Harvard Divinity School Labyrinth – Cambridge, Massachusetts - Atlas Obscura
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Cambridge, Massachusetts

Harvard Divinity School Labyrinth

This hidden labyrinth offers walkers some brief peace of mind. 

Universities can be fairly stressful places. Their campuses are packed with students worrying about classes and exams, plus faculty members pondering their own lesson plans. But tucked away in a secluded garden, practically hidden from sight, is a small sliver of calm—for those who know where to look.

Head to the courtyard near Andover Hall, which houses the Harvard Divinity School, and you’ll find a small labyrinth waiting to be walked. It was constructed to be a small sanctuary; a place where those looking to clear their minds could take a contemplative walk.

According to the plaque near the labyrinth, walking serves as a form of pilgrimage. The way to the center follows the longest possible route, giving walkers ample time to connect with their thoughts. And because there’s only one possible route—it isn’t a maze—the journey is something that cannot be rushed.

Its design isn’t entirely unique. In fact, the Harvard labyrinth was based off the design of the 13th-century labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral. And like its French inspiration, the Cambridge labyrinth is also sometimes partially obscured by chairs.

Know Before You Go

The labyrinth is in a courtyard near the Divinity School. Keep in mind that this is supposed to be a relaxing place for contemplation. Because the labyrinth is on the small side, its many turns may be difficult for those in wheelchairs to navigate.

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