Today we decided to take the Passau Castle hike which involved hiking through the old town, then up the side of the hill to the castle, which dates back to at least 1499. This picture gives you an idea of the scale of the hike up stone steps that snake back and forth up the side of the cliff.
We learned that most of the windows on the castle aren’t actually windows – they are painted onto the walls to add visual interest without compromising defense.
The view from the top is stunning. Passau is called the “City of Three Rivers” because … you guessed it … three rivers meet here. This pictures shows the three rivers meeting. The colour of the water is different for each river because of where they originate. Look closely at the water, and you should be able to see the three colours – black, to blue, to green.
It also provides excellent views of the old city.
In medieval Passau, the colour of a house told people the trade of the occupant. Fisherman houses were blue, butchers were red, green grocers were green … you get the idea. One reason for this is that very few people could read, so signs weren’t always useful. The colour coding no longer applies, but the owners still need to maintain the legacy colour of the house. This picture clearly shows the various colours.
To give you an idea of the hike up to the castle, here is a look at the steps on the way down.
We had almost an hour before the boat was setting sail, so we wandered through the old city to look at St. Stephen’s Cathedral. I know I said that I don’t often post pictures from inside cathedrals, but I once again, couldn’t resist. Passau is a city of about 50,000, but it has 54 churches, 51 of them Roman Catholic. So it seemed you couldn’t really say you’d seen Passau if you didn’t visit at least one church. The outside of this cathedral is interesting because even though it is Roman Catholic, it has “onion domes” typically associated with Easter Orthodox churches.
We went inside to see the organ, which is the largest pipe organ, in a church, in the world. Almost 18,000 pipes.
Once I was inside, I couldn’t resist showing a picture of the gold plated chancel, where the bishop would preach. Having been built at a time when the people in the parish were very poor, I will admit to being a little bothered by this display of extreme wealth.
I’ll close with a picture of the local wildlife, brought out by this week’s rain.
Beautiful. Love the colourful houses, reminds me of the Jellybean houses in St. John’s.