New Town Hall visually monopolizes Marienplatz. St. Mary’s Square has been the center of Munich since the mid-12th century. The large plaza is named after Mariensäule. The Marian column was erected in 1638 to celebrate Munich being spared during the Thirty Years’ War. The gilded statue of the Virgin Mary was sculpted by Hubert Gerhard in 1593. Maria stands on a crescent moon with a scepter in one hand and the Baby Jesus in the other. She is called Patrona Bavariae, meaning the Patroness of Bavaria. This recognition was confirmed by Pope Benedict XV in 1916.