Passau, Germany

Passau, DE

Passau, too, was an ancient Roman colony occupied by Germanic tribes. – Main_sights It is known today as the City of Three Rivers – owing to the confluence of the Danube, Inn, and Ilz – and is remembered in history by some of us for the Treaty of Passau, 1552, signed by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, to guarantee Lutheran religious freedom.

We were given a walking tour of the town which included the bishop’s residence, market square, and St. Stephen’s Cathedral,_Passau


This building served as the Bishop’s residence until 1871; today it is occupied by Diocese administrative staff.

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Above is a shot of the entrance door – impressive to this woodworker. Below is the ceiling of the entrance hall, Gods of Olympus protecting Immortal Passau.


We then entered St. Stephan’s Cathedral from a side door, and were guided to the organ loft, about three stories above the nave,  where we were greeted by one of the musicians serving the Cathedral. This lady gave us an introduction to the organ which is actually five organs: three in the loft, one in the chancel, and one in the ceiling. All together, this organ with its 17,774 pipes and 233 registers (voices) is played by one five manual (keyboard) general console, and is the largest organ outside of the US. The musician played for us Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor which gave me goose bumps in this acoustically alive space 100 meters long.

Here is the piece we heard:  Click on link at bottom: “best version ever”; when you are finished listening, “x” out of the second/most recent page: “Toccata and Fuge”; then click on back page “<” to return to the blog.



This is the original mechanical console above which in gold leaf is a carving of David playing the harp. If one looked to the ceiling, one sees this:





And looking out the length of the nave one sees this:


This is the general console controlling all five organs. The organist is playing Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor. What a thrill!


While this masterwork was being played, we walked down to the nave and took a few shots.


Looking up at the the organ and choir loft, one can see pipes on either side of the main instrument. One is a French, and the other an Italian organ.


Standing closer to the chancel, one sees the pulpit and in the ceiling a dark circular opening for the organ situated there. Then, looking at the chancel, one sees the fifth organ to the left.

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Positioning the organs thus minimizes the acoustical delay.  I’d like to share a few of the architectural details.

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It is impossible to impart the thrill of this musical experience; the recording on my iPhone doesn’t even approach how moving was this experience. Next we walked to the square in front of the church.


Followed by a short walk to Herr Simon’s Konditorei where each person was given a block of marzipan (almond paste) and asked to make a likeness of our face. Tessa Barrett, our grand-daughter won first place! A stroll through his shop was very tempting with all the sweets and hand-made ice cream, but our Bavarian lunch awaits on board.

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We took a quick walk around the square outside the Konditorei and walked into St. Paul’s Church.


The rest of the square:


The Bavarian lunch was indeed genuine with beer, brats, potato salad and the wait staff dressed in costume.


Joey and Amy.


Eszter and Demetrios.

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