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Medieval Church & Cathedral Labyrinths - Photos


The adoption of the labyrinth by the Christian faith began during the Roman period. The first known pavement labyrinth with obvious Christian context is found in a basilica in Algeria during the 4th century. At first these Christian labyrinths appeared mainly in manuscripts, but during the 12th century they began to be utilised in churches and cathedrals as architectural features, especially in Italy, and during the 13th century spread to northern France, where the familiar pavement labyrinths were developed. Although the paved labyrinths are well-known, others formed of tiles and carved as inscriptions, etc. are widespread, and an extensive group of pebble mosaic labyrinths are also found in northern Spain. Despite a further flourish of symbolic popularity during the Renaissance, as tastes changed from the 17th century onwards, a number were subsequently removed by renovations, or even deliberately destroyed. Despite these losses, a revival of interest during the late 19th century, restored a few lost examples and added a number of new examples and replicas to the varied selection that survive to this day - see our Gothic Revival Labyrinths photo page.


© Labyrinthos Photo Library

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

S. Leonard, Colli a Volturno, Italy
12th or 13th century?

Lucca Cathedral, Italy
early 12th century

S. Francesco, Alatri, Italy
 12th to 14th century

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

S. Vitale, Ravenna, Italy

early 1540s

S. Sinforosa, Tossicia, Italy

14th or 15th century

S. Benedetto, Conversano, Italy
12th century?

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

S. Pietro Conflentu, Pontremoli, Italy
 12th century?

Hollywood Stone, Lockstown, Ireland
early medieval?

Rock of Cashel, Ireland
early 12th century?

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

St. Lawrence, Rathmore, Ireland
c.1450

St. Hubertus, Sint-Huibrechts Hern, Belgium, medieval

S. Pedro, Murueta, Spain
1604

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

S. Nicolás, Zaldu, Spain
1792

S. Pedro, Mendexa, Spain

late 16th or 17th century?

S. Pedro, Mendexa, Spain

late 16th or 17th century?

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

Collégiale St. Quentin, France,
1495

Bayeux Cathedral, France
late-14th or early 15th century

St. Pierre, Genainville, France,
14th century?

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

Collégiale St. Quentin, France,
1495

Bayeux Cathedral, France
late-14th or early 15th century

Mirepoix Cathedral, France
c. 1530

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

Chartres Cathedral, France
c. 1215-1220

Chartres Cathedral, France
c. 1215-1220

St. Mary Redcliffe, Bristol, England
1390s


All of the images on this page (and many more besides) are available in high resolution digital formats for licensed reproduction. For details of reproduction fees and permission procedures, send us an e-mail with details of your planned usage and format requirements.


We also have pages with graphics of medieval labyrinths, and a page of photos of the 19th century Gothic Revival Labyrinths.



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