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Passau (Latin: Batavium, Batava or Passavia, etc.) is an independent university town in the administrative district of Lower Bavaria in Eastern Bavaria. It lies on the border with Austria and at the confluence of the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers and is therefore also called the “three-river city”. With around 53,000 inhabitants, Passau is the second largest city in the administrative district after Landshut.


In ancient times the Celtic place Bojodurum was located on the site of Passau, opposite which the border fortress Castra Batava, the actual Passau, grew out of the camp of a Batavian legion of the Romans. At the beginning of the 8th century it became the residence of the Bavarian Duke Theobald and in 739 the seat of the diocese newly established by Boniface. In 999 Bishop Christian acquired the jurisdiction and the regalia in the city. It was only almost completely destroyed in 978 during the war between Emperor Otto II for the construction of the St. Georgsburg, the current fortress Oberhaus on the northern bank of the Danube. His successor Gebhard gave the town its first written town charter in 1225. During an uprising by the townspeople in 1250, Duke Otto of Bavaria betrayed Ort Castle in Passau, but was driven out by Bishop Berthold. Only his successor Otto knew how to calm the city down again (1254). He happily resisted a coup d'état that Duke Heinrich von Niederbayern undertook against her in 1266; but part of the city went up in flames. Passau made the bishops much to create with outrages, like Albrecht III. von Winkel (1362-1380), Georg von Hohenlohe (1387-1423) and Leonhard von Layming (1424-51). In 1803 Passau came to Bavaria.



The origins
A first Celtic settlement was in the La Tène period on the old town hill with a Danube port at the height of today's old town hall.

The Roman Batavis Castle (Castra Batava) was built on the site of today's cathedral as part of the Limes fortifications. The name "Batavis" is probably derived from the Germanic mercenaries from the Batavian tribe who were initially stationed there. The current name “Passau” probably developed from Batavis.

In the first century AD, the Boiodurum fort was built as part of the Roman province of Raetia on the right bank of the Inn, which lasted until after a German invasion in the second half of the 3rd century. Its tasks were taken over by the Boiotro castle, which was built upstream in the Roman province of Noricum in late antiquity and which lasted until the Romanians withdrew. In the Vita Severini it is described that the garrison there initially persevered longer than elsewhere, when in the second half of the 5th century the pay was increasingly missing. The Roman troops then left the region between 476 and 490.

The Bavarians, who took possession of the area in the 6th century, built a ducal castle on the peninsula. As early as 739 Passau was the seat of a bishopric, at which time the Niedernburg monastery was founded, which had large estates in the catchment area of ​​the Ilz. In the 11th century Gisela, sister of Emperor Heinrich II and widow of the King of Hungary, Stefan I, was abbess. When the emperor transferred secular rule over the city to Bishop Christian of Passau in 999, the predominance of the monastery ended. Between 1078 and 1099 the Passau bishops temporarily lost the power of rule over the city to the newly created Burgraviate of Passau and the Count Ulrich appointed by King Heinrich IV. After his death, the rights reverted to the bishops. There is evidence that Walther von der Vogelweide was also at the court of the Passau bishop and patron Wolfger von Erla, who bought a fur coat from him on November 12, 1203 for a sum that was actually far too high. The entry in the bishop's travel bills is the only documentary evidence of the poet outside of the mentions by contemporary poet colleagues.

In the first half of the 12th century, the Passau blacksmith trade was significant. In 1217 Passau became a prince-bishopric. The monastery Niedernburg, which was given to the bishop in 1161 by Friedrich I. Barbarossa, became the seat of the prince-bishopric. Passau received city rights in 1225. There were several uprisings of the citizens against the rule of the prince-bishops, most recently in 1367/1368, but all of them failed. On the other hand, the diocese developed considerable prosperity and repeatedly aroused desires among its neighbors Bavaria and Austria.

The Liebfrauen Schiffleut and Salzfertiger Brotherhood, the oldest still existing German civil association, was first mentioned in a document in 1306.

