History

The borders of Lower Austria were drawn by the Babenberg rulers in the 13th century, but in 1278 the region and empire-to-be fell to the Habsburgs. In a strange twist of fate – an ailing economy in the 1920s stalled the decision to give Lower Austria its own capital, and later the Nazis favoured making Krems the capital – St Pölten became capital of Lower Austria only in 1986, ending a long-running situation in which Lower Austria was administered geographically from Vienna, but was in fact a separate province. Ironically, it happens to have the oldest known municipal charter – granted in 1159. The Altstadt is noted for its baroque buildings: baroque master Jakob Prandtauer lived and died in the city.