The Relatives of the Ravenna-type Labyrinth

Among labyrinths with mulitple arms it is also common that one labyrinth is interesting and the complementary to it is uninteresting. An example for this is the labyrinth of the type Ravenna (figure 1).

Figure 1. The Labyrinth of Ravenna

This labyrinth has 4 arms and 7 circuits. The pathway enters it on the innermost circuit and reaches the center from the fifth circuit. It is, thus, an interesting labyrinth. This type of labyrinth has been named after the example laid in church San Vitale from Ravenna. What is really special in this example is the graphical design of the pathway. This is designed by a sequence of triangles pointing outwards. The effect is, that the direction from the inside out is strongly highlighted. This stands in contrast to the common way we use to approach a labyrinth and seems just an invitation to look up the dual of this labyrinth. Because the course of the pathway from the inside out of an original labyrinth is the same as the course from the outside into the dual labyrinth.

I term as relatives of an original labyrinth the dual, complementary, and complementary-dual labyrinths of it. In fig. 2 the patterns of the Ravenna-type labyrinth (a, original), the dual (b), the complementary (c), and the complementary-dual (d) of it are presented.

Figure 2. The Relatives of the Ravenna-type Labyrinth – Patterns

The original (a) and the dual (b) are interesting labyrinths. The complementaries of them are uninteresting labyrinths, because in these the pathway enters the labyrinth on the outermost circuit (c) or reaches the center from the innermost circuit (d). The dual of an interesting labyrinth always is an interesting labyrinth too, the dual of an unintersting is always uninteresting labyrinth too.

Figure 3 shows the labyrinths corresponding to the patterns in their basic form with the walls delimiting the pathway on concentric layout and in clockwise rotation. Presently, I am not aware of any existing examples of a dual (b), complementary (c) or complementary-dual (d) to the Ravenna type labyrinth (a).

Figure 3. The Relatives of the Ravenna-type Labyrinth – Basic Forms

From these basic forms it can be well seen that it seems justified to classify the complementary and complementary-dual labyrinths as uninteresting. The outermost (labyrinth c) and innermost (labyrinth d) respectively walls delimiting the path appear disrupted. Therefore labyrinths c and d seem less perfect than the original (a) and dual (b) labyrinths, where the pathway enters the labyrinth and reaches the center axially.

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A Lavender Labyrinth Type Ravenna at Bamberg (Germany)

A way of creation was installed in Bamberg in 2007 with 12 stations on the circular track. It begins and ends at the former cloister Saint Michael.

A lavender labyrinth on a meadow below the clinic Saint Getreu is the second station. The alignment is taken from the medieval labyrinth in the cathedral San Vitale in Ravenna (Italy), dated to the 16th century.

The 7-circuit medieval labyrinth type Ravenna

The 7-circuit medieval labyrinth type Ravenna

The labyrinth has a diameter of about 27 m. The way into the center amounts to good 350 meters. In the middle grows a vine.  The geographical position of the labyrinth: N 49° 53′ 39.4″, E 10° 52′ 18.2″.

Seen on Google Earth: The labyrinth is situated on the Meadow between the “St. Getreu-Straße” und the way “Ottobrunnen” (not for cars).

If you want to visit the labyrinth the best would be to look for the St. Getreu-Straße. The church St. Getreu and the clinic St. Getreu are situated there too. If one goes (seen from the street) on the left side around the clinic downhill, one will hit the labyrinth on the meadow. Or easier: you enter the clinic, cut across, and take a door outward at the lowest level.

There is a flyer with a location drawing and information on the 12 stations of the creation way. The way was put on to the 1000-years jubilee of the archbishopric Bamberg. Klaus Schwaab, the environmental officer of the archdiocese Bamberg, is person of contact.

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