Passau in modern times
In 1477 the Christian Christoph Eysengreißheimer was accused of having sold eight stolen hosts to the "Jewish enemies of the Savior", which they then allegedly desecrated. The accused were arrested, tortured and beheaded after confession, provided they had been baptized beforehand, otherwise they were torn to pieces with red-hot tongs and burned.

Passau is the place of origin of the auspices, the oldest hymn book of Protestantism, still used by the Amish today. Its core collection was created between 1535 and 1540 in the dungeon of Passau Castle. The authors were incarcerated Anabaptists. Some of them died while in captivity. Most of the captive Anabaptists were martyred after their prison term. The first printed edition bears the title: Quite a few beautiful Christian chants as they are poems and sung by the Swiss brothers through God's grace in the prison in Passau in the castle. Ps. 139.

In 1552 the Passau Treaty was signed in the city, which paved the way for the toleration of the Lutheran denomination in the Peace of Augsburg. In the treaty, Lutheranism was formally recognized by the emperor for the first time. The Philosophical-Theological College was founded from 1622 to 1633, which, with a few interruptions, existed until 1978, when it was incorporated into the university. In 1676 the so-called imperial wedding of Leopold I and Eleonore von Pfalz-Neuburg took place in Passau.


The city was hit several times by floods and large fires. In 1662 a fire set the entire city to rubble and ashes. Italian builders (Carlone and Lurago) then rebuilt the city and gave the city its current Mediterranean-style baroque appearance. The first Passau newspaper appeared in 1689. Passau's time as an independent principality ended with the secularization in December 1802, through which it came to the electorate of Salzburg for three years and to Bavaria in 1805. In 1821 the city became a bishopric again. From 1806 to 1839 Passau was the capital of the Lower Danube District. In 1860 the railway line to Straubing was opened. St. Nikola was incorporated in 1870, Haidenhof in 1909 and Beiderwies in 1923. On November 8, 1918, a workers 'and soldiers' council was formed. In the course of this, a 200-strong vigilante group was set up to maintain public order in the urban area. The situation after the revolution was generally peaceful. It was only the murder of Kurt Eisner in Munich on February 21, 1919 that led to the destabilization of the situation, so the conservative Donauzeitung was censored and public meetings were prohibited. On April 7, 1919, the Soviet Republic was proclaimed in Passau. Finally, a general strike by dissatisfied Passau residents led to the Soviet republic being dissolved again eight days later. In 1927, the Kachlet power station on the Danube, which was the largest power station in Germany at the time, went online. The construction work began in 1922. It is said to have been the largest construction site in Europe, which employed around 3,000 workers at peak times.

time of the nationalsocialism
In 1921 a local branch of the NSDAP was founded in Passau. The founding pub was the Altdeutsche Bierstube. From 1934 to 1935 the Nibelungenhalle was built, which housed a unit of the Austrian Legion in 1935. In 1940 the city made the building at Bräugasse 13 available to the Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle.

A satellite camp of the Dachau concentration camp was located in Passau since 1942. The prisoners were deployed in the Passau I branch to build an underwater power station at what is now the Oberilzmühle reservoir. From November 1942, this subcamp was subordinate to the Mauthausen concentration camp, which also opened the Passau II branch in March 1944 and the Passau III branch (Jandelsbrunn) in March 1945. The prisoners were thereby in the forest works Passau-Ilzstadt and with the Bayer. Lloyd used to unload ships. At the end of April 1945 there was an end-stage crime in the Neuburg Forest, south of Passau. On the orders of the Landshut SS-Standartenführer Paul Kröger, a total of around 340 Soviet prisoners of war were brought to the edge of the Neuburg Forest. Three of the prisoners got away with their lives. 107 were later found in the forest. They were shot dead in the neck and buried. Contemporary witnesses reported that many perished in the Inn. Since October 30, 2020, a stele in Ingling with German and Cyrillic text has been commemorating this crime.

In the final phase of World War II, the city was bombed three times within a few months, with a total of around 200 fatalities and the destruction of almost 250 buildings. The main target of the attacks was the station area. After the US Army advanced further and further east through Bavaria in the spring of 1945, the German armed forces planned a major defense operation for the city of Passau. However, only minor fighting occurred and finally, on May 2, 1945, the city was handed over by former Mayor Carl Sittler to an infantry regiment of the US armed forces under the command of Stanley Eric Reinhart.

