Maribor’s Main Square is home to an important historical monument, the Plague Memorial, also known as the Plague Column. Constructed between 1743 and 1745, this solemn monument honors the end of a devastating plague epidemic that struck the city in 1680, serving as a poignant reminder of the toll such diseases took throughout Europe in bygone centuries.

This baroque column is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, also revered as Mary, Help of Christians, a protector commonly invoked against diseases. The tradition of erecting such monuments following the cessation of plague epidemics was prevalent in Central Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Atop the column, a statue of the Virgin Mary stands on a cloud, vanquishing a dragon beneath her feet. Symbolically, the dragon represents evil and disease, while Mary embodies divine protection and mercy.

Around the column’s base, smaller statues of saints who were often sought for protection against the plague and other calamities can be seen. These include Saint Sebastian, Saint Roch, Saint Francis Xavier, and Saint Carlo Borromeo, each depicted with their traditional attributes, like arrows for Saint Sebastian and a dog with bread for Saint Roch.

The Plague Memorial transcends mere religious artistry; it is a historical artifact bearing symbolic significance. It stands as an enduring testament to Maribor’s resilience amid adversity, a memorial for those claimed by the plague, and a narrative of survivors’ deep faith and gratitude, who erected the column in thankful relief at the epidemic’s end.