City Hall Vienna. A magnificent building for the city council
Between 1872 and 1883, when the old Vienna town hall became too small, the mayor of the city suggested they move to a new building on the new Ringstrasse. German architect Friedrich von Schmidt won the competition to design it, and after spending a cool 14 million gulden, the town council had a grand new building to move into.
It doesn’t look particularly Austrian, does it? That’s because Schmidt based his design on Flemish architecture, such as the Brussels Town Hall. The Vienna City Hall is built with bricks decorated with limestone. The whole thing is vast, with 7 inner courtyards, 6 floors and 2 basements.
Make an event of it
There’s nearly always something going on at the City Hall. From film festivals to ice-skating rinks, this is a very happening place. If you’ve stopped here on your Vienna Bus Tour during the summer then you’ll find lots of stands selling their wares from regional restaurants. And in the evenings, there are operas and concerts playing on the screen in front of the hall. Sit down and enjoy, it’s free!
Standing guard over the City Hall is the Rathausmann. This is no ordinary sculpture – he’s made from melted-down Russian kopecks. He’s similar to a knight, and is wearing armour that people say was inspired by the legendary Emperor Maximilian I, who was known as ‘the last knight’.
Other interesting facts about the City Hall
- The City Hall contains 1,575 rooms
- The main spire of the City Hall soars 102 metres (335 feet)
- The Rathausmann is 5.4 metres (17.71 feet) tall, or 3.4 metres (11.15 feet) without his flagpole
- To see the Emperor Maximilian I’s armour, visit the Hofjagd and Rüstkammer in the nearby Hofburg