The Plague Memorial, also known as the Plague Column, is an important historical monument located in Maribor’s Main Square. Erected in the early 18th century, it stands as a solemn reminder of the devastating plague epidemics that swept through Europe, including Maribor, in previous centuries.

The monument in Maribor was built between 1743 and 1745, in gratitude for the end of a plague epidemic that hit the city in 1680. The baroque column is dedicated to the Virgin Mary (also known as Mary, Help of Christians), who is often invoked as a protector against diseases. This practice of erecting monuments in honor of the end of plague epidemics was quite common in Central Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries.

At the top of the column, you’ll find a statue of the Virgin Mary standing on a cloud, crushing a dragon under her feet. The dragon is a symbol of evil and disease, while the Virgin Mary represents divine protection and mercy.

Around the base of the column, there are smaller statues of saints who were often invoked for protection against plague and other calamities. These include Saint Sebastian, Saint Roch, Saint Francis Xavier, and Saint Carlo Borromeo. These saints are depicted with their traditional attributes, such as arrows for Saint Sebastian and a dog with bread for Saint Roch.

The Plague Memorial is not only a piece of religious art; it also has a historical and symbolic significance. It stands as a testament to the city’s resilience in the face of adversity and a memorial to those who lost their lives to the plague. It also tells a story about the deep faith and gratitude of the survivors who, relieved to see the end of the devastating epidemic, erected the column as a sign of their thankfulness.