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Summer Solstice: Thousands Watch Longest Day Break at Stonehenge

by Alastair Jamieson /  / Updated 

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LONDON - Thousands of revelers and self-styled Druids watched the sun rise over Britain’s Stonehenge Sunday to mark this year’s summer solstice.

Police said around 23,000 people in total attended the neolithic site in Wiltshire, England to witness the break of the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, ITV News reported.

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Revelers celebrate the pagan festival of Summer Solstice at Stonehenge.NIKLAS HALLE'N / AFP - Getty Images

Visitors kissed the stones, dancers swirled on the grass and drummers pounded as part of the free-form celebrations.

Authorities reported nine arrests for drug offenses — fewer than in the past.

"The success of the event depends largely on the good nature of those attending and we are pleased that people could enjoy solstice in the spirit of the event," Wiltshire Police Superintendent Gavin Williams told ITV News.

The summer solstice festival dates back thousands of years.NIKLAS HALLE'N / AFP - Getty Images

Stonehenge is an icon of Britain, and one of its most popular attractions. It was built in three phases between 3,000 B.C. and 1,600 B.C. and its purpose remains under study.

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