The river junction at Passau Germany

The river junction at Passau Germany

Visited May 26, 2014

Passau has a population of around 50,000 people, of whom about 10,000 are students. Passau is situated at the point where the river Inn and the river Ilz meet the Danube (Donau), and for this reason it is often called the “City of Three Rivers” (Dreiflüssestadt). It lies around 2,000 km from the estuary of the Danube on the border to Austria, and enjoys a small but thriving local tourist trade.

The area of Passau was first settled by the Celts, who were living in southern Bavaria since ages before the Romans came and founded a fortress here because of the excellent strategic position of the peninsula of Passau. Later on, the fortress grew and Passau became a real city. Much of the money in the city was made from the salt business with nearby Bohemia (the modern day Czech Republic), with the salt coming from Bad Reichenhall near Salzburg. In the middle ages, Passau’s St. Stephen’s church was the head of the local church district, which extended all the way to Hungary. Most of the old buildings have survived until today and are in active use.

Nowadays, Passau is known for its historic buildings, its university, and its location at the confluence of the three rivers and the last German train station before entering Austria. Like much of Bavaria, it’s also predominantly Catholic. If you look very closely, however, you can spot Protestant churches.

Passau PicIt regularly snows in winter, and it is warm in summer. Quite often you get over 30° C during the day.

Most tourists Passau receives are on river cruises going along the Danube, but also many buses arrive here from all over Germany and Austria. Because Passau is not far from the Czech Republic and Austria, you will meet also a lot of Austrians and Czechs going here for shopping or even for working purposes. Most tourists here are native German speakers, though, so don’t think you can go everywhere and communicate in English, although you may be surprised how common it is.

Location: 20-

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