Pallas Athene Fountain – The Austrian Parliament Building, Vienna – Austria

The Austrian Parliament Building (German: Parlament or Hohes Haus, formerly the Reichsratsgebäude) in Vienna is where the two houses of the Parliament of Austria conduct their sessions. The building is located on the Ringstraße boulevard in the first district Innere Stadt, near the Hofburg Palace and the Palace of Justice.

The foundation stone was laid in 1874; the building was completed in 1883. The architect responsible for its Greek revival style was Theophil Edvard Hansen. He designed the building holistically, each element harmonizing with the others and was therefore also responsible for the interior decoration, such as statues, paintings, furniture, chandeliers, and numerous other elements. Hansen was honored by Emperor Franz Joseph with the title of Freiherr (Baron) after its completion. One of the building’s most famous features is the Pallas Athena fountain in front of the main entrance, built by Hansen from 1898 to 1902 and a notable Viennese tourist attraction. Following heavy damage and destruction during the Second World War, most of the interior has been restored to its original splendour.

The parliament building covers over 13,500 square meters, making it one of the largest structures on the Ringstraße. It was built to house the two chambers of the Imperial Council, or Reichsrat, the legislature of the Austrian part (Cisleithania) of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Today, the parliament building is the seat of the two houses—the National Council (Nationalrat) and the Federal Council (Bundesrat)—of the Austrian parliament. It contains over one hundred rooms, the most important of which are the Chambers of the National Council, the Federal Council, and the former Imperial House of Representatives (Abgeordnetenhaus). The building also includes committee rooms, libraries, lobbies, dining rooms, bars and gymnasiums. It is the site of important state ceremonies, most notably the swearing-in ceremony of the President of Austria and the state speech on National Day each October 26. The building is closely associated with the two parliamentary bodies, as is shown by the use of the term “Hohes Haus” as a metonym for “Parliament”. Parliamentary offices spill over into nearby buildings, such as the Palais Epstein.

Vienna_Austria_Pallas_Athene_Fountain_Parliament_Building

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