Beginning of Belje’s prosperity

As history would have it, Maria Theresa’s predictions came true. Maria Christina and Albert had no sons, so Belje estate was given to Archduke Karl Ludwig, who had moved the administrative centre of the estate from Bilje to Kneževo, where it remained for the next 100 years.

In 1824, a senior civil servant wrote an interesting report on Belje. He said that the estate had good climate, a favourable position alongside the navigable river Danube, good soil for cultivating all kinds of crops and cereals, and that hard work and smart investments contributed to the development and utilization of natural resources.

Following the death of Karl Ludwig, Belje was taken over by Archduke Albrecht, his successor. At that time, Belje was already keeping pace with technology. In the middle of the 19th century, Belje had four steam engines working: one was in Čeminac, the other in Kneževo, the third one in Villany, where a wine distillery was situated, and in 1858, an eight-horsepower steam-powered threshing machine made in England was put into operation. When it comes to cattle breeding, sheep farming dominated, but pigs, horses and cattle were also bred. According to records from 1852, Belje estate had 753 stables with more than 58,000 animals.