St. Stephen's Cathedral

Passau, Germany

St. Stephen's Cathedral is a baroque church built in 1688. Since 730, there have been many churches built on the site of the current cathedral. The current church, a baroque building around 100 metres long, was built from 1668 to 1693 after a fire in 1662 destroyed its predecessor, of which only the late gothic eastern side remains. The cathedral's overall plan was made by Carlo Lurago, its interior decoration by Giovanni Battista Carlone, and its frescos by Carpoforo Tencalla.

Over time, the Passau Cathedral has acquired the largest organ outside of the United States. It is also the largest cathedral organ in the world. The organ currently has 17,774 pipes and 233 registers, all of which can be played with the five-manual general console in the gallery. Portions of the organ have their own mechanical-action or electric-action consoles, for a total of six consoles.

The cathedral has eight large bells in the bell rooms in the north and south towers. The heaviest, Pummerin at 7550 kg cast in 1952 and Sturmerin weighing 5300 kg cast in 1733 hang in the south tower. The other six bells hang in the north tower.

References:

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



Address

Zengergasse, Passau, Germany
See all sites in Passau

Details

Founded: 1688
Category: Religious sites in Germany
Historical period: Thirty Years War & Rise of Prussia (Germany)

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Derek Smith (5 months ago)
Very impressive, but can get quite crowded. Best to visit before cruise tours start!
Christian Germany (5 months ago)
Probably the biggest baroque cathedral outside Italy, and for sure one of the most beautiful cathedrals worldwide - on par with the finest basilicas of Rome. Highly elegant, hugely impressive, breathtaking, magic- even after the 1000th visit! Not to mention the majestic organ, the largest church organ worldwide until some years ago
Martin Domiter (6 months ago)
Great place where you can find probably the best I'm restaurant. Do not hesitate to find it personally.
Linda Roe (6 months ago)
St. Stephens Cathedral in Passau is not to be missed. Passau was a stop on our Viking Grand European Tour. What a lovely little village! St. Stephan’s is a must-see and a must-hear. The Cathedral is magnificent inside. This Cathedral has the largest organ in Europe. We not only attended mass there but heard an organ recital.
David Sherwood (7 months ago)
Our visit to St. Stephan's Cathedral was excellent! This is a beautiful baroque cathedral built in the 1600's with much gilding inside and famous frescos. The highlight though is the church organ system which actually incorporates five organs (with one in the dome!) all played by a single organist. This provides truly incredible surround sound! There are daily noon-time concerts in the late summer/early fall. Admission is just a few Euros. There are no assigned seats so come early. Try to sit as close to the middle as possible. The concert lasts about one hour. We were told that the baroque concept was to make one feel as if one were in heaven already. That certainly came true during the organ concert!
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Church of the Savior on Blood

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.

Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.

The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.

In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.

In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.