Picture this: it’s the height of summer, the sky is dreary, and you’re lost in the coils of a maze. A knitted maze. This was the second Saffron Walden Maze Festival, a celebration inspired by the town’s two historic mazes – one, an ancient turf labyrinth, the other a nineteenth century hedge puzzle.
Is there a difference between a labyrinth and a maze? The two terms are often used interchangeably but they are actually distinct things. Labyrinths came first, dating back at least four thousand years, and are based on a unicursal design with a single path to the centre. Mazes are far more recent, appearing about five hundred years ago, and are challenges with dead-ends to confuse and frustrate.
Undoubtedly the most famous labyrinth story is that of the slaying of the Minotaur, a beast who periodically required human sacrifice. The hero, Theseus, managed to slay this bull-headed monster…
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