Stonehenge, between mystery and legend: all you need to know

byVerónica Crocitti

How to get there, what to see, ticket prices, all the theories and legends that revolve around the Stonehenge megaliths.


The feeling of mystery that surrounds the circle of "stones" calledStonehenge it begins long before arriving on site, when you are still walking the silent road to reach Amesbury, Wiltshire. It is as if nature had the upper hand in this area. Stonehenge is a leap into the past, it is finding yourself in the era ofNeolithic and try to understand why, some time ago, the ancients decided to carve these huge megaliths and place them in a circular shape.

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STONEHENGE THEORIES

Some argue that the alignment of the stones represents aancient astronomical observatory, with a mainly calendar function. John Aubrey, who was the first to study Stonehenge in 1940, speculated that the work was by the Druids. According to IsaacNewton, however, the circular arrangement recalled the non-geocentricity of the solar system. However, the debate is still open, and perhaps this is precisely what contributes to making Stonehenge a destination of mystery and pilgrimage. There are many followers ofCelticism, Wicca and other neo-pagan religions which, every year, go in front of the spectacular megaliths to pray to their gods.

A legend has it that the site is linked to the myth ofKing Arthur. In fact, the writer Geoffrey of Monmouth narrates that the Wizard Merlin hijacked the Giants who were transporting the stones from Africa to Ireland to England. Godfrey also tells that Uther Pendragon and Constantine III were buried inside the circle.

WHAT SEE

The archaeological site is very large and is not made up only of the megalithic area. If you have time to visit Stonehenge, I suggest you stroll far and wide, through the paths that wind through the very green fields. Once you get to theVisitor Centreyou can decide whether or not to take the shuttle that takes you in front of the megaliths, or whether to access on foot (about 1 kilometre).

The area is surrounded by a black rope, so it is not possible to get close to the stones, but to observe them from a distance. In the center stands theAltar stone, a block of 5 meters of green sandstone, around which there are two rings: one of 30 pits called theZ holesand one of 50 was called iY holes. Still within the circle, but scattered almost to the end (near the rope) are other megaliths: theStone of Sacrifice, two of the original four Station Stones and unburied mounds. Outside, on the other hand, there is the area of ​​theHeel stone.

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STONEHENGE PRICES AND TIMETABLES

Considering the huge flow of people who visit the Stonehenge site every day, I recommend that you book in time based on the time you arrive. The cost for adults is$16.50, while children aged 5 to 15 pay $9.90. Many wonder if it's worth itspend so much on the ticketor if it is possible to approach the stones for free, along the various neighboring roads. It all depends on the time you have available. It is true that it is not possible to get closer than a certain amount to the megaliths which are surrounded by a black rope, but it is also true that from the Visitor Center you will not see anything. Furthermore, with the ticket, it is possible to take advantage of the shuttle that will take you to the closest point.

HOW TO GET

Stonehenge is located near Amesbury, Wiltshire, about 13 kilometers from Salisbury. There are several ways to reach the Archaeological Park. If you are driving, bear in mind that there is a large car park near the Visitor Center entrance. From London, you can take advantage of theSouth West Train line(from Waterloo station) to Salisbury and then delloStonehenge Tours, a bus that takes you directly to the site (tickets can be obtained directly on the bus and cost around 30 euros). In total, fromLondon, it will take you 3 hours.

Another good possibility is to move from London directly by busNational Express London (circa 3 ore fino a Salisbury, prezzo sui 30 euro) oppure di prenotare un tour organizzato (mezza giornata o una intera giornata).  Personalmente ho scelto l’ultima opzione, che mi ha anche permesso di visitare Windsor Castle e Oxford.

If you are doing an ontheroad through the wonders of Great Britain, I recommend a stop atWindsor, the home of the British Kings.

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