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Visit Europe's Largest Cathedral Organ in Passau

October 26, 2011 - 2:24am
Visit Europe's Largest Cathedral Organ in Passau
Located at the confluence of three rivers, Passau is a hidden gem in southeastern Germany. The Danube connects with the Inn and Ilz rivers making for a beautiful setting in a town that has plenty for tourists to see and do. With unique architecture, rolling hillsides and striking scenery, Passau has found a place on some European tours.

The small city, with a population of just about 50,000, is home to a bevy of interesting buildings, including St. Stephan's Cathedral. The church is considered by many to be one of the best examples of Italian baroque architecture and has stood as an iconic piece of Passau since it was completed in 1693. Though its two towers make it instantly recognizable, it is what is housed inside that make the cathedral especially famous.

St. Stephan's Cathedral is home to the largest organ in the world outside the United States. The instrument has an astonishing total of 17,774 pipes and 233 registers. If visitors happen to stop by at the right time, they can get a taste of the magnitude of the organ as the cathedral hosts daily concerts between May and September.

While St. Stephan's Cathedral offers a look back in history, for those who may want to catch a beautiful view of modern-day Passau, the Veste Oberhaus is their best bet. The large fortress, which dates as far back as 1219, is situated atop a mountain crest. From its top level you can look out on a stunning view of the city and the banks of the Danube.

Though St. Stephan's and Veste Oberhaus both have their own unique appeal, perhaps the most interesting building is the Scharfrichterhaus. The centuries-old structure used to be where the city's executioner lived, but it has since been transformed into a jazz and cabaret stage.

While most tourists may flock to some of the bigger cities in Europe, it is often the smaller ones that offer the most memorable and varied trip. In Passau, a walk down the street is an experience in itself.