Inauguration of the Magdeburg Domplatz-Labyrinth on May 5, 2012

On World Labyrinth Day 2012, a new labyrinth was inaugurated in front of the west portal of the Dom (Cathedral) of Magdeburg. The Magdeburg Cathedral is as old as the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Chartres. So it was natural to focus on the famous Chartres labyrinth. Thus it happened that 800 years after its construction from around 1200 a pavement labyrinth modeled on the original was created on this place.

The labyrinth in front of the west portal

The labyrinth in front of the west Portal

During the process of reconfigurating the complete Domplatz (cathedral place) by the city of Magdeburg, the first building project was the construction of the labyrinth. The Magdeburg Lord Mayor Dr. Lutz Trümper handed it over on 5th May, 2012. Cathedral preacher Giselher Quast blessed the labyrinth.
Gundula Thormaehlen (co-founder of the TLS) called over the heavenly forces from four directions with her mussel horn. The Martin Rühmann band contributed musically to the celebration. The banners pointed to the Kaiser-Otto-Year exclaimed for 2012 in Magdeburg.

Bird's-eye view

Bird’s-eye view

The concept and the implementing of the labyrinth rested in the hands of the landscape architect Daniela Süssmann from Magdeburg with her committed employees. For many years she had had the idea for building a labyrinth on the Domplatz. Now, finally, it came into being after many preliminary talks with the municipal authorities, the monument preservation, and the cathedral parish.

Layout drawing

Layout drawing

Special recognition is due to the company Barleber Naturstein Bau- und Pflasterarbeiten whose site engineers, foremen, and paviours moved a total of 47000 tessellated paving stones carefully and exactly.
In the middle of the labyrinth a big amethyst, to which curative forces are attributed, was incorporated under the paved surface.
Everybody involved in the construction has achieved a masterful work. Never before a labyrinth type Chartres has been put into practice so perfectly as a pavement labyrinth.

The six-petaled center

The six-petaled center

The width of the walkable paths amounts to an average of 40 cm and is built of Bernburg shellbearing limestones, limited by a 10-cm-wide line of dark basalt stones. The way from the entrance into the center measures about 287 m. The middle has a diameter of 3 m, thus, including the 112 lunations, a whole diameter of 14.45 m arises. The paving stones and the mortar between them are moved on a foundation of concrete and are integrated into the available, unbound granite pavement surface. Hence, it shows some expansion joints which will still fade, however. The whole surface in front of the west towers which are being restored at the moment shows an inclination leading away from the cathedral, so that the labyrinth is well recognizable.

Solemnization on May 5, 2012 at 1 pm

Solemnization on May 5, 2012 at 1 pm

Unfortunately, it was raining at the time of the inauguration at 1 pm, which, however,  didn´t cast a cloud over the happy atmosphere of departure. Thus Magdeburg has joined solemnly on the worldwide labyrinth movement all around the globe, under the terms of the World Labyrinth Day: Walk as One at one. Likewise the citizens have done three years ago on the 1st World Labyrinth Day in 2009.

The day after the inauguration

The day after the inauguration

After the end of the renovation works (probably in the end of 2012) on the west towers the west portal of the Dom will be visible again and the labyrinth can unfold his full effect as inviting symbol.

However, by now it is a sign for a new beginning, for return and coming home, which invites all people to walk it.

Magdeburg is worth a journey.

Here two short videos on YouTube:

Related Post

How to Draw Ariadne’s Thread for a Snail Shell Labyrinth

The seed pattern to draw Ariadne’s thread, discovered by Gundula Thormaehlen-Friedman, invites to play with it. To try simply to draw more or less curves, to fix the middle somewhere else and so on. And then to look whether a “right” labyrinth is made or not. The matter with the “right” labyrinth is not so easy at all. No dead ends may occur, this is clear. The way should change the direction, he should approach to the middle. He may also lead away in between, at last, however, the middle must be attained.

