The Labyrinth in New Harmony was originally designed as a place for meditation and reflection by the Rappites, an ultra-religious German society, in the early 19th century. While a vow of celibacy ultimately ended the community's hope for survival, the town of New Harmony still holds remnants of their attempt at a perfect society. The labyrinth is the most striking of these lasting remains. The Rappites viewed the labyrinth as a challenge and a symbolic attempt to overcome the issues in their life.
When the Rappites left their community, the labyrinth was left in disrepair until the mid-20th century. It was constructed as a classic labyrinth, with only one true path to the center, and although it was turned into a maze in the 1930s, a 2008 reconstruction based on archival information restored the labyrinth to its original form.
The labyrinth now stands proudly on the main street of New Harmony, Indiana, and is open admission-free year round. Visitors can take the challenge themselves, working their way around the shrub labyrinth toward the center, where there is a stone Rappite temple. For visitors lacking patience, gates allow for a shortcut directly to the center temple.
Along with the labyrinth, the town of New Harmony has preserved many of the older buildings of their first communities, and a walk through town provides a window into the workings of an early American religious utopia.