Passau: The Great Sights

Passau coat of arms – The Passau Wolf

As I’ve mentioned before in an earlier post, Passau is a beautiful Bavarian city in Germany where I’m living at the moment. The town is known as the Dreiflüssestadt or The City of Three Rivers because it is located at the meeting point of the Donau, Ilz and Inn. So without further ado, let me take you on a tour of the great sights of Passau!


St. Stephan’s Cathedral or Stephansdom is Passau’s most famous icon and stands at the highest point of the old town. In 1662 the cathedral was burnt down in The Great Fire and was then rebuilt in Baroque style by Italian architect Carlo Lurago.

Europe’s largest cathedral organ

The Stephansdom is also home to Europe’s largest cathedral organ, which is made with over 17,000 organ pipes! There is a organ concert every day at midday, which I still need to go and see.

Neue Residenz

Next to the Stephansdom is the New Residence building (completed in 1730) which served as the palace of the prince bishops. The building was connected to Stephansdom, allowing the bishop to walk from his apartment right into the cathedral.


The Passau Rathaus or Town Hall stands next to the Donau river and was built in neo-Gothic style in 1892. The square in front of the town hall (Rathausplatz) used to be a fish market.


From the Rathausplatz runs the famous street Höllgasse, also known as the Art Alley. The cobblestones are painted red and white and lead you to local artists’ galleries and workshops.

The Höllgasse also intersects with the Kleine Messergasse or Little Knife Alley which commemorates the craft of bladesmith, which was native to Passau. Daggers and swords branded with the Passau Wolf were renowned for its fine quality until the 18th century.

St. Paul’s church

St. Paul’s church was also built in Baroque style and stands next to the Paulusbogan or Arch of Paul, which is the oldest of the five extant gates into the city.


The fortress Veste Oberhaus was built in 1219 by the Prince Bishops of Passau so that they could control commerce across the rivers. Today it is a large museum, youth hostel and restaurant with an amazing view over the city.

View of Stephansdom and the Inn from Veste Oberhaus

The Veste Oberhaus museum showcases a lot of exhibits, one of them is called ‘White Gold’ and shows Passau’s position as the most important salt trading city in the Bavarian region in olden times.

The pilgrimage church of Mariahilf

Opposite the Veste Oberhaus in the Innstadt is the Mariahilf monastery (1627). The Pilgrims’ Stairs lead up to the Mariahilf, where pilgrims pray as they climb the 321 steps to the top. The pilgrimage church of Mariahilf became famous throughout Germany in 1683 after Emperor Leopold the First prayed there for victory over Turkish forces who had besieged Vienna.

View over the Inn, Stephansdom and Veste Oberhaus from Mariahilf

Aside from all of the historic buildings and views, Passau is also famous for its university. Out of the Passau town population of around 50,000, about 11,000 of them are students at the University of Passau. The university is most well known for its Computer Science, Law and Cultural Studies departments.

University of Passau


So, did you enjoy the grand tour of Passau?

Is this somewhere you would like to visit?