VIENNA — Danube Canal to Parlament

This area of Ringstrasse stretches from the Votivkirche to the area around the Volksgarten. It takes in the University of Vienna which was finished in 1884 in Italian Renaissance style. Worthy of note here is the Grosser Festaal with its beautiful ceiling frescoes by Klimt. Unfortunately most of the time this is not open to the public except during graduation ceremonies. Other places in this area include the Rathausplatz, Parlament and the Justizplast (Palace of Justice) which is the Supreme Court of Austria. Between the Burgtheater and Heldenplatz is the Volkgarten or People’s Garden. It is a lovely garden to walk through especially when the roses are in bloom. Make sure you look at the Temple of Thesus which is a copy of the one found in Athens.

The sights found here are:
Votivkirche
Rathaus
Rathauspark
Parlament

Votivkirche

Votivkirche
This church is very impressive looking from the outside with its two towers, covered with finely carved masonry. It was built as a thank you gift for the young Emperor Franz Joseph I from his brother Archduke Maximilian after an assassination attempt on his life. The Archduke raised money for the building of the church from his subjects and an international competition for the architectural plans took place in 1854. The competition was won by a young Franz Ferstel. The building of the church took over 20 years and a lot of attention was paid to the construction of the two towers which are very impressive. The inside of the church is rather bare and uninviting.
For information about Votivkirche visit the website at: http://www.votivkirche.at/ (in German only)

Traveller's Tip

Do go inside the church to see the stained glass windows near the altar. The one on the left is about Nazism and the ravages of war.
Rathaus

Rathaus
This splendid looking Gothic-style building is the The City Hall. It was designed by Friedrich Schmidt and was built between 1872 and 1883. It contains several spectacular spires with the main one measuring 102m. Today it is the head office of Vienna’s municipal administration. You can wander around the inner courtyards but if you want to look inside at the sumptuous state rooms and ceiling frescoes you will need to join one of the tours leaving from the information office.
For information about Rathaus visit the website at: http://www.wien.gv.at/english/cityhall/

Rathauspark

Rathauspark
The Rathaus Park is found between the Rathaus and the Ringstrasse. It was designed in 1863 by a gardener, Dr Rudolf Siebeck. The park is full of fountains, statues and plants and it is split in two by the Rathausplatz where many events are held throughout the year. In summer there are free open air cinemas, concerts, operas and classical music highlights. In winter there is the Weiner Eistraum, an ice-skating rink and at Christmas there are the Christmas markets.

Parlament

Parlament
This building is found opposite the Volksgarten. It is quite a striking building looking over the Ringstrasse with its Neo-Classical facade and Greek pillars. It was designed by the Danish architect Theophil Hansen in 1883. One of the most magnificent features of the building would have to be the huge statue of Athene, the Goddess of Wisdom which is decorated with Roman horse-tamers and seated historians. She presides over a fountain served by four wrestling mermen which represent the rivers Danube, Inn, Elbe and Moldau.
For information about Parlament visit the website at: http://www.parlament.gv.at/EN/show.psp