The aim of the book project is to depict the Holy Land in terms of a projection surface for foreign policy, society and mentalities of the Catholic Habsburg Monarchy. On the one hand, the project focuses on Austrian(-Hungarian) participation in the international race to establish and extend zones of influence in the Holy Land, and on the other on the preconditions for this endeavour within the Habsburg Monarchy. The project also considers the fact that the land coveted by the European powers of the nineteenth century was an integral part of the Ottoman Empire.

The chosen time frame results from the first Church-state initiatives launched at the time of Metternich and the conquest of Jerusalem by the British in 1917. By analysing the courses of action set over the decades by the state and Church, it is possible to detect diverse political phases; these were influenced by a historical mentality that favoured the 'peaceful crusade'. Beyond the history of four Catholic institutions in Jerusalem, Tantur, Nazareth and Gaza, the development of the pilgrimage movement and broad public interest in Church missions to the Orient are particularly suited as research parameters. Finally, special attention is given to the actors in the Jerusalem milieu of the Catholic Habsburg Monarchy.