Stonehenge summer solstice: Thousands gather to cheer sunrise

Crowds at Stonehenge Image copyright EPA

Thousands of people cheered sunrise at Stonehenge on summer solstice.

About 10,000 people gathered at the Neolithic monument to greet the start of the longest day of the year, according to Wiltshire Police.

Kate Logan, from English Heritage, said: “There was a lovely, friendly atmosphere, the sun shone and the dawn was greeted with loud cheers.”

The monument is built on the alignment of the midsummer sunrise and the midwinter sunset.

On the summer solstice, the sun rises behind the Heel Stone, the ancient entrance to the Stone Circle, and rays of sunlight are channelled into the centre of the monument.

Sunrise over Stonehenge Image copyright EPA
Stonehenge Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The monument is built on the alignment of the midsummer sunrise and the midwinter sunset

Those who observed the spectacle at the neolithic Wiltshire monument encountered a chilly morning accompanied by clear skies as the sun glinted over the horizon.

English Heritage’s director of Stonehenge Kate Logan said it was “one of the highlights of the year” at the ancient site.

Solstice 2019 Image copyright PA

Summer solstice takes place as one of the Earth’s poles has its maximum tilt toward the sun and the sun reaches its highest position in the sky, ensuring the longest period of daylight in the year.

Wiltshire Police said they had made four arrests at Stonehenge for alcohol and public order offences.

Solstice 2019 Image copyright EPA
Solstice Image copyright EPA

It is believed that solstices have been celebrated at Stonehenge for thousands of years.



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