoe as symbols of everlasting life during winter solstice rituals.

Cutting them down and putting them in their homes would have been too destructive to nature.

But when Saint Boniface, also known as Winfrith of Crediton, found a group of pagans worshipping an oak tree in 8th Century Germany, he cut the tree down.

Myth has it the converted pagans in the region returned the following year to decorate the fir tree.

Will the days start getting longer again?

Yes. After the solstice, the days will gradually get longer until the summer solstice on Wednesday, 21 June 2017.
Article by By  (Source The Mirror)

Experience sunrise at Stonehenge on the Winter Solstice with our exclusive guided tour from London or Bath.

Stonehenge Guided Tours
The Stonehenge Experts
http://www.StonehengeTours.com