The settlement of Passau, being one of Germany's oldest cities, was a gradual process over two thousand years. Even though many buildings have disappeared during this process, one finds that fragments of them remained in the ground only to resurface during re-construction. Situated at the meeting point of the Danube and Inn river (two of the major streams in central Europe) and bordered by what is now Austria and Czechia, Passau had always been a center of commerce. Similar to Vancouver, Passau served as a gate.The Passau Bridge over the Inn was used by trade routes to transfer salt, wine and crockery between Upper Italy, Austria and central Germany.
Passau's dependence on the clergy lasted for over a millennium. Until 1803, the city was the seat for powerfull bishoprics. This guaranteed the city's wealth and independence and established a strong ecclesiastical influence lasting until the present time.
During the 1800's, Passau's power declined and it faded into oblivion. This changed only recently with the establishment of a university. Due to its picturesque old part of town, Passau has also become an emerging tourist attraction. The core of the city consists almost exclusively of old buildings and is for the most part virtually inaccessible to cars.

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