Post war until 1989
As early as January 1945, the city and the surrounding area of ​​Passau were the destination of refugees from Silesia who reached Passau in horse-drawn vehicles and in overcrowded trains. Towards the end of the Second World War and in the immediate post-war period, refugees of German origin from Bohemia also arrived. In September 1945 there were over 28,000 refugees and displaced persons in the city. The shortage of housing made it necessary to build numerous temporary barracks in the city.

In the fall of 1952, the European Weeks Festival took place in Passau for the first time, the first festival in post-war Germany to be dedicated to the idea of ​​Europe.


In 1954, a devastating flood hit the city. A pronounced Vb weather situation caused heavy rain in Bavaria. This flood, also known colloquially as the flood of the century, was the largest flood disaster in Passau in the 20th century. The Danube peaked at 12.2 meters on July 10, 1954, 10.1 meters on the Inn and 12.15 meters on the Ilz. The Ilzstadt district was hit hardest by this flood event, so several buildings were under water for several days up to the first floor.

In 1963, a Bundeswehr base was set up in the Kohlbruck district of Passau. The first pioneers arrived on September 15, 1963 in the newly built Ritter-von-Scheuring barracks. As a result of the urban and economic growth in the post-war period, the energy demand rose continuously. In 1965 the Passau-Ingling run-of-river power plant was completed and the Oberilzmühle power plant expanded.

On the initiative of the German Youth Hostel Association, the Passau observatory was built in 1962 on the site of the Veste Oberhaus, right next to the youth hostel.

In response to the massive damage caused by the flood of the century in 1954, the first major closed measure of this type in Germany was flood protection in the Ilzstadt district, because this was where the greatest damage occurred. In the process, all buildings at risk of flooding were demolished and 28 of 60 properties were rebuilt on a filled-in level. In addition, a concrete fortification to the Ilz and the Danube was built, which acts as a substructure for a four-lane road. For the remaining properties, replacement buildings were created in the higher Grubweg. Around half of the district's population had to change accommodation.

In 1970 Passau received the flag of honor of the Council of Europe, which is a prerequisite for the later award of the honor plaque and the actual European price. In the same year, on October 14th, the largest bridge in Passau, the Schanzlbrücke, was inaugurated.

The incorporation in 1972 as part of the municipal reform led to the growth of the urban area from 20 to 70 square kilometers and the population rose by 40 percent to almost 50,000.

Passau has been a university town since 1978. The university focuses on law, business administration and computer science.

In 1980 the city of Passau was the first Bavarian city to be awarded the European Prize for its efforts to promote European integration.

After the turn
In 1989 a large number of refugees from the GDR came to Passau via Hungary. In August 1989 there were first GDR refugees from Hungary, later, after the opening of the Iron Curtain on September 11, 1989, thousands of GDR citizens reached the city and were then accommodated in various tent camps and accommodations in the Passau district. For example, a reception camp for several hundred people was set up in Passau's Nibelungenhalle.

In 1993 Passau exceeded the 50,000 mark and was elevated to the status of the regional center of the Danube Forest planning region. It has one of the highest centrality indicators in Germany. In the mid-1990s, an extensive urban redevelopment project was initiated which, in addition to a shopping center, included an office tower, the “Central Bus Station” (ZOB) and a park. After several drafts had been discussed, construction work to create the New Center finally began.

21st century
After the Dreiländerhalle was put into operation at the turn of 2003/2004, the Nibelungenhalle was demolished in the spring of 2004 and construction of the New Center began. This urban redevelopment measure represented a significant change in the cityscape. At the end of the 2000s, the last construction work was finished.

Millennium flood 2013
In the months of May and June 2013, the city suffered the worst floods in five hundred years when the historic mark of 12.89 m was reached at the Passau / Danube gauge. The drinking water supply had to be temporarily stopped, and teaching was canceled at schools and the university. During and especially after the flood disaster, Passau university students gave dedicated help. The Facebook initiative Passau cleans up, founded and managed by students, was awarded the German Citizens Prize in 2013.


