Salisbury, England

 In Honeymoon Planning

This week’s exotic adventure takes us to Salisbury. No not that Salisbury … we’re going to the motherland – Salisbury, England. Charming as our beloved Delmarva edition may be, the British edition is ripe with history.  This town of 50,000 is actually the sister city of Salisbury, Md.  Located 145 km (90 miles) southwest of London,  the city was built on the crossroads of the five rivers that wind through the Salisbury plains.  This beautiful region has two main tourist attractions:  The Salisbury Cathedral and Stonehenge.

 The Salisbury Cathedral

The Salisbury Cathedral

The Salisbury Cathedral and its 404-foot spire was reconstructed in 1220.  The original had been built by St. Bishop Osmund between 1075 and 1092.  On completion it was the tallest structure ever erected in the 13th century.  Its sophisticated style represented the pinnacle of Gothic architecture.  I particularly enjoyed the view of the Salisbury plains after climbing the stairs to the top of the spire.  The church has been a beacon to pilgrims and wayfarers since its earliest days.  Although the current city was not established until 1220, there has been a settlement in the area since prehistory. There is evidence of a Neolithic settlement on the hilltop of Old Sarum, which became a hill fort in the Iron Age. The Romans called this fort “Sorviodunum” and may also have occupied the fort. The Saxons also established themselves here, and the Normans built a castle and called it “Searesbyrig” or “Seresberi”. By 1086, in the Domesday Book , it was called “Salesberie”.  The cathedral contains the best preserved of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta and a large mechanical clock installed in the cathedral in 1386 – the oldest surviving mechanical clock in Britain.  The inside of the church is just as impressive as the exterior.  Fortunately, its relatively remote location prevents it from being mobbed by tourists.

Stonehenge is Salisbury’s true “claim to fame”.  Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in the county of Wiltshire. One of the most famous sites in the world, Stonehenge is composed of earthworks surrounding a circular setting of large standing stones. It sits at the centre of the densest complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds.  Archaeologists had believed that the iconic stone monument was erected around 2500 BC.  The surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3100 BC. The site and its surroundings were added to the UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 1986 and is a legally protected Ancient Monument. Stonehenge itself is owned by the Crown and managed by English Heritage while the surrounding land is owned by the National Trust.  New archaeological evidence found by the Stonehenge Riverside Project indicates that Stonehenge served as a burial ground from its earliest beginnings. The dating of cremated remains found on the site shows that burials took place there as early as 3000 BC, when the first ditches were being constructed around the monument. Burials continued at Stonehenge for at least another 500 years.  It is truly the domain of the dead.
The big mystery surrounding Stonehenge is who built it?  Theories include the Druids, aliens from space, King Arthur and Merlin or the ancients from the City of Atlantis.  The stones weigh up to 50 tons each and would require a lot of manpower to move.  I’m leaning towards the Druids myself.  It appears that the construction may have been used as somekind of a solar or lunar calendar.  This year on the 21st over 36,000 people came out to celebrate the Summer Solstice festivities.
Salisbury has a temperate coastal climate.  It’s about a three-hour drive from Casandra’s hometown of Lewes (she’s actually there this week).
Salisbury UK is 5 hours ahead of Salisbury MD and can be reached by an eight-hour flight across the pond.  The people are friendly and the topography is picturesque.
Cheers! The Rox

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