Long, long ago, a group of ancients gathered together to build what would become one of the seven wonders of the world: Stonehenge. Over the years, archeologists and historians have gathered evidence and used it to reach several conclusions about the origins of Stonehenge; yet, so many aspects of this monument remain a mystery. Perhaps this is what draws tourists from all over the country, and all over the world, to see this amazing site in Salisbury, England. Because the monument now rests on a World Heritage Site, it is possible for the entire world to appreciate its natural beauty and mystique.
A Sight To See
When you visit Stonehenge, what you will see is an ancient stone circle. Giant Sarsen stones were arranged in a circular pattern based on the alignment of the mid-morning sunrise, and they were somehow heaved upright so that they stood erect.
Today, only half of the original monument remains, as some of the stones have fallen or been damaged.
The appearance of Stonehenge has changed over the years. The monument was built in stages, with the trench for the stones being the first over fifty centuries ago. Wooden posts were placed within the trench. Then, over one thousand years later, bluestones weighing about fife tone each were brought to the site from South Wales and used to replace the wooden posts. The Stonehenge we know today was completed in about 2,300 B.C., nearly 200 years after the second building phase occurred.
The Stonehenge monument is considered part of not only the British heritage, but of the human heritage. As one of the first examples of human architecture, it is only natural that it would become s world-famous site open for public viewing. Until 1918, Stonehenge was owned by Sir Cecil Chubb, a local man. At this time, Chubb gave the stone circle to the government under the condition that a charge be made for public viewing in order to maintain the monument.
Until 1984, Stonehenge was managed by the Department of the Environment, but it fell under the care of English Heritage when it was created to protect the built heritage of the United Kingdom. It is still managed by this organization today.
Access, Admittance And Artifacts
Stonehenge is a popular public attraction and draws hundreds of people daily. Though it is common for visitors to explore the monument on their own, specialized guided tours are also available. The tours are given by custodians who are knowledgeable about the history and development of Stonehenge. Advance booking is not possible; visitors have to wait in line the day of their visit.
One aspect of the stone circle that is off limits to the public is the center circle, which has been characterized by footfall over the past several decades. To prevent damage, this area of the monument is closed off during normal visiting hours. However, there are special Stone Circle Access visits that can be arranged outside of the typical viewing hours. This enables custodians to more closely monitor the number of people who are accessing the more sensitive part of the monument.
Archeologists have found many artifacts at the site over the past several centuries in their efforts to uncover the mysteries of Stonehenge. These artifacts can be viewed at the London Museum, the Salisbury Museum, and the Devizes Museum.
A World Of Attraction
It is difficult to say what the original intent of the construction of Stonehenge was; yet, there is no doubt what it represents to the public today. Now, a visit to the monument is an awe-inspiring event that opens people’s eyes to the wonders of the past. A trip to the United Kingdom is not complete without a visit to Stonehenge.