Related News

Home » World

Stonehenge draws all types on year's longest day

THOUSANDS of neo-Druids, New Age followers and the curious flocked to Britain's Stonehenge yesterday, beating drums and dancing in celebration of the year's longest day.

The ancient stone circle in southern England is the site of an annual night-long party - or religious ceremony, depending on perspective - marking the northern hemisphere's summer solstice.

"There has been a great atmosphere and where else would you want to be on midsummer's day?" said Peter Carson of English Heritage, who is in charge of the monument.

Camera flashes bounced off the stones through the night until patchy rays of sunlight peaked through the clouds at 4:58am.

A weak cheer went up as dawn broke and an estimated 35,000 people, some of them wrapped in blankets, greeted the sunrise.

Police arrested about 30 people on charges including drug offenses, assault, and drunk and disorderly conduct, but said the event was largely peaceful.

Popular attraction

"They come for a complete range of reasons," said archaeologist Dave Batchelor of English Heritage, the site's caretaker.

"Some belong to the Druidic religion and think of it as a temple, others think of it as a place of their ancestors, or for tranquility and others come to see it as a way to celebrate the changing of the seasons."

Stonehenge, which sits on Salisbury Plain about 130 kilometers southwest of London, is one of Britain's most popular tourist attractions, visited by more than 750,000 people a year. It was built in three phases between 3,000 BC and 1,600 BC.

Mystery surrounding the monument has long prompted speculation about its original function and gives it even more of an allure, Batchelor said.

One theory is that the stone circle was a grave site.

Gaisva Milinkeviciute, 30, an East London yoga instructor originally from Lithuania, came with two friends.

"This place actually gives people so much energy and thoughts, things that we kind of neglect in the daily lives and wish for," Milinkeviciute said. "We can come here and make them come true."


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend