St. Gertraud Church, Innstadt - Passau



    Pen and Ink Sketch with Watercolor - Erwin Weber - 1985


Innstadt is located along the Inn River in Passau. In 1815, the parish church St. Gertraud, located near the remains of the late Roman fortress wall of Boiotro, was rebuilt by Augustin Allgeyer and the sculptor from Passau, Christian Jorhan the Younger following a devastating fire in 1809. The pilgrimage staircase with its 321 steps leading to Mariahilf church is in the background. The Boiotro museum in Innstadt features archaeological findings such as vases, dishes, and bowls from the days of the Romans in Passau more than 2,000 years ago.

The Inn River has its origin in an Alpine lake 7,000 feet above sea level in south-eastern Switzerland. From there it flows among glaciers north-eastward through the Engadine Valley to Austria. In northern Tyrol, it winds its way through the Bavarian foothills of the Alps and empties into the Danube River in Passau. From the confluence of the Salzach River in Austria, which flows through the salt mining region of Salzburg, the Inn River forms the boundary between Austria and Germany. Whereas the Ilz River has a brownish color, for it winds its way through the bog region of the Bavarian Forest, the 317-mile long Inn River appears milky gray in color due ground up rock known as glacial flour which results when the glacier rubs against the rocks of the mountain.

Near the confluence of the Salzach River and the Inn River lies Braunau, 35 miles west of Passau, the birthplace of Adolf Hitler. He was born on April 20, 1889. His father was customs official, a civil servant, at the border between Germany and Austria. Hitler's place of birth stood in the shadows of the parish church St. Stephan, a late Gothic structure erected in 1439 and dedicated in 1466. Aside from St. Stephan's cathedral in Vienna, the church in Braunau is considered as the most important late Gothic church in Austria. The church was built by the architect Stephan Krumenauer, and erected by craftsmen guild from Braunau. The church has three naves, is 180 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 60 feet high. The tower, the third highest in Austria, is 198 feet high. It was begun in 1492 and completed in 1752. The interior of the church contains side altars dedicated to the rich, the poor, and the craftsmen who helped build the church. They include the bakers, blacksmiths, weavers, toolmakers, the dukes, brew masters, the flour grinders, brick layers, leather makers, and the butchers. A three-paneled altarpiece dates back to 1490. The high altar was built by Georg Scheiner from Regensburg in 1904 to take the place of the Baroque styled altar built by Martin Zürn in 1642. The church organ, contributed to a builder from Passau, is dated 1580. Weber made the sketch of Mariahilf in 1985.