Austrian Parliament Building, Vienna
An Imperial Commission under Emperor Franz Joseph I decided in 1857 that the building’s style should be classical and choose classical Greek architecture as appropriate for the Parliament, since the ideal of democracy is connected to the Ancient Greeks.
Democracy under the Empire was a more difficult task than to build (architect Baron von Hansen) a construction inspired by the Zappeion in Athens.
Indeed in 1867 with the Austro-Hungarian Compromise, Hungary obtained autonomy and the Empire became the kaiserliche und königliche Monarchie Österreich-Ungarn (Austro-Hungarian monarchy or k.u.k. Monarchy) also called Doppelmonarchie.
Can you imagine that Emperor and King Franz Joseph I reigned over a multinational realm comprising modern-day Austria, Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, large parts of Serbia and Romania and smaller parts of Italy, Montenegro, Poland and Ukraine with 12 official languages! Emperor Franz Joseph spoke German, Hungarian and Czech fluently, and Polish and Italian to some degree.
All these ethnies were not really in love with each other. For example Hungary and Austria had separate parliaments. Furthermore there were political struggles between conservatives and liberals.
The dual monarchy dissolved on 31 October 1918. Austria and Hungary became republics. But this is the start of another story.
The building housed the first form of a parliamentary system for much of the people of Central Europe and is a success of the 19th century Classic revival.
The fact that the statue of Athena has her back turned to the building was explained by a joke: the Goddess was disgusted by the political infighting at the parliament!
There are public guided tours for individual visitors in both English and German language from Monday to Saturday at specific times. See the website: www.parlament.gv.at
No prior appointment is necessary.
As you wander around the Ringstrasse from the Kunsthistorisches Museum to the Rathaus, you’ll pass the Austrian Parliament building. The columned façade is very much “Ancient Greece meets Baroque” and the overall effect is very impressive (second photo). I’m sure there is a substantial security presence somewhere, but from outside it certainly was not obvious – unlike the French Parliament which has what seem to be permanent mesh barricades!
Most of all, while you are here, you’re certain to be struck by the superb statue of Pallas Athenas, the Greek Goddess of Heroic Endeavour. When we visited, it seemed the gilding on her helmet and accoutrements really gleamed (main photo). This is listed in our guidebook as a fountain, but there wasn’t any watery stuff splashing around when we visited – great statue though!
The Austrian Parliament Building, (German: Parlament or Hohes Haus, formerly the Reichsratsgebäude), is where the two Houses of the Parliament of Austria conduct their sittings. The building lies at the Ringstraße in the first district Innere Stadt in Vienna, close by the Hofburg Imperial Palace and the Palace of Justice. Coordinates: 48°12′29″N, 16°21′29″E
The main construction lasted from 1874 to 1883. The architect responsible for the building was Baron Theophil von Hansen, the building is an example of Greek revival. The architect von Hansen designed the building as an ensemble, where each piece harmonised with the rest. He was therefore also responsible for the interior decoration such as statues, paintings, furniture, chandeliers, and other elements. One of the building's most famous features is the statue of Athena and the fountain, a notable Viennese tourist attraction. Despite heavy damages and destruction during World War II, most of the interior has been restored to its original appearance
The Parlament building was constructed between 1873 and 1883, and was designed in the style of the Greek revival by Theophil Hansen. In front of the building is the famous Pallas Athena fountain - which after renovation works is now once again open to the public to see. The building has served as a parliament building since its construction and is home to the lower and upper houses of parliament, both of which are composed of elected politicians.
The Parlament has been undergoing restoration work for several years now, and is now finished - you can once again walk up the ramp and admire the view to the Hofburg and the building is once again in pristine condition.
Architecture that harks back to the classical and mediaeval past is the style of three important buildings along the the Ring, the great boulevard constructed in 1857, that encircles the city's Inner Stadte. All are public buildings commissioned by the Emperor Franz-Joseph.
The Neue Rathaus is flamboyantly neo-Gothic , with a tall, pinnacled central tower and a facade pierced with lanceted and cinque-foiled windows. It's something of a maze inside, with numerous courtyards, staircases and cloister-like arcades. Concerts are held in the largest courtyard through the summer and the beautiful ceremonial hall (the Festaal) that runs the full length of the building is the venue for the world-famous New Year's Day Strauss concert each year. Tickets for that are nigh on impossible to get, but I was lucky enough to attend an evening reception in the Rathaus and had a wonderful time exploring this grand building, including the Festaal.
December sees the biggest (and the most commercial) of Vienna's Christmas markets set up in the Rathaus gardens with little wooden booths stuffed with all manner of Christmas decorations and gifts, stalls selling gluwein and hot snacks and everyone really getting into the Christmas spirit.
Across the Ring from the park, the huge Italianate neo-Renaissance bulk of the Burgtheater dominates the streetscape, whilst the architect of the Austrian Parliament across the street and down the road looked back to the world of ancient Greece and Rome for his inspiration, placing a statue of Pallas Athene, the Godess of Wisdom, in front of his building to enhance the classical look.
But times were changing ....
