After visiting London we decided to explore Stonehenge on our way to Bath. After driving more than an hour, I was excited to see this place, but I also didn’t know what to expect from this experience. When we started to get bored in the car (especially the kids) the beautiful landscape of Salisbury Plain showed up delighting our eyes. Not much later after, the monument of Stonehenge appeared. Some people will call it just a pile of rocks or a ghost from the past. But for sure, the reason we were there was to find out for ourselves what Stonehenge is.
Stonehenge, England is a place steeped in history
One day when we were in London we wanted to take a trip to Bath and Stonehenge was on our way. We just could not pass up the opportunity to see this amazingly old and mysterious monument. We made our way to the new world-class visitor center, which is housing a permanent museum and special exhibitions, plus a spacious shop and cafe. We got our tickets (not very cheap) and a must have audio guided tour. I say “must have” because it helps you understand the place and the mystery of it.
The old formation of rocks blends beautifully in the countryside. The surrounding fields are quilted with patches of yellow rape and green grass fields, where the sheep graze peacefully. The blue sky and puffy clouds made the last touches of this gorgeous painting. This panorama makes you wonder if you have the same view as the ancestors, thousands of years ago! It is an impressive formation of old, large and heavy stones that have been put together around 2500 BC.
Stonehenge was build in three phases. What we see today is the final stage that was completed about 3500 years ago.
Stonehenge, England is a place surrounded in mystery
What is this Stonehenge? Is it a clock, a temple for worship and rituals or for human sacrifices? Many have tried to find an explanation for this enigmatic construction! Stonehenge is one of the wonders of the world, the best-known prehistoric/neolithic monument in Europe and the most famous historical structures in England. The fame and mystery of the place is related with the legends and its unsolved meaning.
Theories and mysteries about Stonehenge
1. The most famous theory makes reference to the astronomical events. Its design includes a celestial observatory function, which might have allowed prediction of eclipse, solstice, equinox and other celestial events important to a contemporary religion. It is thought that people all over the UK came to Stonehenge to celebrate the beginning of the summer and winter but also the Equinoxes in spring and autumn.
2. It is believed that this place was conceived for spiritual, religious, mystical reasons and was considered sacred for the people living at ancient times. Avon to reach Stonehenge was part of a ritual passage from life to death, to celebrate past ancestors and the recently deceased. The huge amount of bones and remains of food indicates his function as a funerary monument. The burial mounds are visible from far away.
3. The bones may show that this is a place of healing. The evidence of trauma deformity in some of the graves may be relevant for this theory. Another evidence is the quality of the stones themselves. Researchers from the Royal College of Art in London have discovered that some of the monument’s stones possess “unusual acoustic properties” — when they are struck they respond with a “loud clanging noise”. In certain ancient cultures rocks that ring out, known as lithosphere, were believed to contain mystic or healing powers. This idea could explain why certain blue-stones were hauled nearly 200 miles — a major technical accomplishment at the time. The stones where carried from near a town in Wales called Maenclochog, a name which means “ringing rock”
Most interesting time to visit Stonehenge
You can can experience them fully because you have 360 degrees access around the old rocks. When Stonehenge was first opened to the public it was possible to walk among and even climb on the stones, but the stones were roped off in 1977 as a result of serious erosion. English Heritage does, however, permit access during the summer and winter solstice, and the spring and autumn equinox. Additionally, visitors can make special bookings to access the stones throughout the year. One million people visit the monument every year.
How to get to Stonehenge
Stonehenge is located in the Wiltshire county and is an English Heritage site. You can actually see Stonehenge from the A 303 Highway as you drive toward Bath. Any internet search will reveal good directions for getting to Stonehenge. Parking is usually not a problem since English Trust has build a large parking area complete with restrooms and a cafe. Just follow the A303 highway from London and you will certainly pass right by Stonehenge. You will not miss it.
Map of Stonehenge and surrounding area near Amesbury, Wiltshire
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My resources for visiting Stonehenge, England
Here are a few links for planning your visit to Stonehenge, England
Is it worth visiting Stonehenge
When I went in I thought that this is just a pile of rock. When I left I felt very privileged to see this witness of civilization and feel the mystery of it. This experience will stay with me forever.