2015 refugee crisis
In 2015 Passau was so badly affected by the refugee crisis that it was given the title Lampedusa Germany. Since the city is at the end of the extended Balkan route, it is the arrival point for many refugees in Germany. During the Munich Oktoberfest, up to 10,000 people came to Passau every day. The city reported on October 19 that within three weeks alone more than 100,000 refugees had crossed the Austrian border, i.e. more than 4,750 people per day.



The specialty of Passau is the location of the old town on an elongated peninsula between the Danube and Inn. The Bavarian Forest runs out north of the Danube, but south of the Inn the landscape is undulating.

Until the reunification of Germany in 1990, the city of Passau was the easternmost medium-sized town in the federal territory. Today it is the easternmost regional center of the Free State of Bavaria.

Geomorphology and geology
From a natural point of view, the urban area of ​​Passau belongs to the main natural area unit Upper Palatinate and Bavarian Forest, in particular to the natural area unit Passau Abteiland and Neuburg Forest, which is located in the south of this low mountain range.

The city lies at the confluence of the three rivers Danube, Inn and Ilz. The rivers Danube and Inn cut into the crystalline basement here during the uplift of the Bavarian Forest in the Late Tertiary and Quaternary. The result was the formation of an antecedent breakthrough valley. Here the river cuts actively, keeping pace with the tectonic uplift, into the rising mountain body. Characteristic here is the high relief energy in places.

Petrographically, the Passau area - typical for the Moldanubic - is dominated by metamorphic rocks such as gneisses and diatexites, which are interspersed in many places with paleozoic plutonites. These are mostly granites (Hauzenberg, Haidmühle, Schärding, Peuerbach granite), while diorites are only found sporadically. Two significant tectonic fault zones, the Bavarian Stake and the Passau Stake, run north of the urban area. To the south of Passau, the Molasse basin borders the Alpine foothills (Lower Bavarian hill country). This alpine "rubble trough" is filled with tertiary sediments of freshwater and marine molasses and has a continuous slope towards the Danube and the lower Inn. The shallow wave appearance of this area is due to solifluction and fluvial erosion during the last glacial periods. The tertiary sediments are also “interspersed” in places with Pleistocene loose sediments, such as gravel, which were deposited by the Inn River, which drained the Alps. The aeolian sediment loess or the loess derivative loess clay is also found here in isolated cases.

Passau lies at 48 ° north and is therefore mainly influenced by air currents from the west. As can be seen from the climate diagram, the Passau area can be assigned to the cool, temperate climate. In addition, there is a continental impact, characterized by sometimes very cold and snowy winters and hot and dry summers. Heat thunderstorms also occur in summer.

On average there are 36 summer days with a maximum temperature of over 25 ° C. In contrast, there are 115 days of frost with a minimum temperature of below 0 ° C. The wettest months are October and November. Every year the Indian summer leads to mild temperatures in the late year.

Due to the confluence of the water-rich rivers Danube and Inn, fog often occurs in the river plains.

The climate diagram shows the data from a measuring point in Fürstenzell (bordering on the southwest of Passau). However, this measuring point is almost 100 meters higher than Passau itself.

The division of Passau into districts is more of a statistical nature. There are no official or political districts. By 2013 at the latest, there were eight statistical city districts, which essentially reflect district or former municipality boundaries: Altstadt, Grubweg, Hals, Hacklberg, Heining, Haidenhof Nord, Haidenhof Süd and Innstadt. In 2013 there was a reallocation into 16 citizens' assembly areas. Despite the changed name, these are most likely to have the character of a district and have therefore been called districts in everyday language since then.

The 16 citizens' assembly areas are: Old Town / Inner City, Auerbach, Grubweg, Hacklberg, Haidenhof North, Haidenhof South, Hals, Heining, Innstadt, Kohlbruck, Neustift, Patriching, Rittsteig, Schalding on the left of the Danube, Schalding on the right of the Danube and St. Nikola.