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Austrian Parliament Building | by Vlad Bezden
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Austrian Parliament Building

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 Palace and the Palace of Justice.

The main construction lasted from 1874 to 1883. The architect responsible for the building was Baron Theophil von Hansen, and the building is an example of the Greek revival style. The architect, von Hansen, designed the building holistically, each element harmonizing with the others. 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 Athene, and the fountain is 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 National Council (Nationalrat) and the Federal Council (Bundesrat). 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 on each October 26. The building is very closely associated with the two Houses, as shown by the use of "Hohes Haus" as a metonym for "Parliament". Parliamentary offices overspill into nearby buildings such as the Palais Epstein.

 

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Taken on August 17, 2010