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#1401 Columned Hall of the Austrian Parliament - Vienna (Austria)

20050630-014 Columned Hall of the Austrian Parliament - Vienna (Austria).jpg Thumbnails#1400 Columned Hall of the Austrian Parliament - Vienna (Austria)

The Austrian Parliament Building ("Parlamentsgebäude" or "colloquially das Parlament") in Vienna is where the two houses of the Austrian Parliament conduct their sessions. The building is located on the Ringstraße boulevard in the first district Innere Stadt, near Hofburg Palace and the Palace of Justice. It was built to house the two chambers of the Imperial Council (Reichsrat), the bicameral legislature of the Cisleithanian (Austrian) part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Up to today, the Parliament Building is the seat of the two houses—the National Council (Nationalrat) and the Federal Council (Bundesrat) of the Austrian legislature. The foundation stone was laid in 1874; the building was completed in 1883. The architect responsible for its Greek Revival style was Theophil Hansen. He designed the building holistically, each element harmonizing with the others and was therefore also responsible for the interior decoration, such as statues, paintings, furniture, chandeliers, and numerous other elements.
Hansen was honoured by Emperor Franz Joseph with the title of Freiherr (Baron) after its completion. Following heavy damage and destruction in World War II, most of the interior has been restored to its original splendour.

Located behind the entrance atrium is the grand Hall of Pillars or Columned Hall (Säulenhalle) of peristyle. The hall is about 40 metre (131 ft) long and 23 metre (75 ft) wide. The 24 Corinthian pillars are made of Adnet marble, and all of them are monoliths weighing around 16 tons each. The pillars carry the skylighted main ceiling in the middle and the coffered side ceilings. The floor is made of polished marble resting on a concrete hull. The hall was heavily damaged by aerial bombardments by British and American during World War II. On 7 February 1945 the hall suffered direct hits by aerial bombs. At least two pillars and the skylight were completely destroyed. The gilded coffered side ceilings under which the frieze ran on the walls were almost completely destroyed. The few surviving parts of the frieze were removed and stored.
Only in the 1990s were the surviving parts restored as much as possible.