Walking the Transylvanian Zeiden Wunderkreis at Dinkelsbühl to the Sound of the Kipfelmarsch, Part 1

At the 22nd Zeiden neighborhood get-together in Dinkelsbühl (Bavaria, Germany) I could be present when the ambitious Zeiden helpers outlined the temporary Wunderkreis (translated literally wonder circle) on 6th June 2015.

Most of the Transylvanian Saxons in today’s Germany came from Transylvania (now Romania) originally and have a special connection to Dinkelsbühl through the association of the Transylvanian Saxons.

It is astonishing how long the tradition of marching through the Wunderkreis to the sounds of the historical Kipfelmarsch has been preserved.
For more information go to Further Links on the bottom of this page.

As a trained surveyor and “Labyrinthologist” I was mostly interested in how the knowledge of building the Wunderkreis has been passed on from one generation to the next. I could see the sketch and at the same time watch how they did it.

Zeiden Wunderkreis

Zeiden Wunderkreis, reconstructed using a sketch by the late Thomas Dück

Here the freehand sketch by Rainer Lehni for the work in situ:

Freehand sketch by Rainer Lehni

Freehand sketch by Rainer Lehni

At the first glance it looks unspectacular seeing only lines, some figures and few measurements. The lines show the way in the labyrinth, the so-called thread of Ariadne, which all walkers will follow. Therefore the lines do not represent the boundary lines, as they usually do in other labyrinths.

The internal structure of a labyrinth is the most important property which is displayed in the path sequence for example. In this case we can find a double spiral and a meander, based on a triangle. The two accesses to the labyrinth, named as start and end in the drawings, are a specific feature. In the middle the direction changes, therefore we speak of a pass-through labyrinth.

In the following pictures we watch the “supporting workers” of the Wunderkreis doing their job.

Clicking on a picture will open the carousel, clicking × in the top left-hand corner of the carousel, or the “Esc”- key on your keyboard,  will close it.

Being a trained surveyor I was able to convert this into a drawing (see below).

The Zeiden crew chose 60 cm as a basic measure, this is the distance from line to line, being the path width at the same time. All further measures result from there. The smallest semicircle has a radius of 30 cm; in distance of 60 cm the additional elements follow. The biggest diameter (the belly extent) in the outermost circuit (named 1 in the drawing) amounts to 13.80 m. The length of the whole way through the Wunderkreis amounts to ca. 236 m.

The level of efficiency (detour factor) is 37 or even 40, if one begins at the end.

The whole labyrinth is composed of curve sections which are determined from four central points (M1 – M4), joined together without sharp bends. The order while marking out the curve sections could be any. Nevertheless, it is more useful to begin with the upper semicircles (in Green) around M4. Afterwards the curves around M3 (brown) and in the end those around M2 and M1 will follow.

The main construction points (M1 – M3) form a triangle. M4 is added to the left. One should mark out these points before drawing the curve elements. Thereby one gains a better overview of the location of the Wunderkreis on site.
The “base line” between M1 and M2 could be narrowed down a little.

While walking the Wunderkreis, at first the five external circuits (1 – 5) are wandered through. These correspond to a simple labyrinth. The following seven circuits (6 – 12), built by closely intertwined spiraling curves, correspond to a double spiral with the change of direction in the middle of a meander.

The entry into the labyrinth takes place to the right in the 5th circuit, the exit in the 7th circuit.

When the marchers come out of the exit they will be rewarded with a Kipfel (croissant), a unique custom worldwide .

The layout drawing

The layout drawing

The following photos show the the main construction lines in blue, the situation of the central points in red, and the numbering of the circuits from the outside inwards from 1 to 12. Through that we can get the so-called path sequence, the order in that the circuits strode through, such as start-5-2-3-4-1-6-8-10-12-11-9-7-end. This is so to speak the internal structure of the Wunderkreis, virtually the rhythm.

Lines on the cobbles of Dinkelsbühl

Lines on the cobbles of Dinkelsbühl

The construction lines (in Blue) and the midpoints (in Red)

The construction lines (in Blue) and the midpoints (in Red)

The numbering of the lines from the outside inwards

The numbering of the lines from the outside inwards

Ready to go

Ready to go

So, and now we are ready to go. The following photos show that the march through the Wunderkreis may be confusing at first sight.

A little tip: Follow the red point in the pictures 1 – 16 on the way through the Wunderkreis, because it marks the leader.

Clicking on a picture will open the carousel, clicking × in the top left-hand corner of the carousel, or the “Esc”- key on your keyboard,  will close it.

In the history of the labyrinth the miracle circles (even called “Wunderkreis” in English) represent a unique form of the labyrinth which existed and still exists in Germany and the Baltic countries.

We know some Wunderkreise from the literature.
Among the four historical remaining labyrinths in Germany we count the Wheel in the Eilenriede in Hannover (originally from 1642), and the Kaufbeuren Wunderkreis (originally from 1846), rebuilt after historical documents in 2002 in the Jordanpark of Kaufbeuren (read more in Caerdroia 34).

The first Wunderkreis of Eberswalde from 1609 was honoured in 2009 to the 400-year-old jubilee with a loyalty thaler and the third Wunderkreis was rebuilt in 2013 after historical documents on the Hausberg.

Although the Zeiden original Wunderkreis exists still in today’s Codlea (now Romania), it would be fine if the Zeiden Transylvanian Saxons could continue their tradition here in their new homeland Germany with a new permanent Wunderkreis.

This would be a wonderful contribution to the cultural history of the labyrinth with this unique Zeiden Wunderkreis and its special characteristics.

… To be continued

Hint for TLS members: Read the excellent article from Richard Myers Shelton in Caerdroia 44 (April 2015) about the Transylvanian Wunderkreis.

Related Post

Further Links (Sorry, in German only)

The Zeiden Wunderkreis

The Zeiden Wunderkreis


6 thoughts on “Walking the Transylvanian Zeiden Wunderkreis at Dinkelsbühl to the Sound of the Kipfelmarsch, Part 1

  1. Pingback: The Russian Labyrinths (Babylons) on the Solovetsky Islands in the White Sea | blogmymaze

  2. Pingback: What is a Wunderkreis? | blogmymaze

  3. Pingback: A Nazca Labyrinth | blogmymaze

  4. Ausgezeichnet! We visited the mother of a coworker in Dinkelsbühl about 20 years ago. Wonderful little city! Awesome article and great pictures, too!


  5. Pingback: Walking the Transylvanian Zeiden Wunderkreis at Dinkelsbühl to the Sound of the Kipfelmarsch, Part 2 | blogmymaze

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.