Austrian Parliament Building

Austrian Parliament Building, Vienna Overview

Situated on the popularly known Ring Boulevard, the Austrian Parliament Building is the most important establishment of the country. The Parliament Building is not only a centre to witness live political discussions, but is also a chamber of architectural excellence. With free guided tours offered around the Parliament Building and its vicinity, visitors can explore the art, culture, history, and robust politics of Vienna. Right from the Greek-inspired entrance, to the Imperial House, Chamber of National Council, library, artwork, and even exhibitions; the Parliament Building visit is definitely a must-see in Austria. The best time to visit is during the second Saturday of every month where visitors can also admire the art exhibitions inside the Parliament House.

Established in the 19th century under the Austro-Hungary Empire, the Parliament Building has witnessed decades of dynamic history. Visitors will get the chance to explore the interior of the Parliament, take a tour around the Hofburg Palace, Heldenplatz, Palais Epstein, and even attend interactive sessions. The fascinating architecture, availability of guided tours, and an excellent location make the trip to the Parliament House a noteworthy one on the list. Visitors also enjoy lounging around the nearby cafe to capture one of the best views of the Building and Ring Boulevard.

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Things to Do and Tours at the Austrian Parliament Building

A visit to the Parliament House gives visitors the chance to walk in the shoes of the politicians and observe their daily lives. Along with it, the vicinity offers excellent tours and even live sessions for tourists and locals to attend. From touring around the Parliament Building to exploring the museum, and admiring its graceful architecture; a visit here is ideal for learning about Vienna’s past and taking in its aesthetic style.

1. Guided Tours of Hofburg

The Hofburg Palace or Castle of the Court is an important element of the Austrian Parliament Building. Currently, it is the official residence of the President. However, it earlier used to be the imperial Palace for the royalty. Established in a circular setting, the Palace was constructed in the 13th century. Guided tours are available to take visitors through the rich history of the country’s political past, and even an entry to the Parliament’s Art Exhibition.

Tickets are free of cost and the tours are available in several languages including Italian, French, Portuguese, English, Spanish, and more. 

2. Guided Tours of Heldenplatz

One of the most popular tours amongst history buffs is the tour of the Heldenplatz or Heros’ Square. This educational and resourceful tour offers the first-hand input into the workings of the Parliament, political concepts, and much more. Taking the visitors through the important monuments, a full-fledged tour of the Ballhausplatz, Ringstrasse, Palais Epstein, Palace of Justice, the Parliament Building, and more are offered.

This free tour is available in German and English and is an interesting walk through the lanes of history and culture. 

3. Guided Tours of Palais Epstein 

The tour of Palais Epstein is one of the most sought after tours, especially by the art enthusiasts. It is a beautiful cosy building located at the corner of Ring Boulevard which takes visitors through the history of the country, using various art forms. It is also home to the Parliament’s administrative offices. The Palais Epstein was owned by a banker’s family who dedicated immense effort and time towards art. Visitors can admire everything from intricate paintings, remarkable woodwork, carving, architecture, beautiful patio, and much more. This short and crisp tour allows visitors to cruise through 130 years of the country’s history, preserving illustrations from Austria’s cultural and economic lifestyle.

The guided tours are free of cost and visitors will even get to explore the collections from the Second World War.

Other activities at the Austrian Parliament building include exploring the Democratic Quarter (currently being renovated), and attend the sessions to see politicians in the daily lifestyle.

History of Austrian Parliament Building

Though the Parliament Building advocates for democracy and peace, it has seen a turbulent and tragic past. While the Parliament Building remained the same, it was over the last 100 years put into different political divisions. It is interesting to note that when Austria was a part of the Austro-Hungary Empire, this Parliament Building worked from the Austrian side. It saw one of the greatest changes when the country was changed to a Republic, and the role of the Parliament changed greatly.

Tragically, during the years of World War II, much of the building was destroyed. The reconstruction tried to restore the original establishment, but a modernized change was made to the National Council Chamber. Today, the Parliament and its vicinity is the one-stop-shop to know everything there is about Austrian history.

Architecture of Austrian Parliament Building

Right off the bat, visitors will notice the heavy Greek influences in the architecture of the Parliament Building. Replicating the entrance of the Acropolis in Athens, the building is constructed with white marble and gold plating. The Parliament Building was designed by Baron Theophil von Hansen and took over ten years of construction. The Greek Revival architectural style is heavily noticeable, and a statue of Athena also dons the entrance.

Visitors can admire the scenes depicted from the country’ s history and the majestic pillars at the entrance. The Greek inspiration is courtesy of Ancient Greece’s connection to democracy. The Parliament Building pays tribute to the originating place from where democracy was founded. A tour of the building will also showcase more than 1600 rooms and two large chamber halls.

How to Reach the Austrian Parliament Building

Metro: The most used and convenient way to reach the location is through the Underground metro or U-Bahn. Trains U2 or U3 are on the route and visitors can get off at the station Volkstheater.

Tram: Visitors can take tram D, J, 1, or 2 and get off at the station Stadiongasse/Parlament.

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