Passau Tourist Attractions
The old episcopal city of Passau is magnificently situated on the Austrian frontier at the junction of the Danube, here only 240m/260yds wide, with the Inn (290m/315yds wide). With its houses in the Italian style characteristic of the towns in the Inn and Salzach valleys, dominated by the Oberhaus fortress and the Mariahilf church, it presents a townscape of arresting beauty. Alexander von Humbolt counted this "city of the three rivers" among the seven most beautifully situated towns in the world.
The old town of Passau lies on a narrow tongue of land between the Danube and the Inn, its houses huddling round a hill from which picturesque stepped lanes lead down to the two rivers. The flat-roofed houses in the German/Italian style characteristic of the towns in the Inn and Salzach valleys - often linked by flying buttresses across the street - mostly date from the period after the great fires of the 17th C. which destroyed most of Passau's medieval buildings.
On the right bank of the Inn river, occupying the site of the old Celtic settlement of Bojodurum, is the Innstadt district, the "town on the Inn," at the west end of which is the church of St Severinus (8th, 12th and 15th-16th C.).
To the east of St Severinus in Innstadt is the Roman Museum (Römermuseum). Here, in 1974, were discovered the foundations of the Late Roman base of Bolotro (third C.); after excavation, the site was partly reconstructed. Material recovered by excavation is displayed in the Gruberhaus.
Above the Innstadt stands the pilgrimage church of Mariahilf (1627). From still higher up there are fine views of the town of Passau, the confluence of the Danube and the Inn and the Veste Oberhaus.
From the old town, the Luitpoldbrücke crosses to the left bank of the Danube, from which a road cut through the rock in 1762 runs up the right bank of the Ilz. On the left, against the rock face, is St Salvator's Church (15th C.), now used as a concert hall. Beyond the bridge over the Ilz a road climbs up on the left to the former episcopal stronghold of Veste Oberhaus (13th-16th C.). This now houses the Municipal Museum on the History of Culture (Bohemian Forest Museum, Lower Bavarian Fire Service Museum, Art Gallery). From the outlook tower there are superb views.
The surroundings of Passau include Obernzel and the Jochenstein power station.
Obernzel, 14km/8.5mi east of Passau, has a charming Roccoco parish church and an old castle of the Prince-Bishops (14th C.; Ceramic Museum).
Jochenstein Power Station
On the Danube, 22km/13mi east of Passau, is the Jochenstein power station (1956), in its day one of the largest hydroelectric stations in Europe.