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Celebrate The Solstice At Maeshowe

1 December 2007

The darkest days of winter are when the ancient Maeshowe tomb on Orkney is at its most enigmatic. Its Neolithic builders went to great lengths to ensure that something remarkable would happen either side of the winter solstice.
The tomb is orientated so the rays of the setting sun reach in and along the entrance passage and illuminate the main chamber.
Theories abound on how, and if, this related to religious practices of 3000 BC.
But nowadays the story of Maeshowe and the solstice sunset attracts visitors from across the world who wish to experience an event which may have been of immense significance to our ancestors.
This year, Historic Scotland, which cares for Maeshowe, is celebrating this remarkable monument with a special ticket offer from 11 December to 11 January 2008. This ticket allows you to visit up to three times during the period above giving you more opportunity to capture this experience.
During this period prices will be £10 for adult ticket £7.50 for concessions and £5.00 for children.
Gillian Crowther, Historic Scotland Visitor Services and Business Development, said: “This is a wonderful annual event which we really want to share with as many people as possible. “Being inside the tomb as the rays of the sun reach up the passage and start to light up the chamber can be quite breathtaking.”
In order to protect the tomb and ensure the best possible experience for visitors a maximum of 16 people are allowed in at anyone time.
Notes for editors
·Maeshowe is nine miles west of Kirkwall on the A965. Call 01856 761606.
·The tomb, which is part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site, is also famous for its late Norse carvings.