Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Deggendorf

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DEGGENDORF, or Deckendorf, the chief town of a district in Lower Bavaria, about 25 miles north-west of Passau,on the left bank of the Danube, which is there crossed by two iron bridges. It is situated at the lower end of the beautiful valley of the Perlbach, with the mountains of the Bavarian Forest rising behind; and in itself it is a well-built and attractive town. Besides the administrative offices it possesses an old council-house dating from 1566, a hospital, a lunatic asylum, an orphanage, a poor-house, and a large parish church rebuilt in 1756 ; but of greater interest than any of these is the Church of the Sacred Tomb, which for centuries attracted thousands of pilgrims to its Porta Coeli, Gnadenpforte, or Gate of Mercy, opened annually on St Michael s Eve, near the end of September, and closed again on the 4th of October. In 1837, on the celebration of the 500th anniversary of this solemnity, the number of pilgrims was reckoned at nearly 100,000. Such importance as the town possesses is now rather commercial than religious, it being the main 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, in the immediate vicinity, stands the old pilgrimage-church of Maria; Dolores. About six miles to the north is the village of Metten, with the Benedictine monastery founded by Charlemagne in 801, restored as an abbey in 1840 by Louis I. of Bavaria, and well-known for its educational institutions. The first men tion of Deggendorf occurs in 8C8, and it appears as a town in 1212. Henry XIII. of the Landshut dynasty made it the seat of a custom-house; and in 1331 it became the residence of Henry III. of Natternberg, so called from a castle in the neighbourhood. In 1337 there took place in the town a dreadful massacre of the Jews, who were accused of having thrown the sacred host of the Church of the Sacred Tomb into a well ; and it is probably from about this date that the pilgrimage above mentioned came into vogue. The town wa.s captured by the Swedish forces in 1633, and in the war of the Austrian succession it was more than once laid in ashes. Population in 1871, 5452. See Griibor and Miiller, Dcr Baycrische JFaJd, Eatisbon, 1851 ; Mittermiiller, Die hcil. llo&ticn i/nd die Judcn in Dcc/gcndorf, Landshut, 1866 ; and Das Klostcr Mcttcn, Straubing, 1857.