11 Sites Aligned to the Winter Solstice Moon Around the World

  • The winter solstice has been a fascination for humans for a long time.
  • Many cultures have found ways of incorporating it in their important sites. 
  • These 11 locations are strangely aligned with solstice sun. 

The winter solstice falls on longest night of the year.

It’s the time when the world is tilted furthest awayThe sun rises, but also the time the days begin. getting longer.

People have been looking for this mysterious day for millennia. It often represents the beginning of winter, or a time when rebirth is possible. 

Archaeologists have discovered many sites that were aligned with the winter solstice. However, the purpose of these sites is often unknown. 

Here are 11 places that coincide with the winter solstice. Experts share their thoughts.

Nazca Lines, Lima’s southeast Peru

An aerial photo shows the shape of a condor drawn into the Atacama desert.

Nazca Lines, Nazca, Palpa, Peru, South America.

Luca Picciau/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Scientists who studied the Nazca lines during the 1940s discovered that one of them was perfectly aligned with the southern hemisphere sunset July 21. 

Maria Reiche and Paul Kosok, who studied the phenomenon, believed that the mysterious lines could be a kind of astronomical calendar. 

This theory has been proven to be true since been discreditedWe still don’t understand the spiritual or practical purposes of these lines. Tourists around the world still find the idea appealing.  

Newgrange County Meath Ireland

Peopel are sat on the floor or looking up at the sky. In the background, Newgrange appears as circular structure made of rocks surmounted by grass

People celebrating the sunrise in Newgrange on the morning before the winter solstice 2018

Brian Lawless/PA Images via Getty Images

Found 26 miles north Dublin NewgrangeIt is a huge circular structure that dates back to around 5000 years. This makes it more ancient than Stonehenge or the pyramids. 

“There are many Neolithic monuments with solstice and equinox orientations in the heart of their architecture,” Jennifer Wexler, curator of World of Stonehenge at the British Museum, told Insider via email.

Newgrange, one of these monuments, aligns with the winter solstice and may have inspired Stonehenge. She stated that they were often built by early farmers.

She said that understanding the seasons and the sun’s cycle was key to their survival. This would also dictate their farming year, which would be central to their religious beliefs.

The so-called roofbox, which can be seen below, is a horizontally placed slab of rock above Newgrange’s entrance. 

A picture shows the entrance of Newgrange. An opening peers between monolythic walls of grey stone stacked on top of each other. In fron of the opening is a large boulder carved with celtic shapes.

Entrance to Newgrange Stone Age Passage Tomb (Unesco World Heritage List 1993), County Meath. ca 3200 BC.

DeAgostini/Getty Images

The winter solstice is when light enters through this tiny opening, creating a bright beam that travels through a passageway measuring 62 feet to an inner chamber.

The beam spreads out to finally illuminate the entire chamber. 

It is clear that this building was built to commemorate the solstice. Its remarkable architecture seems to be designed to capture that singular beam.

It was built in prehistoric time and no written records exist of its possible uses. It is possible that it was used only to mark the time. scientists suspectIt may have had a ritual or spiritual significance.

A picture shows the inside of the Newgrange monument. Narrow stone corridors are lined with drawings of animals.

A picture shows the inner corridor of Newgrange Stone Age Passage Tomb.

DEA / G. DAGLI ORTI/De Agostini via Getty Images

Sun temple, Machu Picchu, Peru


Machu Pichu tourist

Tourist and Llama in the fron of Machu Picchu


Machu Picchu in Peru is a famous example of ancient architecture aligned to the winter solstice. 

The southern hemispheres’ winter solstice is June 21. A beam of light will be visible. shines through a windowOn a temple dedicated to the sun god, it forms a rectangular shape on a slab made of granite. 

Machu Picchu also houses another monument to December solstice. It is called Intimachay or “the cave of the Sun”.For 10 days before and following the solstice, the sun shines on the back wall of the structure. 

Temple of Karnak Luxor, Egypt

The sun peers through two massive walls that line the Temple of Karnak during the alignment of the winter solstice sunrise to the temple in the southern Egyptian city of Luxor on December 20, 2014.

The sun rises in front of the Temple of Karnak at the alignment of winter solstice sunrise to Luxor temple on December 20, 2014.


Tourists flock the Temple of Karnak in order to witness the alignment of the winter solstice with the main-axis of the temple. 

The temple was built in Luxor over 4,000 years ago. It was the main spot of worship for Amun-Ra, the sun god. 

It was originally designed so that the sun would be perfectly aligned with its axis. one studyThe alignment was rearranged by half a degree, according to the Earth’s axis wobbling

This year, an ancient tomb was discovered in Qubbet el-Hawa (Egypt). 

A tomb in Qubbet el-Hawa is shown in Winter. The light filtering into the tomb seems to line up with the back of the tomb.

Tomb 33 at Qubet el-Hawa aligns to the sun in winter.

University of Jaen & Malaga

A tomb may have been found in Qubet el-Hawa, Egypt’s necropolis. oldest tomb oriented to the winter solstice, scientists said in November. 

