Pestsäule - Plague Column, Vienna

4 out of 5 stars 30 Reviews

Graben 26, 1010 Wien +43 1 21114084

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  • Graben - Pestsaule
    Graben - Pestsaule
    by croisbeauty
  • Vienna's plague column
    Vienna's plague column
    by balhannah
  • Vienna's plague column
    Vienna's plague column
    by balhannah
  • Odiseya's Profile Photo

    Plague Column

    by Odiseya Written May 27, 2015

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    I like to see monuments and learn what they represent and why they made. In popular and busy Graben street one monument sure catch the eye of visitors. It is the famous Vienna Pestsaule or Plague Column, of course. It looks so powerful and poignant to me. It is also and luxurious monument with all gold or gold-ish decoration on it.

    I find online title for this monument as "Baroque celebration of the end of the Great Plague of Vienna" (by http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/vienna-pestsaule-plague-column). I think is great way to describe it.

    The Great Plague of Vienna makes great impact on Vienna. I find information that this "horrible beast" take many peoples life up to 750000. That beast it seems to be so call Bubonic Plague (Yersinia pestis).

    The column itself is 69 meters high. It was erected in 1693. It has very interesting details. At the base of column you can see figures and I learn that they represent "the triumph of faith over disease". Then you can see and coats of arms and a praying figure of Emperor Leopold I.

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  • breughel's Profile Photo

    High Baroque or Kitsch!

    by breughel Updated Jan 29, 2015

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    I read that this monument is a remarkable example of what is called "high baroque"!
    In french the word "Baroque" means also "weird, unexpected."
    Imo the term "kitsch" is very suitable since my usual French dictionary Le Petit Robert defines "kitsch" by extension as "Baroque bad taste and provocative."

    I would like to add that despite this strange monument I love very much Vienna which is one of my favorite cities concerning museums, palaces, monuments, operas and architecture.
    The paradox is that this Pestsaule is in the center of the Graben which adorns many buildings of beautiful architecture.

    I do as the Viennese when I pass the Pestsaule, I look away. It is not really a "thing to do" so that I fully agree with the comment of a connoisseur like VT member "von.otter".

    High Baroque or Kitsch!
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  • balhannah's Profile Photo

    THE PLAGUE COLUMN

    by balhannah Written May 19, 2014

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    The Plague Column / Trinity Column, I found in the area of Graben.
    Numerous plague epidemics swept through Vienna, killing at least 100,000 people. The emperor at the time, Emperor Leopold I, celebrated the end of the plague by having the baroque Column built. It took 10 years to build, eventually finished in 1693.

    It is a very detailed column that tells a story, so do take the time to take a look.

    In the top area , you can see golden cherubs and other religious figures. Then you can see at the base of the pillar, a group of sculptures representing Faith defeating the plague. An elderly woman, who symbolises the plague, is being pushed into the depths by a little angel. A young woman is standing alongside with a cross, the symbol of faith in her hand. She has a future to look forward to, now the plague has been conquered ! Triumph of faith over disease!

    Also on the column, is Emperor Leopold 1 praying, beside him is his gold- plated crown.
    Guess what? Emperor Leopold I, fled the city during the outbreak.

    Vienna's plague column Vienna's plague column
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  • Raimix's Profile Photo

    Plague column

    by Raimix Updated Nov 2, 2013

    Plague column stands just in famous Graben street, that is known not only for high detailed architecture, nice atmosphere, but also for huge prices of goods here.

    Plague column was build after long construction years in 1693 by Lodovico Burnacini, also more constructors were working to make this high Baroque style sculpture. It later influenced architecture of other plague columns in Austria.

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  • Airpunk's Profile Photo

    Pestsäule (Plague Column)

    by Airpunk Written Jul 30, 2012

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    Like in many Catholic areas, also Vienna has a Plague Column. My opinion is somewhere between "kitsch" and "beautiful" - mainly because it is a good example of baroque art. It later influenced the style of similar columns in the Austrian Empire. The column blends religious and royal (nationalist) elements as it stands for the superation of the last big plague epidemy in 1679 as well as the big Turkish Siege in 1683. Therefore, you will find angels, crosses and religious inscriptions together with coats of arms and a statue of Emperor Leopold I. There is a legend that the artist gave Leopold an ugly face after he was not given the full payment for his work. Therefore, the statue is often called by the nickname "Fotzenpoidl". It is worth to see this monument - not only because it is one of the liveliest shopping streets, but also to get an idea of the importance of these events for the Viennese.

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  • croisbeauty's Profile Photo

    Graben - Pestsaule

    by croisbeauty Updated Sep 4, 2011

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    Graben is word for the trench, this street used to be a trench before the city walls. At the 12th century the city was enlarged and the trench was filled and levelled and soon after it became one of the first residential streets.
    Nowadays Graben belongs to the First District of Vienna and is very busy street full of fine but expensive shops and cafe bars. It is strictly pedestrian area and therefore endeared by both locals and visitors.
    The plague column (Pestsaule) dominates its central part, it was constructed by the order of Emperor Leopold I, following the great plague in Vienna. There are two fountains in Graben, served primarily to put out fires.

    Graben - Pestsaule Pestsaule

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  • MichaelFalk1969's Profile Photo

    Graben & Pestsäule

    by MichaelFalk1969 Updated Jul 2, 2011

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    The "Graben" is the most exclusive Viennese (pedestrian) shopping district, roughly between the Stephansdom Cathedral and the Pestilence monument. The name comes from the fact that it was once a moat, i. e. "Graben" in German. The pestilence monument is a donation from Emperor Leopold I. for the deliverance from the plague, built in 1697.

