Parliament. See the Austrian seat of Government on the Vienna Bus Tour

Does this magnificent structure remind you of anything? The Vienna Parliament building is based on classic Greek architecture like the Acropolis, with 8 soaring columns to greet you. The architect Theophil Edvard Hansen chose to go well and truly Greek, with statues, paintings and furniture that are all inspired by classical antiquity.

These days, this is the meeting place of the two houses of the Austrian Parliament, the National Council and the Federal Council. All the important state ceremonies happen here. It’s actually one of the most-visited attractions in Vienna. Hop off the Vienna Bus Tour here and soak up the grandeur – and take a selfie with the stunning Pallas Athene fountain behind you.

A historic display

Before you step inside, look up at the pediment above the columns. The carvings there represent the granting of the Constitution by Franz Joseph I to the 17 peoples of Austria. The Emperor was so pleased with it that he made the architect a Baron after the building was complete.

Hall of Pillars

There’s limited access to the Parliament via the visitors’ centre. If you’re lucky you may be able to venture inside and see the grand Hall of Pillars. 24 huge marble pillars hold up the main ceiling, while skylights bathe the room in light. The polished marble floor is always kept spotless and pristine.

Other interesting facts about the Parliament

  • The statues of horse tamers on plinths represent the suppression of passion, considered vital for any parliament to function
  • The House of Representatives Chamber is a distinctive semi-circular shape
  • The capitals of the pillars in the Hall of Pillars are gilded with 23-carat gold
  • The 4 figures at the base of Athena’s fountain represent the 4 most important rivers of the Austro-Hungarian empire