Vienna Photos: Austrian Houses of Parliament

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The houses of Parliament of Austria by Ringstraße

The Parlamentsgebäude or Houses of Parliament in Austria are situated at a prominent location at the Ringstraße. It is a neo-Classical building designed by the Danish architect Theophil Hansen and was built in 1884. The Parlamentsgebäude provides the congregation space for both chambers of the Austrian parliament, of which the Nationalrat is the more important and directly elected one.

The less important Bundesrat comprises of delegates sent by the federal provinces, proportionally to the composition of the regional governments. That means that if the liberal democrats were to gain 50 percent of the mandates in Salzburg, half of the Salzburg-Bundesrat mandates would also go to the liberal democrats. Unfortunately, there are no liberal democrats in Austria.

Back to the Parlamentsgebäude: There are guided tours, but I think they are not overly interesting for international visitors. Inside, the building looks very much like any crazy-historicist palace in Vienna, perhaps even a bit more excessive. For this kind of impression, I rather recommend a coffee at Café Central in Palais Ferstel.

From the outside, the Parlamentsgebäude is worth a closer look; there′s all sorts of pillars, mosaics and other resemblances to Greek antiquity. If you happen to be new money and like pompous architecture, you might want to check out other Ringstraße buildings by Theophil Hansen: The stock exchange or the Academy of Fine Arts, for example. Vienna′s city centre is full with historicist madness, I only chose the picture above because the Parlamentsgebäude is probably most advanced in the category of "historicism over the top".