Maria Theresa – the strategist

Following the footsteps of Maria Theresa through Lower Austria

The cider from the Mostviertel, the potatoes in the Waldviertel and the Austrian pines in the Thermen region – Lower Austria has all of this and more to thank Maria Theresa for. The extensive work of Empress Maria Theresa in Lower Austria not only includes magnificent buildings, it can also be seen in many culinary and scenic traditions still alive today.

Congratulations on 300 years 

Maria Theresa, the daughter of Emperor Charles VI and Elisabeth Christine of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel, was the first woman to sit on the Habsburg throne at the tender age of 23. She won the war on several fronts against other monarchs in Europe and become one of the most important administrative, educational and economic reformers in Austria. Her influence continues to shape these areas today. Maria Theresa was not only a very attentive mother to her 16 children, she also believed she was the mother of the country.

She took decisive action on seemingly minor issues. She organised the planting of fruit trees along the all the municipal roads in the Mostviertel. This is how the cider tree took root and it is still there today. She allowed the trial cultivation of the first potato in the Waldviertel and in doing so, founded the great potato tradition in the region. In Steinfeld and in the Thermenlinie region, extensive forests were planted during her reign to counter the desertification of the arid countryside.

Historical footsteps

In 1755, the ruler acquired Schloss Hof, Austria’s largest palace complex in the country and gifted the stunning site to her beloved husband Franz Stephan von Lothringen, so he could relax from the difficulties of ruling. Schloss Niederweiden was created by Maria Theresa in tandem with Schloss Hof. With Schloss Laxenburg, which was developed to its current size by Maria Theresa and became the favourite palace of her husband Franz Stephan von Lothringen, and the palace in Wiener Neustadt, which was turned into a military academy by the Empress and became the heart of her military reform, Lower Austria is the location of two additional historic buildings with strong links to the Empress. You can find traces of the Empress in places you would least expect. One example can be found in the Nadelburg in Lichtenwörth, one of the historic needle factories supported by Maria Theresa or the Cafe Maria Theresia in Kaumberg, so called because the Empress stayed here on the way to Mariazell and it is where visitors can discover the Empress Room with its unique stucco ceiling.