The Austrian Parliament looks like an old greek temple, but in fact it dates back to the end of the 19th century and was constructed by Theophil Hansen as a part of the Ringstrassen-architecture. You may visit the parliament with a guided tour and after the reconstruction-works that ended in 2005 they even have a shop for parliament-souvenirs there. Take a closer look at the great monument of Pallas Athene and various fine details, like the door-handle on one of my pictures. The entrance-hall is beautifully decorated with mosaiques and even the street-lamps are decorated with swans and sculptures out of the greek mythology.
The giant edifice was created by the architect Theophil Hansen, and it was built into the year 1874 until 1884.
The massive construction is a splendid concept in classic style, with a unique architecture.
The main facade is built as a temple, with white column, beautiful sculptures and paintings and the entrance to the parliament is attainable over a wide driveway ramp.
A lot of marble sculptures, that represent Greek and Roman historians stand along the ramp.
In front of Parliament stands the Athena-well that was created by Karl Kundmann in the year 1902.
During the World War II, the Parliament was destroyed, and it was reconstructed until 1956.
The building of Parliament is a very important edifice on the Ringstrasse, a construction that means very much for the historic and socially lives of Austria.
If you still walking by the ring,soon you'll find this impressive building,is the Austria's Parliament Building.Unfortunatelly during my visit to the city,people were making a very big construction works in the facade of the Parlamient Building,so I just show you a little part of the building.Really is a huge and beautiful construction.
A wonderful parliament building - no other city in the world can boast of a more beautiful government building. Can you imagine that they let you in to witness the proceedings when the parliament is in session.You only need to carry your passport and make a request at the parliament building office.The security staff are so tourist friendly.The fountain in front of the building is superb.
The building lies at the Ringstrase in the first district Innere Stadt, close by Hofburg Palace. The Parliament is consist of the lower house of Austria – the National Council whose members are elected by popular vote and the upper house – the Federal Council, whose members are chosen by the states sit here. One of the buildings most famous features is the statue of Athena and the fountain. The most interior has been restored to its original appearance because destruction during Second World War.
This building is the center of the two Rooms of the Austrian parliament, the palace rises on the left side of the Ring, forehead to the Volksgarten, and was constructed in 1873-83 from T. Hansen, inspiring itself to the Greek architecture. The immense building has the facade with the shape of a temple, with pronao and fronton and of two wings with final semicolumns and in two smaller pavilions like a small temple; 60 statues of eminent personages of the Greek and Roman antiquity crown the attic.
Majestic is the double ramp that go to the body centers, adorned of four bronze groups of dominators of horses, statues of ancients personages and preceded from the Fountain of Pallas Athena, work of Hansen, with statue of K. Kundmann (1902). Inside the building it is interesting the Saulenhalle, hall to peristyle, on 24 gigantic monolitic columns with corinz caphitel.
I don't have the picture of it unfortunately as there was a kind of repair when we were there and there were fences around of it.
The finish of the building of Parliamen House was in year 1883, the architect of it was Danish architect Theopil Hansen.
Day 2 : Rathaus area / Ringstrasse
As I continued my walk in the direction of the Neue Burg / Heldenplatz, along the Dr-Karl-Lueger-Ring, I passed the impressive Parliament.
For a moment I thought that I was in Greece, but no no this was still Vienna. It was built from 1874 - 1884, and was designed by Theophil von Hansen.
The building is richly decorated with statues of Greek and Roman history writers.
And just in front of the Parliament building there is a beautiful fountain, the Athenebrunnen, Pallas Athena, Goddess of wisdom, dominates this fountain.
The Parliament (Hoheshaus) was built on the site of the ancient city fortifications and walls. It was Emperor Franz Josef I of Austria who decided to laid down plans for a Ringstrasse boulevard to replace the old city walls.
The construction started in 1874 and the building was completed in 1883. It was built in the Greek revival style designed by Austrian architect Teophil Edvard Hansen. Hansen was inspired by the design of the Zappeion in Athens. He is also responsible for the interior decoration, such as statues, paintings, furniture and other decorative elements. For his magnificent work Hansen was honored by Emperor Franz Josef with the title "Freiherr" (baron).
Today the Parliament building is the seat of the National Council (Nationalrat) and the Federal Council (Bundesrat) of the Austrian Parliament.
Pallas-Athenebrunnen in front of the Parliament portal was erected between 1893and 1902, as a joined work by Carl Kundmann, Josef Tautenhayn and Hugo Haerldt, based on plans by Edvard von Hansen.
In the middle of the fountain is a water basin and the richly decorated base. The four figures, lying at the foot of Athene are allegorical representations of the four most important rivers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. At the front is Danube and Inn, in the back the Elbe and Moldau (Vltava). On the sides of the fountain little cupids ride dolphins. The female statues above represents the Legislative and Executive powers of the state.
They are again dominated by the Goddess of Wisdom, Athene, standing on a pillar. Athene is dressed in armour with a gilden helmet, her left hand carries a spear and her right carries Goddess Nike. The statue of Athene is work of the sculptor Carl Kundmann.