PASSAU, a town and episcopal see of Germany, in the kingdom of Bavaria, picturesquely situated at the confluence of the Danube, the Inn and the Ilz, close to the Austrian frontier, 89 m. N.E. from Munich and 74 S.E. of Regensburg by rail. Pop. (1900), 18,003, nearly all being Roman Catholics. Passau consists of the town proper, lying on the rocky tongue of land between the Danube and the Inn, and of four suburbs, Innstadt on the right bank of the Inn, Ilzstadt on the left bank of the Ilz, Anger in the angle between Ilz and the Danube, and St Nikola. It is one of the most beautiful places on the Danube, a fine effect being produced by the way in which the houses are piled up one above another on the heights rising from the river. The best general view is obtained from the Oberhaus, an old fortress, now used as a prison, which crowns a hill 300 ft. high on the left bank of the Danube. Of the eleven churches, the most interesting is the cathedral of St Stephen, a florid, rococo edifice. It was built after a fire in the 17th century on the site of a church said to have been founded in the 5th century; it has two towers, and contains some valuable relics. Other churches are the Gothic church of the Holy Ghost; the churches of St Severin, of St Paul and of St Gertrude; the double church of St Salvator; the Romanesque church of the Holy Cross; the pilgrimage church of Our Lady of Succour (Mariahilf) ; the church of the hospital of St John; and the Romanesque Votiv Kirche. The post office occupies the site of a building in which in 1552 the Treaty of Passau was signed between the emperor Charles V. and Maurice, elector of Saxony. The fine Dom Platz contains a statue of the Bavarian king, MaximiHan I. The eld forts and bastions of the city have been demolished, but the two linked fortresses, the Oberhaus and the Niederhaus, are stiU extant. The former was built early in the 13th century by the bishop in consequence of a revolt on the part of the citizens; the latter, mentioned as early as 737, is now private property. The chief industries are the manufacture of tobacco, beer, leather, porcelain, machinery and paper. Large quantities of timber are floated down the Ilz. The well-known Passau crucibles are made at the neighbouring viUage of Obernzell.
Passau is of ancient origin. The first settlement was probably a Celtic one, Boiudurum; this was on the site of the present Innstadt. Afterwards the Romans established a colony of Batavian veterans, the castra balava here. It received civic rights in 1225, and soon became a prosperous place, but much of its history consists of broils between the bishops and the citizens. The strong fortress of the Oberhaus was taken by the Austrians in 1742, and again in 1805. The bishopric of Passau was founded by St Boniface in 738. The diocese was a large one, including until 1468 not only much of Bavaria, but practically the whole of the archduchy of Austria. About 1260 the bishop became a prince of the empire. Amongst the earlier bishops was Pilgrin or Piligrim (d. 991), and among the later ones were the Austrian archdukes, Leopold and Leopold William, the former a brother and the latter a son of the emperor Ferdinand II. In 1803 the bishopric was secularized, and in 1805 its lands came into the possession of Bavaria. The area, which was diminished in the 15th, and again in the 18th century, was then about 350 sq. m., and the population about 50,000. A new bishopric of Passau, with ecclesiastical jurisdiction only, was established in 181 7.
See Erhart, Geschichte der Stadt Passau (Passau, 1862-1864) ; and Morin, Passau (1878). For the history of the bishopric see SchoUer, Die Bischofe von Passau (Passau, 1844) ; and Schrodl, Passavia sacra. Geschichte des Bislums Passau (Passau, 1879).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)