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Passau -- Baroque facades and vibrant arts center

After the city of Passau was destroyed by a devastating fire in the 17th century, Italian architects rebuilt it in the Baroque style - an aesthetic that still attracts visitors from around the world.

cityscape of Passau

Baroque beauty abounds in Passau

Centuries ago, Celtic and Roman settlers valued the peninsula of Passau for its favorable strategic position - at the confluence of the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers. This "city of three rivers" became an important center of trade.

While the fire that destroyed the city in 1662 was tragic, it was the impetus for a stunning Baroque reconstruction that continues to serve as a magnet for tourists today.

Passau's many churches and abbeys - there are about 50 of them in the city - give it a special charm. The Diocese of Passau once extended all the way to present-day Hungary. A stroll through the streets of the old town is akin to walking through an open-air museum. But new life pulses behind these Baroque facades: Today, Passau is a hub of art and culture.

The Hoellgasse alleyway is now home to a number of artisans, painters, galleries and artists' studios. The Museum of Modern Art was at the forefront of the city's cultural awakening. It was opened 20 years ago in one of Passau's most beautiful historic buildings.

Passau's old quarter is defined by an abundance of cafes and taverns. Guests can choose from hearty fare to smaller delicacies. Cafe Simon creates famous pralines, in shapes that are reminiscent of the ornate golden hats once worn by Passau's wealthy female residents.

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