And thus I have simply tried what happens if I shift the goal one “unity” to the right. I will show the result here and I allow myself to call it snail shell labyrinth. Since the alignment and the form makes me think of a snail shell.

The seed pattern in square form

The seed pattern in square form

I immediately choose the square form, so that I can draw it geometrically correct. “Z” is not the upper end of the bigger arc as it is in the classical seven-circuit labyrinth, but the end of the small arc, it moves slightly to the right. Then I number consecutively to the right and to the left downwards from 7 to 1. At the end a curve end is left, this is “A”, the beginning of Ariadne’s thread.
First I extend the right square side and the left square side downwards, and the upper one to the right and to the left. By drawing the joining arcs I consider the different centres M1 – M4 in the lower part and “Z” in the upper part. In the end I connect all same-named arc ends by drawing arcs around “Z”. At last I draw a vertical line down from “A”.

The completed arcs

The completed arcs

All curve ends of the same name are connected strictly and outside around the middle “Z”. This is so to speek the formula.
The circuits are numbered from the outside inwards in ascending order. The sequence of the pathways is the following: 1 – 2 – 5 – 4 – 3 – 6 – 7 – Z. First one walks around completely, then inwards with a jump from the 2nd to the 5th ring, then again outwards to the 3rd ring, and then only forwards to the centre. This is quite an other rhythm as in the classical labyrinth.

Aridne's Thread in the snail shell labyrinth

Aridne's Thread in the snail shell labyrinth

The labyrinth reminds me of a snail shell because the entrance lies on the side and far from the centre, and one walks sometimes in the same direction, at the end even spiral-shaped. But it is a “real” labyrinth because all criteria are applicable to it.

Indeed, I have not yet seen such a labyrinth. Who starts and builds one?

Design drawing

Design drawing

Here is the design drawing for a snail shell labyrinth with a dimension between axes (path width) of 1 m.
It is scaleable and can be adapted to other widths. Simply multiply all measurements by the corresponding factor. 1 m width x factor 0.6 results in 0.6 m width; the radii, lengths, and all measurements in the drawing are to be multiplied by 0.6 and will show the new radii, lengths and all other measurements.

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Please go to the previous (older) posts on this blog

How to Draw Ariadne’s Thread in a Classical Labyrinth

How can I draw / design a geometrically / mathematically exact labyrinth by applying the seed pattern?
Here I will explain the way step by step. Everybody can reproduce it itself. To do that you need paper (at best squared), circle, ruler and pencil; when required a rubber.

First once more the seed pattern of Gundula Thormaehlen-Friedman:

The numbered seed pattern

The numbered seed pattern

If one looks exactly at it, one recognises that the four centres of the internal arcs shape a square. Furthermore that 8 and 0 stand about one another. That means that the entrance axis is lying on the same line as the middle axis. This recalled me the article of the centred Knidos labyrinth about which I had written on 8/29/2010 in “The Twisted Labyrinth“. There the labyrinth is mirrored and has a bigger middle, however, the principle is the same.

If one wants to construct a geometrically correct labyrinth, one must follow the limitations by the square. Because the labyrinth is an order of arcs with different radii which are connected without sharp bends. This is also valid for Ariadne’s Thread.
To simplify the procedure I rotate the seed pattern at an angle of 90:8 = 11.25 degrees. Then the square is right-angled.

I divide every square side now into 8 equal sections. I start to number in the corners and jump over every second point. Z stands for the goal and replaces 8, A stands for the beginning and replaces 0. The order would be indifferent, actually; but if one makes it in such a way, the circuits are numbered from the outside inwards in the completed labyrinth.

The rotated seed pattern in a square

The rotated seed pattern in a square

Now I lengthen the right and left square sides downwards, the upper horizontal one I lengthen to the right and to the left.
The four corner points shapes the centres for the arcs, I call them M1 to M4; Z is the end of Ariadne’s Thread, but also the centre for the upper arcs.

