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  • Writer's pictureSElliott

Day 9 - Climbs, Floods and the Largest Church Organ in the World

Updated: Dec 25, 2022

We woke up this morning in Passau. This is a frontier town between Germany and Austria and lies at the confluence of three rivers – the Inn, the Danube and the small river Ilz. It is therefore known as “the town of three rivers”. The old town lies between the Inn and the Danube and centres around the baroque St. Stephen’s Cathedral which is located at the Old Town’s highest point. The interior of this was the complete opposite of the cathedral in Bamburg that we visited earlier in the trip! It was almost completely burnt down in a fire in 1662 (the roof collapsed as the local populace was celebrating that it was still standing) and was rebuilt by the famous baroque architect Carlo Lurago. The interior was all stucco works by Giovanni Battista Carlone and frescos painted by Carpoforo Tencalla. I’ve never seen anything like it!

Picture 1, 2, 3 - Passau Cathedral

This cathedral also houses the largest church organ in the world (located in a church) - it has 17,974 organ pipes and 233 stops. All five parts of the organ can be played from the main console, individually or simultaneously, offering the visitor an unforgettable acoustical delight. There is a concert every day at midday.

Picture 4 - Passau Cathedral Organ

From the cathedral we walked down through the old town. As mentioned above, fires were common in the middle ages and, to combat this, the houses had iron shutters and iron doors on the ground floor to try to prevent the spread of fire.

Picture 5 - Iron Shutters

The Old Town has many wee alleyways with arches across them from building to building – not as access ways but to stop the buildings from falling into each other! We ended the walk by the Danube, outside the Town Hall with its frescoed outside walls.

Picture 6 - Passau Town Hall

From the Town Hall, Mum decided to return to the ship (on a meandering course through the wandering streets of the old town) whilst I decided to walk up to the Veste Oberhaus fortress with another passenger from the cruise ship. We crossed the Danube and started to walk up the steps to the fortress. It was a climb but not too strenuous with plenty of areas where you can take a break. The view from the top was well worth it!!

Picture 7 - View from the Veste Oberhaus Fortress

Before we descended we walked through the fortress. It was built in 1219 by Passau’s Prince-Bishops in order to control commerce across the rivers. However, the date it was finished is painted on its wall in old Germanic numbers – 1499. Today it houses a museum and Youth Hostel – what a pity I forgot my card!


We descended from the Fortress and returned to the ship. A short while later we decided to go for another wander in the Old Town, this time going in the opposite direction from the cathedral and found ourselves in the Baroque Pfarrkirhe St. Paul. Again with fancy stuccos and frescos!

Pictures 8, 9 - Saint-Paul-Pfarrkirche

We arrived back at the ship prior to our sailing time of 2pm and spent the afternoon in the lounge as the ship travelled along the Danube to Linz, our next stop. There were some lovely views along the river, especially at sunset.

Picture 10 - River View at Sunset

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