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  • BillNJ's Profile Photo

    See the Pestsäule

    by BillNJ Written Nov 28, 2010

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    The Pestsäule (Plague Column) is a prominent sculpture on Graben -- in one of the busiest pedestrian zones in Vienna. The sculpture was built in response to the big plague epidemic that inflicted the citizens of Vienna in 1679. After much debate about the design, the monument was finally built in High Baroque style. The Pestsäule was inaugurated in 1693.

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  • gubbi1's Profile Photo

    Pestsäule (Plague colomn)

    by gubbi1 Written Jun 19, 2010

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    Emperor Leopold I promised in 1679 to build a colomn if the plague, one of the last big epidemics in Vienna, would end. After it was gone, a wooden colomn was set up, later on this beautiful piece was built which you can see nowadays. Many people were involved building the colomn, still keeping its style pretty homogeneous.

    Pests��ule, Vienna, AT Pests��ule, Vienna, AT Pests��ule, Vienna, AT
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  • Rupanworld's Profile Photo

    Pestsaule Statue

    by Rupanworld Updated Dec 25, 2008

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    In the Graben Square in central Vienna, one can see a statue called the Pestsaule. The statue is impressive and would make a nice travel photo for tourists. However, the history is not something to be happy about. It was commissioned by Emperor Leopold I to Virgin Mary to thank her for intervention to quell the pestilence and other scourges which had hit Vienna from time to time, mainly the bubonic plague that hit Vienna in 1679 taking the lives of about 75,000 people. The statue was erected in 1693.

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  • pure1942's Profile Photo

    Pestsaule Column

    by pure1942 Written Apr 23, 2008

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    This Baroque Column was built as a memorial to the plague, which swept through the city in 1679. the column and memorial was commisioned by Emperor Leopold I and was designed by Matthias Rauchmiller, Lodovico Bernhard and J.B. Fischer von Erlach.
    The monument depicts a wretched woman, representing the plague, watched over by an angel. the emperor sits atop the column praying.

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  • von.otter's Profile Photo

    The Pestsäule (the Plague Column)

    by von.otter Updated Dec 17, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    “In the middle stands a monumental column that looks very much like a dice tumbler.”
    — Gérard de Nerval, (1808–1855), French poet, on the Pestsäule, the Plague Column

    In Sickness and Health—The Pestsäule (the Plague Column) is sometimes known as the Trinity Column. The Viennese hold this monumental thanksgiving offering, designed by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach, between 1713 and 1714, in high esteem. It stands 69-feet tall on the fashionable shopping boulevard known as the Graben; it was commissioned by Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I (kneeling at the center of photo #2) to give thanks to God for the cessation of the plague that had ravaged the city in 1679.

    Like so much, in so many tourist cities, the Pestsäule is not something that one does. Because it stands on a shopping street, one passes it by as one goes about from here to there. One takes note of it, perhaps appreciates it for the history it represents or the beauty it has; but the Pestsäule is not really “a thing to do,” as a museum is “a thing to do.”

    It is such a frothy, Baroque, very Viennese object, I would encourage a visitor to take a look at the Pestsäule.

    The Plague Column, December 2001 The Plague Column, detail, December 2001
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  • Vanity666's Profile Photo

    The Graben-Fountain Plague Column

    by Vanity666 Written Aug 13, 2007

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    Der Graben (German, literally, "the trench") is one of the most famous streets in Vienna's first district, the city centre. It begins at Stock-im-Eisen-Platz next to the Palais Equitable and ends at the junction of Kohlmarkt and Tuchlauben. Another street in the first district is called Tiefer Graben (deep ditch). It is crossed by Wipplinger Straße by means of the Hohe Brücke, a bridge about ten metres above street level.

    The Pestsäule (Plague column) is one of the most well-known and prominent pieces of sculpture in the city.

    In 1679, Vienna was visited by one of the last big plague epidemics. Fleeing the city, Emperor Leopold I vowed to erect a mercy column if the epidemic would end. In the same year, a provisional wooden column made by Johann Frühwirth was inaugurated, showing the Holy Trinity on a corinthian column together with nine sculpted angel (for the Nine Choirs of Angels). In 1683, Matthias Rauchmiller was commissioned to do the marble works, but he died in 1686 and only left a few angel figures. Several new designs followed, among others by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach, who designed the sculptures at the base of the column. Finally, the project management was assigned to Paul Strudel, who based his work on the concept of theatre engineer Lodovico Burnacini. Below the Trinity figure, Burnacini envisioned a cloud pyramid with angel sculptures as well as the kneeling emperor Leopold, praying to a sculpture of faith. Among others, the sculptors Tobias Kracker and Johann Bendel contributed to the column. The column was inaugurated in 1693.

    In spite of the long construction period, the frequent amendments of the design and the large number of sculptors involved, the monument appears quite homogeneous. During the design period, it changed from a conservative memorial column to a high baroque scene, narrating a story in a theatrical form. The monument thus indicates the transition to the era of High Baroque in Vienna. It highly influenced the style and was imitated in the whole Austrian region.

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  • Inguuna's Profile Photo

    Pestsaule and Graben

    by Inguuna Written Jan 24, 2007

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    Pestsaule – the monument which was built after demand of imperator Leopold, is located in one of the busiest parts of the city. He asked to build it after the big plague epidemic at the end of 17th century. At the top of the monument one can see the imperator who prays, in the middle part there are many figures which show that praying can win the plague.
    The street is also very popular with its’ many shops.

    The street with monument
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  • alancollins's Profile Photo

    Pestsaule

    by alancollins Updated Jan 2, 2007

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    This memorial is a Plague Column, that was erected at this location in 1693 in celebration of the end of the epidemic. In 1679 between 75,000 & 150,000 people fell victim to the Plague. There are many other similar columns all over Austria.

    Plague Column Plague Column
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