STONEHENGE, England, June 21 (Reuters) - Around 10,000 people gathered to celebrate summer solstice at Britain’s Stonehenge on Friday, watching the sun rise behind the ancient stone circle built by our Neolithic ancestors over 4,500 years ago.
Marking the longest day of the year and the start of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, the summer solstice has been celebrated for millennia at Stonehenge, a World Heritage Site in the southwest county of Wiltshire.
The crowd, dressed warmly against the chilly temperatures, cheered and clapped as the sun rose over the horizon shortly before 0400 GMT. Pagans, including a bearded druid in white robes and an elaborate headdress made of flowers and branches, performed rituals.
Others simply sat with their eyes closed, their faces turned towards the light as they leant against or placed their hands on the huge, weathered stones which make up the circular monument.
Crowds also gathered at other prehistoric sites in Britain, including at Glastonbury Tor, a hill in the neighbouring county of Somerset which has drawn pagan and Christian worshippers for centuries. (Writing by Raissa Kasolowsky; Editing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian)