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Mazes, Labyrinths--What's the difference?

The legends and stories associated with mazes and labyrinths date back more than 3,500 years, and their origin and purpose have been shrouded in mystery.

When you mention 'Mazes' most people think of the puzzle mazes in gardens, in theme parks or children's toys or paper puzzles. These amusing mazes have many paths, often with dead ends to trap and fool the player. These mazes are multicursal - 'having many paths'.

When you mention 'Labyrinths' some people recall the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur. But few are familiar with the labyrinth symbol. It appears in many different cultures, in different points in time (ancient and modern), in places spread out around the earth such as Peru, Arizona, Iceland, Crete, Egypt, India and Sumatra. These true 'labyrinths' have no false pathways or dead ends. They consist of one meandering path from the entrance to the center (and sometimes back out again).


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Steve E. Gordon
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Labyrinth graphics are copyrighted by Caerdroia and used with expressed permission from Jeff Saward