For many countries, a parliament building often provides the focal point for moments of celebration and remembrance. These buildings are often the most famous in the entire country and many appear on bank notes, imprinted into a nation’s psyche or ingrained within a country’s persona. Not only do these government buildings play a large role in the political life of the country, but they are historical monuments too, providing an illustration of the country’s heritage. Here is our run down of some of the best buildings.
Reichstag Building, Berlin
The Reichstag was opened in 1894, and the contemporary yet vintage building, has become one of the most famous tourist attractions in Germany, mainly because of the glass dome which gives you a spectacular view of the city. The dome’s vast central glass cylinder is one of its most impressive features, designed to reflect natural light into the plenary chamber. It was severely damaged in 1933, when it was set on fire and after WWII, it fell into disuse. It wasn’t until after German reunification in 1990, that it went under full reconstruction by architect Norman Foster, who modernised the building, and it is now one of the most visited buildings in the country.
Image source : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reichstag_building#/media/File:Reichstag_building_Berlin_view_from_west_before_sunset.jpg
Hungarian Parliament Building, Budapest
Completed in 1904, the Hungarian Parliament building is a landmark of Hungary, and one of the largest buildings in the country, as well as one of Europe’s oldest legislative buildings. It was completed as a part of the independence of Hungary from Austria. The Hungarians held a competition for the architectural design, in order to always have a monument as a symbol of their independence, and Imre Steindl emerged as the winner. The building is in a ‘Gothic revival’ style, with a symmetrical façade There are 90 statues on the façade and 40kg of 23-carat gold was used to design the interior. Due to its extensive surface, it requires a lot of maintenance, so the building is almost always under renovation.
Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungarian_Parliament_Building#/media/File:HUN-2015-Budapest-Hungarian_Parliament_(Budapest)_2015-01.jpg
Palace of Parliament, Bucharest
Bucharest’s Palace of Parliament is the second largest administrative building in the world, after The Pentagon. The building was designed by architect Anca Petrescu, who won a contest for its construction, which was completed in 1997. The building currently holds two world records: it’s the most expensively managed parliament building, and also the heaviest building in the world. It was constructed from 700,000 tonnes of steel and bronze, combined with various other materials, including wood and marble. The cost of heating and electric lighting alone exceeds $6 million a year so the environmental impact of this is a subject for debate.
US Capitol Building, Washington D.C.
The Capitol is the main place of meeting of the US Congress. It was completed in 1800 and it’s built in a distinctive neoclassical style. It was designed by William Thornton, who won the design competition for the Capitol, proposed by Thomas Jefferson. Thornton was inspired by the east front of the Louvre and the Paris Pantheon, for the centre portion of his design. There are many interesting aspects about the Capitol building, such as it having its own subway which carries politicians from House and Senate Office buildings to the Capitol.
Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Capitol#/media/File:US_Capitol_west_side.JPG
Palace of Westminster, London
Commonly referred to as the Houses of Parliament, the Palace of Westminster is an iconic landmark of London, and one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. It was originally built during the middle ages, but it was mostly destroyed in a fire in 1834. The present Palace of Westminster we all know today was rebuilt between 1840 and 1870, by architects Sir Charles Berry and Augustus Pugin. However, interior decoration continued well into the 20th century. The building was built in the perpendicular Gothic style, which is a style characterised by an emphasis on vertical lines. The building has been listed as a World Heritage Site since 1987.
Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palace_of_Westminster#/media/File:Parliament_at_Sunset.JPG
There are many other stunning parliament buildings around the world, such as the Binnenhof in the Netherlands, and the Secretariat Building in New Delhi. Most of these buildings are in a traditional, and classical gothic style. But there are plenty of modern parliament buildings, such as the Scottish Parliament Building, which opened in 2004. It was listed as Scotland’s fourth greatest modern building in Prospect magazine. Also, the city of Canberra is home to the Australian Parliament building. It was the successor to Old Parliament House and it has become the focal point of Canberra. Ultimately, parliament buildings are a national symbol and an intrinsic part of a country’s history.
Are there any parliament buildings you particularly love that you think deserve a place on this list? If so, let us known in the comment section.
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