Sailing Tour - From Passau to Linz, Danube
As boats leave Passau for a sail on the Danube toward Linz, the first castle on the (Upper) Austrian side is Krempelstein. On the right, high above the river, stands Schloss Vichtenstein. Then comes the Jochenstein hydroelectric station.
Engelszell Cistercian Abbey
As the boat sailing the Danube from Passau to Linz passes Engelhartszell (on the right; 307m/1,007ft), with the Roccoco church (pulpit and stucco sculpture by Übelherr, frescos by Bartolomeo Altomonte) of the former Engelszell Cistercian Abbey, Schloss Rannariedl and Schloss Marsbach are seen on the ridges of hills on the left.
After the boat sailing the Danube from Passau to Linz passes Engelhartszell, the valley now becomes still narrower and with little human habitation. Then, after the great loop known as the Schlögener Schlinge, the scene changes, and the boat sails past a series of friendly little holiday villages such as Obermühl and Neuhaus, the latter with an old castle looming over it, a conspicuous landmark.
As the Danube winds by the straggling little town of Aschach (267m/876ft), with a row of 16th-18th C. gabled houses, the hills draw away from the river and open up a view of the chain of the Alps. A bridge crosses the Danube near Aschach.
A little south of Aschach lies the small town of Eferding (271m/890ft; mentioned in the "Nibelungenlied"), with several old churches, including the Late Gothic parish church, and the Starhembergsche Schloss (13th. C. with many additions and an 18th C. Neo-Classical facade).
Beyond Wilhering comes a narrower stretch of valley. On the right of the Danube is the Kürnberger Wald, with an old pagan place of assembly and a later Saxon castle. On the left stands the little tower of Schloss Puchenau and behind it, on the Pöstlingberg, an imposing Baroque church.
Linz on the Danube
After a wide turn, the boat traveling the Danube from Passau to Linz arrives at the Upper Austrian capital of Linz. Its beautiful setting can be appreciated much more easily from the river than from road or railroad. To the left rises the Pöstlingberg (537m/1,762ft), a popular viewpoint from which in clear weather there is a superb view of the Alps; an electric mountain railroad runs to the top. As the vessel continues on its way there is a fine view, looking backwards, of Linz in its setting of hills.
Beyond the inflow of the Traun and opposite that of the Enns lies the old customs post of Mauthausen, with Schloss Pragstein (15th C.; local museum) projecting into the river. In the Romanesque St Barbara's Chapel in the Late Gothic parish church are well-preserved 14th C. wall paintings. At the end of the town is a salt barn, a reminder of the medieval salt trade. Mauthausen has the largest granite quarries in Austria.
Mauthausen Concentration Camp
About 3km/2mi northwest of Mauthausen lies the site of the notorious Nazi concentration camp, the inmates of which were forced to labor in the quarry. The Austrian government has equipped one building as a museum, and the rest of the camp has been converted into a memorial site, with inscribed tablets showing from which countries the prisoners came.The camp is also known as the Public Warning and Memorial Site. The museum includes 250 panels and display cases provide a horrific look at life during the Holocaust.
Opening hours: 9am-5:30pm
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Day after Christmas, St Stephen's Day, Boxing Day (Dec 26), New Year's Eve (Dec 31), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Christmas Eve - Christian (Dec 24)
Guides: Taped tours for rent. Guided tour available as optional extra.
Facilities: Gift shop
Some 5km/3mi up the Enns, on the site of the Roman fort of Lauriacum, lies the town of Enns (280m/900ft; pop. 10,000). Under the Gothic church of St Lawrence (13th C.) were found remains of the Roman Capitol, an Early Christian basilica and a Carolingian church. In the main square stand the Stadtturm (1564-68), 59m/194ft high, the old Rathaus (1547), now housing the Municipal Museum, and, to the north, Schloss Ennsegg (16th- 17th C.). The parish church of St Mary has a Gothic cloister.
St Florian, Austria
The little market town of St Florian, 15km/9.5mi southeast of Linz, is dominated by its famous Augustinian Abbey of the same name, one of the most splendid examples of Baroque architecture in Austria.
The medieval St Florian Augustinian Abbey was redone in Baroque Style in the late 1600s. It is still an important theological institution. One of the highlights of the abbey is the Altdorfer Gallery.
Austrian Fire Brigade Museum
The former abbey dairy at Stiftstrasse No. 2 in St Florian now houses the Austrian Fire Brigade Museum, documenting the development of fire fighting techniques from buckets to steam hoses, with much interesting equipment and vehicles on display.
Upper Austrian Hunting Museum in Schloss Hohenbrunn
South of St Florian, on the River Ipf, stands Schloss Hohenbrunn, built 1722-32 by the famous Baroque master-builder Jakob Prandtauer and restored 1963-67. It now houses the Upper Austrian Hunting Museum, documenting game, hunting (including antlers), customs associated with hunting and the development thereof in Upper Austria. Conducted tour on request or by prior arrangement.
Upper Austrian Open Air Museum (Sumerau Memorial)
In the Samesleiten district east of St Florian is the Upper Austrian Open Air Museum and the "Sumerau Memorial". The building forms part of the abbey and goes back to the 13th C.; it represents a typical Upper Austrian square courtyard, and the construction has remained basically unchanged since 1856; an inn was added in 1970. Note the exhibition of painted rural furniture covering four centuries - examples of folk art displaying scenes from the worlds of the peasant, the middle class citizen, the nobleman and the man of God. The exhibition is open March 1-October 31, Tue.-Sun. 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.; also, by prior arrangement, on Mons. and from November-March; conducted tours on request.