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People watch the sun rise

People watch the sun rise on the Stonehenge monument on the summer solstice near Amesbury, Britain, June 21, 2017. (Photo: Neil Hall/Reuters)

Summer solstice at Stonehenge

Around 13,000 people gathered at Stonehenge on Wednesday, June 21, to witness the summer solstice sunrise at Britain’s most famous prehistoric monument.

Druids and midsummer revellers witnessed the sun rise at 4:52am (0352 GMT) on the longest day of the year at the site, whose stones are aligned to the sun’s position when it rises on the solstice.

The mysterious circle of standing stones, on Salisbury Plain in southwest England, is one of the most famous ancient sites in Europe.

Some pagans hugged the carved bluestones while one group of revellers did yoga together and others laid their hands together on the stones and chanted. The summer solstice is the only time in the year when the precious stones can be touched.

Some visitors had garlands of flowers in their hair, played guitars or tambourines, while others simply laid down to soak up the atmosphere.

A UNESCO world heritage site, Stonehenge is one of the most impressive prehistoric megalithic monuments anywhere due to its size, sophisticated concentric plan and architectural precision.

Stonehenge was built in stages, from around 3,000 BC to 2,300 BC. (AFP)

Read more on the summer solstice in the Old Farmer’s Almanac and watch a live telescope event courtesy of Slooh.com

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