Tour of the Austrian Parliament

My German teacher arranged for us to tour the Austrian Parliament last week. It was reasonably interesting and not so very Baroque for a change. The building was constructed in the 1870s under the Emperor Franz Josef, who was reluctantly giving up some of his monarchical privilege at the time. So, it’s got that Hapsburg over-the-top thing going on, but in fact, old FJ never did personally enter the building to address the parliamentarians. It was their job to come to him, you see.

The building was used by the Nazis from 1938 to 1945, and consequently half-destroyed by Allied bombing in 1945. A new Austrian republic was declared on the spot after the war, and most of the building was painstakingly reconstructed. Because of all that history (and more) it may not be the most significant sight for foreign tourists, but it is very important to Austrians.

I wasn’t going to post the photos because frankly, gilt and fancy statues are a dime-a-dozen here. But they actually turned out pretty well, so why not.  Enjoy!

Big honking statue out front.
Big honking statue out front.
More statues inside--there are dozens of them.  The architect had a very Greek thing going on.
More statues inside–there are dozens of them. The architect had a very Greek thing going on.
Lots of neat details like this balustrade.
Lots of neat details like this balustrade.
Entry hall with 24 columns, each made of 16 tons of Corinthian marble. I really did want to know what holds it all up, but all the guide could tell me was that it is a very strong foundation.
Entry hall with 24 columns, each made of 16 tons of Corinthian marble. I really did want to know what holds it all up, but all the guide could tell me was that it is a very strong foundation.
Ionic gilding.
Ionic gilding.
Even the door handles were designed by the architect, Theophil von Hansen, and are super fancy.
Even the door handles were designed by the architect, Theophil von Hansen, and are super fancy.
The budget hall (I think) in which the current Austrian provinces argue over money.
The budget hall (I think) in which the current Austrian provinces argue over money.
Not sure this was originally supposed to have big lightbulbs in it.
Not sure this was originally supposed to have big lightbulbs in it.
24 kt gold details are everywhere. (Yes, the guide told us it is all the real deal.)
24 kt gold details are everywhere. (Yes, the guide told us it is all the real deal.)
This is the chamber that was bombed flat in WWII.  It was rebuilt in the 1950s in a Soviet style.  By now, it is an interesting time capsule in and of itself.
This is the chamber that was bombed flat in WWII. It was rebuilt in the 1950s in a Soviet style. By now, it is an interesting time capsule in and of itself.
The former Federal chamber. In this room 500 mutually unintelligible representatives from the different parts of the empire fought and fit, scratched and bit, and occasionally threw inkwells at each other.
The former Federal chamber. In this room 500 mutually unintelligible representatives from the different parts of the empire fought and fit, scratched and bit, and occasionally threw inkwells at each other.
Gilded pediment.
Gilded pediment.
Seat chart showing where the different languages were grouped in the hall.
Seat chart showing where the different languages were grouped in the hall.
Cool statues around the perimeter of the hall.
Cool statues around the perimeter of the hall.
More details.
More details.
Statue from the hall.
Statue from the hall.
This is one of several details that looks a bit Celtic to me.
This is one of several details that looks a bit Celtic to me.
Just another nice shot.
Just another nice shot.
The ceiling was handpainted by Czech glass artists and miraculously survived the WWII bombing.
The ceiling was handpainted by Czech glass artists and miraculously survived the WWII bombing.
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