Schaiblingturm, Inn River - Passau



    Pen and Ink Sketch with Watercolor - Erwin Weber - 1985


The Schaiblingturm or Schaibling Tower, located at the banks of the Inn River in Passau, was a fortified tower dating back to the 14th century. It was part of the old salt boat harbor in Passau. The 15th century was the great age for Passau's economic development. There was lively traffic on the Danube and Inn Rivers, which according to the testimony of contemporary toll records, was for a time busier than the traffic on the Rhine River. The salt trade along the so-called "Goldene Steig" to Bohemia was particularly instrumental in bringing affluence to the trading center of Passau, because after the salt was sold in Bohemia, the traders undoubtedly brought back glass, grain, and jewelry such as amber found along the shores of the Baltic. Weber made this sketch of the tower in 1985.

The salt mines near Salzburg, Austria, have been in operation since the days of the Romans more than 2,000 years ago. The most economical means of transport of this weighty and bulky substance was by waterways. In case of shipwreck, the entire cargo was lost in an instant! However, the alternative of the mule path was often barred by the many toll-gates and exposed to the dangers of plagues and wars. At the very least, they were attacked by highway robbers. For this reason, the salt wash shipped along the water route to Passau. It was loaded onto ships which sailed down the Salzach River to the Inn River passed numerous toll stations including the ones in Braunau and Passau, where the salt shipments were taxed by the secular and ecclesiastical princes of the region. From there the salt was unloaded in Passau and transported over land routes by mules through Bohemia (currently the Czech Republic) to Prague and eastward to regions void of the precious product.

A short distance from the Schaiblings tower is the University of Passau located on the banks of the Inn River. The university has a proud history. It is situated on the grounds of the former Augustinian monastery founded by Bishop Altmann circa 1070 AD. Its chapel, St. Nichola, originally constructed in Romanesque architecture, was rebuilt in Gothic style following an earthquake in 1348. The interior was completed in 1715 according to the architectural plans of Carlo Antonio Carlone who died in 1708. The stucco was the work of the d'Allio Brothers which frame the elegant frescoes by Wolfgang Andreas Heindl. Prince Bishop Leopold built the Academy for Theology in 1773 which after years of political unrest in the 19th century became known as an Academy of Religion and Philosophy in 1923. The Academy of Religion and Philosophy was integrated into the University of Passau July 25, 1978. The university opened its doors officially on October 9, 1978 with five colleges: the College of Catholic Theology, the College of Law, the College of Economics, the College of Philosophy, and the college of Computer Science and Mathematics. Currently, approximately 9,000 students are enrolled at the university. New buildings have been constructed near the former Augustinian convent and St. Nikola Church. The complex resembles a college campus in the United States. The new structures at Passau University include a library, student center, cafeteria, administrative offices, classroom buildings, student housing, and a sports center equipped for indoor sports activity and gymnastics.