Veste Oberhaus

Passau, Germany

Veste Oberhaus castle dominates the old city of Passau, which it faces across the Danube. Below Oberhaus on the promontory between the two rivers is Veste Niederhaus, part of the fortress system.

The fortress was built in 1219 by Ulrich II, the first prince-bishop of Passau, at the location of a previously existing chapel dedicated to St. George. The intention was to express the military strength of the bishopric and support the bishop's status as an elector of the Holy Roman Empire, granted in 1217, and also to protect against both external enemies and internal threats such as those citizens of Passau who wished to acquire the independent status of a free imperial city.

As siege techniques improved over the centuries, Veste Oberhaus was repeatedly renovated and extended, beginning in 1255–56, so that it offers an opportunity to study fortification techniques from the 13th through the early 19th century. The most significant rebuilding took place under Leonhard von Laiming, Christoph von Schachner, Urban von Trennbach, and Johann Philipp von Lamberg. Under them, the fortress developed from a Gothic citadel to an early Renaissance princely residence, a 'fortified princely castle', and finally, in the era of invasion by the Turks, a regional fortress and symbol of aristocratic status. Archeological investigations in the 1990s revealed traces of a 17th-century residential tower.

The fortress was attacked five times between 1250 and 1482, each time without success. Twice, in 1298 and 1367, the attackers were the citizens of Passau themselves in rebellion against the bishop.

Between 1535 and 1540, numerous Protestant Anabaptists were imprisoned in the castle dungeon for their beliefs. During their imprisonment, the Ausbund hymnal, still used in Amish religious services, was developed. Some of the hymn writers died while imprisoned; many were martyred.

In 1704, 1742, and 1800 the fortress was forced to surrender to various forces. Secularization in 1802 brought an end to the rule of the bishop. Napoleon made use of the fortress during his campaign against Austria, placing it under the control of his allies the Bavarians as a border outpost, but in 1805 it surrendered to the Austrian army. After the Congress of Vienna the area was controlled by Bavaria and for almost a century, until 1918, the fortress served an additional purpose as a state and military prison.

In 1932 the City of Passau gained possession of Veste Oberhaus and instituted a museum, the Oberhausmuseum.

References:

Comments

Your name



Details

Founded: 1219
Category: Castles and fortifications in Germany
Historical period: Hohenstaufen Dynasty (Germany)

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Martin Kipp (12 months ago)
Don't miss this slice of history. Finding your way through the convoluted museum is part of the fun I thought. Watch your step!
Nishant Patil (12 months ago)
Very good museum, covering era of King Ludwig II. View of meet of Donau, Danube and Inn is miraculous. Must have ferry on Cruise ???
Karina Adriana (12 months ago)
You know what they say: the best view of a city is from the top. It's right. Quite a walk up, though. It's still worth it. Grab some water and good luck!
Heather Skale (13 months ago)
Cool castle/museum with nice exhibits, well-preserved rooms, and great views of Passau. Nice artifacts from Passau's history. Not everything has English translations, but many did. Beautiful Madona and child painting. Good collection of weapons. St. George's chaple was very cold and creepy. Not too crowded. I danced a waltz alone in a ballroom!
Shaon Joy (2 years ago)
A must visit when you are in Passau. Great views of the city from the top lookout point. There is also a panorama weg which offers some stunning Fall colors.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Trencín Castle

Trenčín Castle is relatively large renovated castle, towering on a steep limestone cliff directly above the city of Trenčín. It is a dominant feature not only of Trenčín, but also of the entire Považie region. The castle is a national monument.

History of the castle cliff dates back to the Roman Empire, what is proved by the inscription on the castle cliff proclaiming the victory of Roman legion against Germans in the year 179.

Today’s castle was probably built on the hill-fort. The first proven building on the hill was the Great Moravian rotunda from the 9th century and later there was a stone residential tower, which served to protect the Kingdom of Hungary and the western border. In the late 13th century the castle became a property of Palatine Matúš Csák, who became Mr. of Váh and Tatras.

Matúš Csák of Trenčín built a tower, still known as Matthew’s, which is a dominant determinant of the whole building.