Obama seeks solace at prehistoric English monument of Stonehenge

US President Barack Obama tours Stonehenge in Amesbury, Wiltshire, England, on Sept 5, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
US President Barack Obama tours Stonehenge in Amesbury, Wiltshire, England, on Sept 5, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

AMESBURY, United Kingdom (AFP) - US President Barack Obama sought solace on Friday at the mystical, prehistoric English monument of Stonehenge, relaxing after stressful days confronting Russia and rising jihadism in the Middle East.

"How cool is this?" Obama exclaimed as he toured the iconic stone circles, believed to have been built across different eras from around 3,100 BC, as he stopped off on Salisbury Plain on the way back to Air Force One after the Nato summit in Wales.

"It's spectacular. It's spectacular. It's a special place," Obama said, as he strolled past the huge erect stones, some weighing up to 25 tonnes, set up in two concentric rings.

Asked if he had always wanted to tour the World Heritage site, he said: "Knocked it off the bucket list!"

Obama, who at one point stopped to talk to a local family, was accompanied by a tour guide, then wandered alone through the monument, wearing suit pants and a dress shirt but without his tie.

His tour came after a two-day summit at the Celtic Manor resort near Newport. The meeting was dominated by accusations by the Western alliance that Russia had made a "brazen" incursion into Ukraine and by the search for an international coalition to take on militants from the so-called Islamic State, who have carved out a haven in Syria and Iraq.