The bishop's residence is situated picturesquely on a peninsula at the confluence of the Danube and Inn. Narrow alleys and stairways cross the Old Town of Passau where the houses with flat roofs seem almost Italian. The Cathedral with its peculiar combination of late Gothic and Baroque elements and the Residence Square with its old patrician houses are especially worth seeing in this 200 AD founded city.
Baroque church of superlatives
Since the early Middle Ages, bishop's churches have been built on the site of today's cathedral several times. The present shape of St. Stephen dates from the years 1668 to 1693, when after the city fire of 1662 only the late Gothic eastern part of the building was preserved. The Italian master Carlo Lurago was commissioned with the reconstruction, who added a baroque new building to the remaining part. The result is the largest Baroque church interior north of the Alps and the most important Italian-style Baroque church on German soil. Another superlative is the organ from 1928: it consists of 17,974 pipes, distributed over five partial organs with 233 stops, which can be played individually or together.
Three-coloured confluence of the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers
At the foot of Niederhaus Castle the Ilz River flows from the left into the Danube and shortly afterwards the Inn River flows from the right into the Danube. The water of the Inn, which comes from the Alps, is green, the Danube blue and the Ilz, which comes from a moor area, black, so that the Danube has three water colours (green/blue/black) for some distance after the confluence. If you look closely, you will notice that the Inn carries considerably more water than the Danube. Strictly speaking, the united river should be called the Inn.
With an area of 65,000 square metres, the former fortress of the Passau prince-bishops is one of the largest and most powerful castles in Europe. Founded in 1219 and extended over centuries, the Veste Oberhaus is an impressive European cultural monument. At the top you have the best view of the city. Inside are the Passauer Stadtmuseum and the Neue Galerie (new gallery). A weir connects the Veste Oberhaus with the Veste Niederhaus on the headland between the Danube and Ilz.