Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mary's Column

In the middle of Marienplatz is a lone column built in 1638 to celebrate the end of Swedish occupation during the Thirty Years War. The war fought in 1618-48 was one of the most destructive conflicts in European history. It was fought for the most part on German soil, and involved most of the countries of Europe. Initially the war was fought largely as a religious conflict between Protestant and Catholics, but eventually involved most of the powers of Europe and in some ways was a continuation of the Bourbon-Habsburg rivalry between France and the largely German Habsburg powers. The war weighed heavily on Germany as the foraging armies led to destruction of entire regions with episodes of famine and disease driving down the population of Germany. The column is topped by a golden statue of the Virgin Mary standing on a crescent moon as the Queen of Heaven, a figure that was originally located in the Frauenkirche. Crowds meet at Mary’s Column every day around 10 am to take a series of walking tours around Europe.

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