Austria-00136 - Pallas Athena
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The Austrian Parliament building was constructed between 1874 and 1884 as the seat of the Reichsrat, the Imperial Parliament representing the Austrian part of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. Inside are two large assembly halls which originally housed the two chambers of the Imperial Parliament: the Herrenhaus (upper house) and the Abgeordnetenhaus (lower house).
In 1918, after the fall of the Habsburg Empire, parliamentarians declared the creation of the Republic of Austria. Today the building houses sessions of the Nationalrat (National Council) and the Bundesrat (Federal Council).
The Greek theme is continued with the Athenebrunnen, a monumental fountain in front of the Parliament Building, named after the Greek goddess Pallas Athena - goddess of wisdom - who is portrayed with a colossal statue on top of a fluted column.
Below Pallas Athena are two female statues, representing the legislative and executive powers of the state. At the base are four allegorical statues of the four most important rivers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire: the Danube and the Inn in the front and the Elbe and the Vltava in the back.
The fountain, which was unveiled in 1902, was created by sculptors Carl Kundmann, Josef Tautenhayn and Hugo Haerdtl.