If you’ve ever gotten lost in a maze cut out of a cornfield or one made of mirrors at an amusement park, you’ve taken part in an ancient tradition. These puzzling, winding pathways have been found in nearly every part of the world, from the American Southwest to Scandinavia and North Africa to India, dating back thousands of years.
Though the terms are often used interchangeably, there’s actually a big difference between a labyrinth and a maze: The former has a single continuous path that will eventually reach the center, while the latter has multiple branching paths throughout its design, including dead ends. Because you can never really get lost in a labyrinth, its winding path can be used as a form of walking meditation. A maze, on the other hand, might be designed to intentionally confuse and disorient those who choose to brave its twists and turns.
To celebrate the launch of AO Puzzles, we’ve gathered a few of our favorite mazes and labyrinths from around the world. From a record-setting hedge maze to the legendary Greek labyrinth said to have held the Minotaur, these winding walkways might throw you for a loop.
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