Prague erects replica of baroque Virgin Mary statue
The historic statue of the Virgin Mary in its original form was tore down by revolutionary mob. However, it has been replaced with a replica in Prague.
The statue which had been erected to celebrate the victory of pro-Catholic Habsburg forces in 1652 over Sweden in the 30 years’ war, it was toppled by a group of radicals in November 1918 as the empire of Habsburg crumbled at the end of the first world war. The revolutionaries saw the statue as a symbol of Habsburg oppression.
Prague erects replica of baroque Virgin Mary statue toppled in 1918, The sculptor Petr Váňa who finally realised his 25-year quest to return the Virgin Mary to her spot atop a 17-metre column in the Czech capital’s Old Town Square, a magnet for tourists until coronavirus pandemic prompted the country to shutdown its borders in March.
To a backdrop of applause, cheers, prayers and hymns, Váňa was raised with a hoist on Thursday to affix his recreation of the baroque figurine to the top the column.
The statue weighs about three tonnes, which took up to seven hours to be move from a less distinguished site outside the nearby Tyn church and next to a pizzeria using a mobile crane, where it had been for the last seventeen years.
Sculptor Petr Váňa teamed up with stonemasons to fashion painstaking copies of the original and its supporting column. The remains of the originals are displayed at Prague’s lapidarium, which has been part of the Czech national museum.
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Petr Váňa fought off opposition to the plan, including the city council of Prague, which raised repeated obstacles to placing the replica statue in the square despite giving go-ahead initiated in 2013.
Some antagonists of the scheme argued that the statue was still a symbol of Habsburg supression and enforced Catholic domination of the country. Among those opponents were Protestant and atheist groups. Czech Republic has one the lowest levels of religious belief in Europe by the survey carried out in the country.
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After years of dispute final permission to close off a section of the square was only secured in January. Petr Váňa and his co-workers began work in February to build the statue on which the column sits.
The sandstone statue sits yards from another of Jan Hus, a theologian and key figure in the Bohemian reformation, a forerunner to the Protestant reformation.
They have finished nearly two-and-a-half months ahead of schedule, helped – campaigners say – by the lockdown, which emptied the square of its usual crowd of tourists and market stalls, enabling them to work unhindered.