QUEDLINBURG - Along the so called \"Trail of the Strong Women, Quedlinburg figures prominently among the sites that comprise a unique touristic trail in Saxony-Anhalt: \"Frauenorte (lit. Womens Places). Not only was Quedlinburg ruled by women for more than eight hundred years. It is the birthplace as well of the first German woman to fight successfully for her right to university study. In 1754, Dorothea Christiane Erxleben was awarded the academic title of Doctor of Medicine, the first German woman in history to receive this degree.
Quedlinburg is significant as well because of the important role that women have played in its history. For nine centuries,women have had a decisive influence upon its political and economic development. During Ottonian rule in the 10th and 11th centuries Quedlinburg was a center of political power. Queen Mathilde and Empresses Adelheid (wife of Otto I) and Theophano (wife of Otto II) repeatedly chose to spend time in Quedlinburg as their residence of preference. While her nephew Otto III was on a mission to Italy, Abbess Mathilde in 997 assumed the imperial powers for two years. Among her 38 successor abbesses throughout the centuries there have been many who exercised a strong influence on the development of the central German principalities. Without their wise management of Quedlinburgs natural resources, the town probably would never have become a plant-breeding center of worldwide importance. This historical fact was of importance in the decision of the government once Germany was reunited to make Quedlinburg the seat of a new national research laboratory for plant breeding research.