Light filters into the tomb, as seen above and on his back on the day before the winter solstice. The alcove was home to a statue of the local governor, built around 1830 BC. 

“The alignment of tomb 33 in Qubbet el-Hawa was INTENTIONAL and it was full of religious significance,” Alejandro Jiménez-Serrano, director of Qubbet el-Hawa Project from the University of Jaén, Spain, told Insider in an email. 

“From winter solstice the day are longer, which was a metaphor for rebirthing the dead,” he stated. 

Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, US

An aerial view of Pueblo Bonito shows the ruins of a semi circular settlement.

Pueblo Bonito is seen from above in Chaco Canyon New Mexico, USA.

DeAgostini/Getty Images

Pueblo Bonito is a settlement that appears to have been built in line with astronomical markers in order to maximize solar heating during the year. 

It was built by ancestral Puebloan peoples between 850-1150.

Two windows at the southeast end of this building from the second story have been inspected over the years. This window is only lit during the eight weeks when the sun shines through it. lead-up to the winter solstice.

Although it is possible that this was a coincidence scientists believe this could have provided people with a heads-up to the winter months. 

Hovenweep Castle is located in southeastern Utah.

Hovenweep castle ruins are shown bathed in bright orange sunset light set against a stormy sky

The Hovenweep Castle ruin, Hovenweep National Monument, southeastern Utah

Katie Falkenberg/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Hovenweep Castle was an ancestral Puebloan settlement. It was inhabited until the beginning of 14th century. 

It is thought that the openings on the face of the castle would line up with the equinox and winter-and-summer-solstice sun to allow Puebloans to trace a calendar as the light shone on the wall. 

Sun daggers, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, US

A slice of light cuts through a spiral petroglyph tucked away in sandstone.

A’sun blade’ is seen here at the summer solstice. It can be seen in a spiral petroglyph on the Sandstone.

Paul Charbonneau, © High Altitude Observatory, National Center for Atmospheric Research

The ancestral Puebloan people lived in the US southwest. untilSpanish explorers arrived in 1540. They kept an eye on the sun as they depended heavily on agriculture for food.

You can spot the seasonal change by marking where they are. “sun daggers”By drawing petroglyphs in the rocks, certain shapes were drawn.

Fajada Butte is New Mexico’s most famous sundagger.

As seen above, a sundagger cuts through the middle of a spiral glyph during the summer solstice. Two daggers appear during the winter solstice. They perfectly bracket the spiral, as you can see in the presentation below. 


There have been some debateThere is no way to know if the carvings were placed there intentionally or if they were drawn randomly. Some were just positioned with the solstice lights. 

Mnajdra megalithic Temple, Malta

A temple in Malta is seen pictured from the inside.

Here is a picture of a megalythic temple located in Malta.


World heritage sites include seven megalithic temples located on the islands Malta and Gozo in Mediterranean. These monumental buildings prehistorically built were constructed between 4,000 BC to 3,000 BC.

Mnajdra, one of these temples is suspiciously aligned to the winter and summer solstice. Scientists aren’t surprised. still debatingIt is unclear if this was intentional. 

Stonehenge, southwest England




People flock to this iconic solstice site to see the sun line up with the stones. StonehengeOn the Salisbury Plain in England 

Insider was told by Wexler, a Stonehenge expert, that Stonehenge was designed to align with the sun at the solstices. 

“The winter solstice held a special resonance. It was a crucial time when the sun was returning to balance the earth. She stated that the celebrations were intertwined as much with ideas of rebirth as they are with their own mid-winter celebrations.

We don’t know what Stonehenge was used for because there is no written record. 

However, evidence suggests it was a site. brought togetherPeople from all parts of the country met together over the winter months for lavish feasts, and to build the huge stone structure. Insider previously reported.

People celebrating the summer soltice in Stonehenge

Stonehenge Summer Solstice Celebrations on June 21st, 2021 by Stonehenge People

Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images

Woodhenge, Durrington Walls, England

The big wooden structure in Durrington walls

Illustration of the wooden structure at Durrington walls, 2500 BC.

English Heritage/Peter Lorimer

Stonehenge feasts would have been held in Durrington Walls, a nearby settlement. 

The settlement was comprised of hundreds upon hundreds of chalk houses and three large ceremonial structures made from wood pillars.

“Durrington Walls would have looked more impressive to anyone at that time than Stonehenge,” Michael Parker Pearson (lead archaeologist at the Durrington Walls excavation site, and author of the study), said. previously told Insider.

An annotated map shows the location of Stonehenge as compared to Durrington Walls

Stonehenge is approximately 1.7 mi from the Durrington Walls archeological Site.

Google Earth/Insider

 “Like Stonehenge, Woodhenge and Durrington were aligned with the solstices,” Wexley said. 

“People came from faraway places in midwinter to enjoy feasting and celebrations. She said that Pilgrims began a choreographed procession towards Stonehenge. They started at Durrington and Woodhenge at midwinter’s dawn. Then they traveled by boat along the River Avon to arrive at Stonehenge at sunset.

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