Deggendorf - Encyclopedia

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DEGGENDORF, or Deckendorf, a town of Germany, in the kingdom of Bavaria, 25 m. N.W. of Passau, on the left bank of the Danube, which is there crossed by two iron bridges. Pop. (1905) 7 1 54. It is situated at the lower end of the beautiful valley of the Perlbach, and in itself it is a well-built and attractive town. It possesses an old town hall dating from 1566, a hospital, a lunatic asylum, an orphanage, and a large parish church rebuilt in 1756; but the chief interest centres in the church of the Holy Sepulchre, built in 1337, which attracts thousands of pilgrims to its Porta Caeli or Gaadenpforte (Gate of Mercy) opened annually on Michaelmas eve and closed again on the 4th of October. In 1837, on the celebration of the 50oth anniversary of this solemnity, the number of pilgrims was reckoned at nearly Ioo,000. Such importance as the town possesses is now rather commercial than religious, - it being a depot for the timber trade of the Bavarian forest, a station for the Danube steamboat company, and the seat of several mills, breweries, potteries and other industrial establishments. On the bank of the Danube outside the town are the remains of the castle of Findelstein; and on the Geiersberg (1243 ft.), in the immediate vicinity, stands another old pilgrimage church. About 6 m. to the north is the village of Metten, with a Benedictine monastery founded by Charlemagne in 801, restored as an abbey in 1840 by Louis I. of Bavaria, and well known as an educational institution. The first mention of Deggendorf occurs in 868, and it appears as a town in 1212. Henry (d. 1290) of the Landshut branch of the ruling family of Bavaria made it the seat of a custom-house; and in 1331 it became the residence of Henry III. of Natternberg (d. 1333), so called from a castle in the neighbourhood. In 1337 a wholesale massacre of the Jews, who were accused of having thrown the sacred host of the church of the Holy Sepulchre into a well, took place in the town; and it is probably from about this date that the pilgrimage above mentioned came into vogue. The town was captured by the Swedish forces in 1633, and in the war of the Austrian Succession it was more than once laid in ashes.

See Gruber and Muller, Der bayerische Wald (Regensburg, 1851); Mittermuller, Die heil. Hostien and die Ji den in Deggendorf (Landshut, 1866); and Das Kloster Metten (Straubing, 1857).

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