Passau – The “Three-Rivers-City”


Eva Wipplinger, Germany

Passau is located  in the southeast of Germany at the Austrian border. It is confluenced by  the rivers Danube, Inn and Ilz. That’s why Passau is worldwide known as “The Three-Rivers-City”.

The earliest evidence of human settlement dates back to the Neolithic. Passau was part of the Roman Empire for more than 400 years. It became an Episcopal seat in the year 739 AD. Passau was an independent prince bishopric for over 600 years. Finally in 1803 Passau was annexed into Bavaria. The setting of the Old Town, created by Italian baroque masters in the 17th century, shows soaring towers, picturesque places, enchanting promenades and romantic lanes.                                                                                                                                             

 A lot of sights are located in Passau’s Old Town:     

  • many churches

-> St. Steven’s Cathedral

  • New Bishop’s Residence
  • Gothic Town Hall
  • Many museums
  • ‘Veste Oberhaus’ ( in the north)
  • Pilgrimage Church ‘Mariahilf’ ( in the south)

St. Steven’s Cathedral

This Cathedral is located on the Old Town’s highest point with its three characteristic green, onion domed towers. The Building had burnt down almost completely in the devastating town fire in 1662, but it was rebuilt by the famous baroque architect Carlo Lurago. The stucco works were done by  G.B. Carlone and the frescos were painted by Carpoforus Tencalla. All of them were famous Italian baroque artists.                                           With its 17974 organ pipes, 233 stops and the 4 carillons it is the world’s largest cathedral organ. All five parts of the organ can be played from the main keyboard one at a time or all together.



Founded in 1973, it is the youngest university in Bavaria and consequently has the most modern campus in the state.Nevertheless, its roots as the Institute for Catholic Studies date back a hundreds of years.     After  the university opened to the public in 1978 it has quickly developed into a first address in German academia. The University regularly achieves top positions in academic rankings e.g. in Law, Business and Economics, Computer Science, Communication Studies, Political Science and Cultural Studies. Over 12000 students from over 90 countries are enrolled.

The flood in 2013


Before the flood


                     During the flood

In 2013 central Europe was flooded after several days of heavy rain in early june. The historic centre of Passau, where the Danube, Inn and Ilz converge, was underwater on 1 June. In Passau the water levels reached 12.85 m (42.2 ft), overflowing the highest recorded historic flood level.

After a dike failed near the town of Deggendorf, the  water levels rose to a record-breaking height of  eight meters (26 ft). The town was flooded completly and in some places the buildings were two meters (6 ft 7 in) underwater.

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