The lengthened square sides

The lengthened square sides

I extend the arcs up to the lengthened square sides, so 1 on the left side around M2 to the left, 1 on the right side around M3 to the right, 2 also. The curves 4 and 5 on the left side around M1 upwards, the curves 6 and 5 on the right side around M4 upwards.
(If the drawing is too small, click on it. Then it opens in a new window and becomes bigger).

The left lower part

The left lower part

Now I complete the left part. I connect the curve ends 3, 2 and 1 upwards to the horizontal line in own arcs round M1. I do not lengthen the arcs, but I draw a new arc with another radius. The curve may even change the direction and form a S-bend (like 3 and 2).

The right lower part

The right lower part

I make the same one on the right side with 4, 3, 2 and 1, building arcs with M4 as centre.

The upper part

The upper part

Now I complete the thread in the upper part. I connect all pulled up curve ends from 1 to 7 with a semicircle around Z as centre. I extend the end of the arc from 3 to A in the lower left part with a straight line downwards, this is the beginning of Ariadne’s Thread.

Ariadne's Thread

Ariadne's Thread

The complete Thread of Ariadne without “decorative accessories”.

The Seed Pattern for Ariadne’s Thread

The seed pattern to draw a labyrinth, more exactly said the walls, is well-known since centuries. Indeed, we do not know from whom it comes; when and where it was created.

The seed pattern for the walls

The seed pattern for the walls

With it the walls can be quite simply determined (to this the post: How to draw a Classical Labyrinth). The real way is marked by these boundary lines and is the empty space in between. The path on which one walk in a labyrinth is therefore not to be seen ordinarily. This way is also called Ariadne’s thread. It is an uninterrupted line.

Now Gundula Thormaehlen-Friedman has discovered the seed pattern for the drawing of Ariadne’s thread:

The seed pattern for Ariadne's Thread

The seed pattern for Ariadne's Thread

I had got to know from her instructions for the drawing of Ariadne’s thread already last year, but however, I didn’t realize the significance of her discovery or invention.
This has first done Andreas Frei, a Swiss labyrinth theorist when I may call him so. He is engaged in the up to now known historical labyrinths and has developed an own system to classify the different labyrinth types. He is writing about that in Caerdroia and above all on his website (in German): Das Muster im Labyrinth (The pattern in the labyrinth).
He has recognised the potential in the method to draw Ariadne’s thread introduced by Gundula Thormaehlen-Friedman and has presented the seed patterns for the 17 historical one axis labyrinths which he describes on his website. He translates the common English “seed pattern” with the German term “Keimmuster” (Germ pattern).
For more information (in German) go to “Keimstruktur” on his website.

Here some seed patterns (© Andreas Frei) from Andreas Frei; with his friendly permission:

3-circuit

3-circuit

5-circuit

5-circuit

7-circuit

7-circuit

11-circuit (type Otfrid)

11-circuit (type Otfrid)

15-circuit (Troy Town)

15-circuit (Troy Town)

One must fix only the centre (the thick point) and then connect the ends of the inner arcs from right to left and vice versa round this point. Then an end is left, this is the entrance.
One can draw, by the way, the whole thread at one haul. You start in the centre and follow the curve inside the pattern and then go outside to complete the arc to the corresponding end of the arc on the other side, follow the next arc inside, and so on to the end which is then the beginning. Best of all you try that with pencil and paper (and if necessary with a rubber).
The numbered seed pattern

The numbered seed pattern

Gundula Thormaehlen-Friedman suggests numbering the curve ends. In the 7-circuit classical labyrinth she starts in the centre on the top with “8” and then goes downwards on each side right and left to “1”, or “0”; this is the entrance. Then one must care only to connect the ends with the same numbers. Also this can be made at one haul.
When numbering from the outside inwards (1 for the first circuit, 7 for the last) the known sequence of paths arises 3-2-1-4-7-6-5-8, the rhythm or the melody of the classical labyrinth.

Related post

How to draw a Classical Labyrinth