When one wanders around small towns and visits sights of a foreign place, little do we think about or appreciate generally how old something really is. Nor, do we give much thought to the life changing experiences throughout the centuries that have managed to give a place or residents an indelible mark on the present.
The city of Vilshofen an der Donau, known as the Three River City and precariously sitting on the Danube River, is just this kind of place.
At over 1200 years of age, the town has seen its fair share of flood, plague, and war. But despite the cracks caused by these unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances, the town is only more attractive now having survived it all.
Vilshofen was first mentioned in 776, but wasn’t actually a city until some 500 years later when Heinrich I built his castle here in 1206. The city’s church came 30 years later in 1236. Just as important is the town’s brewery, but that wasn’t built until 1591, and it is still going after 400 years.
Despite the fact that throughout the 17th century the Thirty Years’ War raged on and the Black Death was a constant visitor, the city somehow managed to build the Pilgrimage Church Maria complete with Italian stuccos in 1691. Also built in the 1600’s was its monastery and hospital.
The town saw a few devastating fires, but it was the one in 1794 that destroyed most of the city, including the Parish Church Johannes. The last of war the city saw was in 1945, when the SS blew up the Danube Bridge on April 29th, as the Americans entered Vilshofen on May 1.
Today, the town flourishes and plays host to a variety of festivals, including the yearly Folk Festival. The fireworks display over the Danube, held on the second weekend in July, is one of the grandest in the region.
The Christmas on the Danube Festival is visited by revelers as far away as Austria and the Czech Republic. Not to be outdone, at the New Year’s Concert you’ll be treated to orchestra music from local and visiting foreign orchestras.