The plague column at Trata stands at the arterial road to Semič. The church of St Michael is nearby, and its dome is reminiscent of the church of St Trinity at Vinji Vrh.

This is one of the oldest and rarest masonry plague columns of its kind in Bela krajina. It was built in the first half of the 17th century. It reminds us of the plague taking its toll in these villages and towns a long time ago. The masonry plague column has a square ground plan. Visually it consists of three parts. The bottom part is made of stone, the middle part is an attachment with niches and the upper part is a roof. The most dynamic part is the attachment with the niches. Wooden statues sometimes stood inside them and were later replaced by plaster castings. It was most likely erected by someone who wanted to point out in particular his gratitude to God’s grace for protecting him from a cruel death.

Historical documents contain reports of plague outbreaks in the town of Metlika around 1646 and in Črnomelj and its surroundings in 1691. The patients developed carbuncles, red pus-filled swellings, and buboes, severe inflammation and swelling of the lymph nodes. Historians state that the authorities already knew effective measures against the spread of infectious diseases back then. They ordered a contagious closure, then imposed quarantine on individual towns, closed the provincial borders and stopped traffic. In this way, they physically prevented the spread of the disease.
Sounds familiar…?

The masonry plague column is a part of the longer Karst Educational Trail from the Lebica karstic cave to Krupa. It is cared for by the locals, they call it Pild. As you walk past it, think of the gratitude its builders once felt. Let yourself also be filled with gratitude for a pleasant walk along the beautiful Karst Educational Trail that passes this column!


Foto: Jan Kocjan