Plague Statue

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In the 17th century there were many plague epidemics in Austria, the worst is said to be the one in 1679. There are many columns in the country which remind this period of time. One very famous, and the first one that was built and that inspired the erection of many similar monuments throughout Austria, stands close to the Stephansdom, on the Stephansplatz – the Plague Column or Pestsaule. It was erected in 1693 at the behest of the Emperor Leopold I to mark the emergence of the city from the disastrous plague of 1679. It is the work of three most famous artists of that era, Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach, Ludovico Ottavio Burnacini and Paul Strudel. It took them 11 years to finish the column (works started in 1682). This baroque structure has chiseled representations of clouds piled high like whipped cream. It's dotted profusely with statues of ecstatic saints fervently thanking God for relief from an outbreak of the Black Plague that may have killed as many as 150,000 people. Besides clouds, there are angels and martyrs. Today, the column is covered by nearly invisible net as a protection against pigeons.
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