Stonehenge summer solstice celebrations see thousands gather

media captionThe crowds were treated to a glorious spectacle as the sun came up, as Scott Ellis reports, as Scott Ellis reports

An estimated 37,000 people gathered to watch the sun rise on the longest day of the year, with a small number of arrests reported by police.

Wiltshire Police said the 25 arrests were mostly for drugs-related offences.

Druids and pagans are among those who mark the summer solstice at sites such as Stonehenge and Avebury.

"We are pleased that the solstice celebrations have been enjoyable events for the majority of people attending," said a spokesman for Wiltshire Police.

image copyrightAFP
image captionA modern druid named Merlin stands as the sun rises at the prehistoric monument Stonehenge
image copyrightGetty Images
image captionDruids, pagans and revellers gathered at the monument to wait for the sunrise
image copyrightAFP
image captionMany waited patiently for the first rays of the sun to emerge on the horizon
image copyrightReuters
image captionSome in attendance performed yoga en masse as the sun rose
image copyrightReuters
image captionOthers chose to adorn flamboyant Aztec costumes, along with smartphones
image copyrightGetty Images
image captionThe solstice sunrise marks the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere
image copyrightGetty Images
image captionA forecast of clear skies brought thousands of people to the 5,000-year-old stone circle in Wiltshire
image copyrightAFP
image captionSome celebrated the rising of the sun more enthusiastically than others

The summer solstice or Litha - which means a stopping or standing still of the sun - has a long tradition of attracting people to monuments to witness the sun rising on the longest day.

Police said the road system had worked well with "minimum delays" and many people used public transport .

"It is always a pleasure to see so many people enjoying the event," said the spokesman.

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