Stonehenge: The mystery remains

Gray day mystique at Stonehenge

Gray day mystique at Stonehenge

Sometimes gray days just add to the atmosphere.  At least it did the day we left London to see Stonehenge, one of those places we had read about for years but really didn’t know if we’d see in our lifetime.  As you can imagine, we were in awe of this site to see.

Stonehenge, located in Wiltshire, is about two and a half hours from London, giving us time to drive past Eton College and Windsor Castle.  The Visitor Center at Stonehenge, filled with information, artifacts, and visuals, drew us in immediately with a theatre-in-the-round experience showing the stone formations in various seasons. We stood “in the round” facing the ever-changing visuals, feeling as if we were there on snow days, sunny days, and even during summer solstice when the sun appears over the heel stone.

Sun coming through an opening at Stonehenge, from a video at the Visitor Center.

Sun coming through an opening at Stonehenge, from a video at the Visitor Center.

Of course, the mystique draws everyone in.  Theories notwithstanding, Stonehenge can be appreciated for what you see as much as for what it must have meant to the people building it some 5,000 years ago.  Volumes have been written about the purpose of Stonehenge, how the stones were found and moved to the site, and how the formation was constructed.  But even with all the research, mysteries remain.

Video shown at Stonehenge Visitor Center capturing a snowy day

Video shown at Stonehenge Visitor Center capturing a snowy day

Outside the Visitor Center, an assemblage of Neolithic thatched huts offers a glimpse of the tools and construction you might see during the New Stone Age.

Neolithic huts on display at Stonehenge

Neolithic huts on display at Stonehenge

And in the attempt to answer the question of how heavy bluestones were transported from the Presili Hills in Wales almost 200 miles away, an exhibit of an oblong boulder perched atop massive timbers provides insight on “how they did it.”

Demonstration of how stones might have been moved to site of Stonehenge

Demonstration of how stones might have been moved to site of Stonehenge

After spending time at the Visitor Center, we were ready for our pilgrmage up the long, winding walkway to what loomed large in the distance:  Stonehenge.  People stopped all along the way to point and take pictures. And we did the same.

The distance from the Visitor Center to the site added to the mystique at Stonehenge

The distance from the Visitor Center to the site added to the mystique at Stonehenge

Around 2500 B. C., sarsen stones (the larger ones) and bluestones were brought to the site and arranged in two concentric circles.  A horseshoe formation of five trilitons (two large stones topped by a lintel) stood inside the circle.  Only three are standing today.  Time has taken its toll on the stones and the formations, but the basic structure remains.

Mysterious Stonehenge

Mysterious Stonehenge

People stood near the roped-off site, quietly observing all angles of Stonehenge.  Some hugged their loved ones. Others stood with families and friends.  Some found a quiet spot to stare at the formation alone.

People react differently to Stonehenge.

People react differently to Stonehenge.

We stood without talking, taking pictures and pointing at what we saw.  And we moved slowly around the circular path to check out this place we were finally seeing with our own eyes from various perspectives.

A closer look at Stonehenge

A closer look at Stonehenge

With our telephoto, we zoomed in and out, trying to get close-up shots of weathering and nature’s forces on the stones.

Ever-changing view of Stonehenge

A walk around reveals another view of Stonehenge

In fields nearby, sheep grazed while cars and tourists rolled in to the area.

The drive to Stonehenge through rolling countryside

The drive to Stonehenge through rolling countryside

The bottom line is this: Stonehenge deserves to be seen.  There are many circles in the United Kingdom — some used for burial grounds, others for worship.  Some for both.  But if you can only visit one, make it Stonehenge.

Crowds stand in awe around the formation known as Stonehenge.

Crowds stand in awe around the formation known as Stonehenge.

Whether you’re drawn to construction, artistry, mystery, or religion, you’re sure to find something to admire.  And the visual of this spot, this formation, this moment when you see it . . . will stay with you forever.

Mysterious Stonehenge

Greeting Stonehenge one on one.

The mystery remains.

Stonehenge is an English Heritage site.  For more information, visit their website.

For more posts on our travels in England, click here.

 

 

About Oh, the Places We See

Met at University of Tennessee, been married for 47 years, and still passionate about travel whether we're volunteering with Habitat Global Village, combining work at Discovery with pleasure, or just seeing the world. Hope you'll join us as we try to see it all while we can!
This entry was posted in Destination, England, Travel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to Stonehenge: The mystery remains

  1. Woolly Muses says:

    Stone Henge was my first ‘out of London’ place to visit in 1976. Fascinating place.

    • You may have gone at a time when you could roam among the stones, as some of my readers said they did. I wish we could have seen them then — and now! Wonder if there have been changes in the aging, coloration, etc. It’s a fascinating place, all right.

  2. Beautiful photos of this iconic place. I remember going there as a child and playing among the huge stones.

  3. tappjeanne says:

    makes me feel like I’m there, Rusha – great job with the photos and the commentary

  4. K.Z. says:

    wow! i would so love to visit that place someday.

  5. Amazing place, amazing photos. Thanks for sharing. Hope to experience this magnificent place one day!

  6. In my childhood there were no fences and no Visitor Centre at Stonehenge. We lived not far away and we visited when we felt like it, so these feel like special old friends. I remember, as a college student, going with sleeping bags and spending the night among the stones – very exciting.

    • How very, very fascinating. This reminds me of visiting the Colosseum. When we visited 42 years ago, we could roam inside. Now, I hear that you have to be content to walk the rim. I would have loved moving in closer to see the stones. And to sleep beside them? Well, that would be a memory for a lifetime. Thanks for posting this.

  7. jolynnpowers says:

    Stonehenge is on my bucket list and hope to see it sooner then later. The photos are beautiful!

  8. Rusha – Thank you for sharing. I haven’t talked with you for a while. We’re all so busy, no? I have a trip to Scotland/England with students in June 2018. We have Stonehenge on our agenda. Fingers-crossed that the students all go and things are calm for our travels. We will be studying art, design, and literature during our 10 days. We are excited.

    • Sandi, I’m so excited that you will be going to Stonehenge. I have no idea what took me so long to get there, but I feel as though I’ve see one of the world’s great sites. Thanks for sharing the post with students. There’s a lot to see there!

  9. I, too, love the mystery of that place!

  10. miniontour says:

    I go quite often living relatively close, beautiful quite spot on most occasions. I also added a page to my website I thought you might like?

    https://redmini.co/stonehenge/

  11. Sue says:

    Ah, good old Stonehenge! I was fortunate to visit as a child and walk amongst the stones

  12. Jodi says:

    Amazing and mysterious and beautiful!

  13. ralietravels says:

    We were exceptionaly fortunate to visit in 1976 before rock concerts and crowds required it to be fenced off and one could still walk among the stellae. But we stopped again in 2015 and enjoyed it just as much because now there is the museum and explanatory material — and the stones are amazing still.

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