Schärding (Upper Austrian: Scháréng) is a town in Upper Austria with 5269 inhabitants (as of January 1, 2020). Schärding is known as a baroque town on the Inn, with its numerous baroque town houses and historical squares. It is the district capital of the Schärding district and at the same time the local center for the surrounding district.

The city is located on the Inn River, 15 km south of Passau, on the western edge of the Innviertel. Two different natural spaces meet in Schärding. The hilly Sauwald, part of the Bohemian Massif in the north and the expiring plain of the Inn Valley to the south. The city is 313 m above sea level in the Innviertel. The extension is 4.1 km from north to south and 1.9 km from west to east. The total area is 4.08 km². 2.4% of the area is forested, 31.7% is used for agriculture.

The Inn forms the border to the neighboring Free State of Bavaria. Directly opposite on the Bavarian side of the Inn is the community of Neuhaus am Inn, which can be reached via two bridges.

The area around Schärding was settled since the Neolithic Age. The first settlements are documented by archaeological finds (hole axes or flat hatchets) along the courses of the Antiesen, Inn and Pram rivers in the Neolithic Age. Before in 15 BC When the Romans advanced as far as the Danube and the Innbaiern and Schärding became part of the Roman province of Noricum, Celts settled the area. In 488 AD, King Odoacer had his troops withdraw to the south.

West Germanic Bavarians migrated up the Danube about 30 years later and occupied the area between the Vienna Woods and Lech. The place names ending in -ing, -ham and -heim clearly indicate the conquest. The name of the district town 'Scardinga' comes from the name for the settlement of a Scardo with his clan.

Schärding was first mentioned in a document in 804 as the Passauer Gutshof scardinga. The geographically favorable location of the castle rock in the immediate vicinity of the Inn was used early on to build a fortification.

Since the 10th century, the place developed through the lucrative trade on the Inn as a market center and seat of the county of Schärding under the Bavarian families Formbach-Neuburg. From 1160 it belonged to the Andechs-Meranien and from 1248 to 1504 the Wittelsbacher.

At the time of the early church organization in the Middle Ages, Schärding belonged to the original parish of St. Weihflorian. Like the Münzkirchen parish, this consisted of areas that had belonged to the St. Severin parish in Passau's Innstadt. St. Weihflorian was first designated as an independent parish in 1182 when it was incorporated into the Passau “Innbruckamt”, which was subordinate to the St. Aegidien Hospital in the city center. The parish of St. Weihflorian was very extensive: it lay between the area of ​​activity of the original parish of St. Severin and that of the original parish of Münsteuer and included the area of ​​today's parishes of Brunnenthal, Schärding, St. Florian am Inn, Suben, St. Marienkirchen and Eggerding , plus shares in today's parishes of Taufkirchen, Lambrechte and Rainbach. When the parish of St. Weihflorian was relocated to Schärding in 1380, the town itself became a parish.

Due to the favorable location on the Inn, Schärding developed into a large trading center, especially for salt, wood, ores, wine, silk, glass, grain, cloth goods and cattle. At the end of the 13th century, the place was given market rights. After frequent changes of ownership in the 14th century, Schärding was elevated to the status of town for the first time on January 20, 1316 (by the Wittelsbachers) and later on September 24, 1364 (by Rudolf IV of Habsburg). In 1369 the Peace of Schärding ended the dispute between Bavaria and Austria over Tyrol, and Schärding, which was pledged to Habsburg, came back to Bavaria.



From 1429 to 1436 the city's fortifications were expanded by Duke Ludwig the Bearded. Among other things, the outer castle gate, the city moat, the Linzer and Passauer gate and the water gate were built in the course of these construction measures. In 1527 the Lutheran reform theologian Leonhard Kaiser was executed here. During the Thirty Years' War, especially in 1628, 1634, 1645, 1647 and 1651, plague epidemics raged in the city. As a result of the War of the Bavarian Succession, in the Peace Treaty of Teschen in 1779, the Innviertel (Innbaiern), which had been Bavarian until then, and thus Schärding as well, was awarded to the Habsburgs. After the Napoleonic Wars in which the city burned down on April 26, 1809 and the Innviertel returned to Bavaria with the Peace of Paris in 1810, the city came back into the Habsburg sphere of influence after the Congress of Vienna in 1816 and was suddenly on the edge of the State; the old trade connections were cut off by a customs border. Already after the first annexation to the Habsburg countries in 1779, the salt trade had come to a standstill, as Austria obtained the salt from the Salzkammergut and, moreover, the salt trade was a state monopoly. In addition, with the establishment of the railways, the Inn lost its importance as a traffic route. The associated economic stagnation is the reason why Schärding today has an almost completely preserved historical townscape in the typical Inn-Salzach architecture.