Bratislava Under Rule of Queen Maria-Theresa

In the 18th century, Bratislava became not only the largest and the most significant city in Slovakia but in the whole of Hungary. In this century, many pretentious palaces for the Hungarian aristocracy were built, alongside churches, monasteries and other church buildings. The castle was reconstructed and extended, new streets appeared and grew, while the number of the population tripled. Sessions of the assembly of estates took place there as well as coronations of kings and queens, while the city was vibrant with a nimble cultural and social life.

The period of highest upswing of the city is represented by the reign of Maria-Theresa ( 1740 – 1780 ). Since her accession to the throne the construction office of the Hungarian Royal Chamber had started directing construction development in the city, controlling especially the construction of public buildings (palace of Hungarian Royal Chamber, Water barracks and others). Large improvements were also made in the castle, which became a representative royal seat (not that of its Hungarian vice-regent) and a centre of top-level social and political life.

The reign of Joseph II meant a fall from glory for Bratislava. It ceased to be capital city of Hungary. Upon Joseph‘s order, the Vice-regent Council and other central offices were moved to Buda in 1783 and also, on May 13, the royal crown which had been guarded at Bratislava castle till then. Moving central offices called for a mass departure of nobility from the town. Bratislava changed from the capital of the country back to a provincial town.