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SK: Marian Columns – Stone Witnesses of Victory Over Epidemics

Published: 31.5.2020
Last week we wrote about the history of construction and the symbolism of plague columns in Europe, today we will focus on these sights in Slovakia. Marian columns are the largest here. These are typical of a depiction of the Virgin Mary with a child or a statue of the Immaculate Conception (Immaculate Conception) on top of them.

Marian columns were built for the glory of the Virgin Mary, often as a token of gratitude for the end of the plague or other significant assistance. The capital of Slovakia has its Marian Plague Column on Župní Square, in front of St. Stephen's Church (Capuchin Church). According to one of the inscriptions, it was built in 1723, ten years after the outbreak of the plague in Bratislava.

mariánský morový sloup, Bratislava

The immaculata of Nitra is one of the most beautiful Slovak Marian columns. It was built by Bishop Imrich Esterházy in 1710 and 1739. This sculptural group is dominated by a gilded statue of the Immaculate Conception with a gloriola of stars around its head. It was made in 1750 by the Austrian sculptor Martin Vögerl.

Immaculata, Nitra

The Trenčín Marian Column on Mírové square is no less attractive. It was built by Count Mikuláš Ilešház in 1712 as a memorial to the victims of the plague epidemic of 1710.

Immaculate (1738) is also located on Mariánské náměstí in the historical center of Žilina. It is interesting that in 1953, when they wanted to rename the city to Stalin's, there were plans to move the statue to another location. However, after the stonemason fell from the scaffolding and his subsequent death, no one tried to repeat it.

mariánsky sloup, Banská Bystrica

mariánský sloup, Brezno; (c) Mgr. Anna Nociarová   mariánský sloup, Banská Bystrica; (c) Mgr. Anna Nociarová

However, the Banská Bystrica plague column, which now rises again in its original place, did not escape the relocation from the square during the socialist period. The Marian Column in Brezno from 1741 has a different history. Juraj Machner had to build it at his own expense, as a punishment for publicly uttering the curse.

morový sloup, Košice

Many Marian columns are also in eastern Slovakia. An epidemic broke out in Košice in 1709. When this suffering ceased, the survivors were assembled on a new plague pillar on the site of the old military execution site. Thus, a 14 m high Baroque plague column of the Immaculate Virgin Mary (1723) began to form on today's Hlavní street. Similarly, a sculptural group of the Immaculate Virgin Mary (1751) was erected at the former Prešov execution site - on Hlavní street in the historic center. It was built there by the Jesuits in memory of the victims of plague epidemics from 1679 and 1710. Spišské Podhradí also remembers the plague epidemic with a Marian column (1726) on its square.

mariánský sloup, Spišské Podhradí; (c) Mgr. Anna Nociarová

The list of these monuments could continue for a long time. The construction of Marian and Marian columns completed many squares of cities and towns. We usually admire their external beauty, but we miss the original meaning of thanks. Therefore, let's try to look back, especially at the moment, if we do not have such a monument right under our noses.

mariánský morový sloup, Skalica; (c) Mgr. Anna Nociarová

GPS: 48°19'03.9"N 18°05'16.5"E (Nitra)

Text: Mgr. Anna Nociarová

Photos: Mgr. Anna Nociarová, Infoglobe

Edited by: Infoglobe

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