10 mysterious ancient labyrinths

(ORDO NEWS) — The labyrinth is both a puzzle and a symbol. Intricate paths leading either to the exit or to a dead end appeared thousands of years ago: both in the form of images and as structures. In our selection – 10 labyrinths that keep secrets to this day.

Did you know that there are two types of labyrinths? The most ancient belong to the so-called unicursal labyrinths, that is, having a single entrance and only one path leading from this entrance to the center; There are no dead ends in such labyrinths. Another type of labyrinth is multicursal (in English there is a separate word for it, “maze”). One of our heroes today belongs to the latter type. Guess which one!

Labyrinths on the Big Zayatsky Island. The largest concentration of Neolithic labyrinths in the world is located on the Solovetsky Islands – 35 labyrinths, which are called “Babylons” in the local dialect.

The most famous labyrinths of the Big Zayatsky Island. All 14 labyrinths – round or oval in shape, with a diameter of 6 to 25 m – are concentrated on a small area of ​​0.5 square kilometers on the western side of the island.

The rows of spirals that make up the labyrinths resemble snakes with a head in the center of the structure. On the east side of the island there are also many different heaps of stones and boulders, but none of them is a labyrinth.

There are two main versions about the purpose of labyrinths. The first connects them with ancient rituals, the second suggests that the labyrinths served as a kind of complex trap for catching fish – at the time of their creation, the sea level was much higher.

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Labyrinth as a link between Greece and India. In August 2015, archaeologists announced that a 2,000-year-old labyrinth found in India was identical to a labyrinth depicted on ancient Greek clay tablets dating back to 1200 BC. (i.e. 800 years younger than Indian). The Greek labyrinths found during the excavations of Pylos were considered to be the oldest images of labyrinths in clay.

The Indian labyrinth is located in the city of Jedimedu (Tamil Nadu) and is a square, each side of which is 17 m. The length of the paths of the labyrinth varies from 0.8 to 1.1 m. Azkhagankulam (Tamil Nadu) and Palakkad (Kerala).

Terracotta lamps and semi-precious stones found near the labyrinth testify to the former wealth of the region. The Jadymedu Labyrinth is the second largest in India.

The largest archaeologists discovered in the same state of Tamil Nadu in 2014. In India, by the way, it is still customary to depict labyrinths in one’s own house – they have magical powers, protecting the home from evil spirits.

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Labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral. For 2.5 thousand years, Chartres was one of the most sacred places on the territory of modern France.

At first it was revered by the Druids, later on the same site the Christians erected a cathedral. The Celtic priests believed that a special energy emanated from this land, and revered the underground waters of this territory, believing in their healing powers.

One of the main attractions of the city of Chartres is the marvel of Gothic architecture, the Cathedral of Notre-Dame-de-Chartres, the construction of which began in 1194 and lasted 25 years.

In 1205, a labyrinth was created inside the cathedral from ancient stones. The total length of the labyrinth is 294 m, and the diameter is 13 m. Monks and pilgrims still pass along this path.

There is still no exact data (and even more or less confident assumptions) about the purpose of building the labyrinth. There are suggestions that the labyrinth became a kind of grave for the Masons who built it, but so far this version has no evidence.

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“The Man in the Labyrinth” The Indians of the Southwest of North America believed that some tribes (Papago and Pima) appeared thanks to the deity I’itoi. The traditional Papago and Pima motif of the man in the labyrinth depicts the deity I’itoi at the entrance to the labyrinth, symbolizing the cycle of life and the choices we make.

This labyrinth, widespread among the Indians, usually consists of 7 circles. The circle itself represents death, and eternal life is at the center of the labyrinth. Each “path” starts from the periphery and leads to the center, but each turn seems to turn the path away from the center.

Interestingly, some of these labyrinths contain a deliberate error called a “door” – it is believed that with the help of this door the spirit can escape from the labyrinth.

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“Hollywood Stone” In 1908, ermine hunters in County Wicklow (Ireland) discovered a huge boulder, 1.2 m high and 0.9 m wide, which depicts a labyrinth. A small section of the labyrinth, 70 cm in diameter, is missing from the stone.

It is assumed that the creation of the labyrinth dates back to the Middle Ages. Perhaps the “Hollywood Stone” was a signal to the parking lot for pilgrims on their way to Glendalough: the stone was found just off the ancient pilgrim road leading to the monastery in Glendlow.

According to some assumptions, the labyrinth could symbolize the tortuosity, unpredictability and difficulty of the pilgrim’s path.

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The Jericho labyrinth. Is one of the most mysterious Christian symbols. In many medieval manuscripts, the city of Jericho is depicted as a labyrinth or as an object in the center of the labyrinth.

The city of Jericho has been strongly associated with the concept of the labyrinth in both the Roman Catholic and Jewish traditions.

The earliest labyrinth “Jericho” was found in the monastery of Abrucius (Italy) and dates back to 822. It is distinguished not only by its age, but also by its square shape – most similar labyrinths appear in the form of a circle. All interpretations of the meanings of the labyrinth “Jericho” are associated with rich biblical symbolism.

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Blo-Jungfrun. Is a deserted island in the Kalmarsund Strait, in the Len Kalmar region (Sweden). For centuries, the island has enjoyed a reputation as a mystical place where supernatural phenomena take place.

Until now, tourists visiting the island are strongly advised not to turn off the path and not to walk after dark. The island is decorated with bare rocks, dense forests, caves and the famous stone labyrinth.

Labyrinths in the Scandinavian islands are common, but this one is the largest in Sweden. Perhaps its creation is associated with the extraction of fish in Blo-Jungfrun (as, for example, one of the versions about the purpose of labyrinths on the Solovetsky Islands).

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The mystery of the Casa Grande. If the secrets of most labyrinths are related to the purpose of their creation, then the labyrinth in Casa Grande leaves many questions about the time of its appearance.

One of the strangest and most controversial labyrinths was discovered during excavations of the ruins of the ancient city of Casa Grande in Arizona. On the northern wall of one of the buildings, a complex labyrinth is depicted.

For many years it was considered the only labyrinth in North America and South America. However, the design of this labyrinth bears a striking resemblance to the Cretan labyrinth, which is over 2,000 years old. It is likely that the labyrinth at Casa Grande was pre-Columbian.

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Danish find. More recently, in 2017, Danish archaeologists unearthed a series of Stone Age rock formations that were once a labyrinth. The area of ​​​​the ancient labyrinth at Cape Stevns is 18 thousand square meters.

To date, only a small area has been excavated, so it is difficult to judge any specific purpose of the structure. Typically, such palisades served to defend the territory.

But in this case, the “poles” of the labyrinth are located far enough from each other, at a distance of 2 meters, so that it would be easy for the enemy to penetrate there. Perhaps the labyrinth was used for ancient rituals.

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The labyrinth of the Minotaur. Is perhaps the most famous labyrinth in the world. According to the myth, King Minos, who rules the island of Crete, ordered the architect Daedalus to build a labyrinth – a palace with intricate paths of corridors and rooms leading to the terrible Minotaur.

Many believe that the same labyrinth, sung in ancient Greek mythology, was the Palace of Knossos, a monument of Minos culture, which is already 4 thousand years old. However, some scientists dispute this version, believing that the palace was built much later than the events described in the myths.

There is an opinion that a complex of caves in the mountains near Knossos served as a real labyrinth – after all, they also represent a series of spacious “halls” connected by narrow “corridors”.

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