I toured the Austrian Parliament this week. On countless occasions I have walked and tram-ed past the building, always admiring the Greek architecture, and finally had occasion to go inside.

 Athena, the goddess of wisdom, holds a stately position on the main plaza in front of Parliament.

The inside was mostly what I was expecting. Except for the naked Greek gods, kind of, well, everywhere.  If I were a legislator I might have a little trouble concentrating with all that Greek god around me. 🙂




The main ceremonial hall. The 24 marble columns in the hall, each weighing the equivalent of 3 elephants, were brought in from Salzburg via horse carriages.

The architect of the Parliament building, Theophil Hansen, included snakes as door handles because just as snakes shed their skin to begin anew, Parliament sheds its elected representatives periodically and begins anew. I can think of a few elected representatives the U.S. might want to shed.

The former House of Representatives chamber. Not damaged by WWII, it retains its stateliness and is used now for ceremonial occasions.

The National Council chamber. This wing of the Parliament was severely damaged during the war, its modern architecture reflecting the reconstruction.

This is a seating chart for the Federal Council chamber. Not quite the two-party system of the U.S., the Austrian government makes room for all of those whom the country elects. For reference, the red seats are held by the Social Democratic Party; the black by the Austrian People’s Party; green seats belong to the Green Party; blue seats are for NEOS, the “New Austria Party;” and the lone yellow seat belongs to Team Stronach, a center-right party.

National elections were held last month and the official jockeying-for-position commences on 29 October.  May the naked gods be ever in each political party’s favor.