Inside the Vienna City Hall

The Council Chamber

Council Chamber (Photo: Media Wien) Chandelier (Photo: Media Wien) Coffered ceiling (Photo: Media Wien)

Since Vienna is not only Austria's federal capital but also a federal province in its own right, it is in this hall that the members of the City Council and Diet convene. This assembly is composed of 100 members and elected for a term of five years. The most striking feature of this 14-metre-high room is a huge chandelier in the historicist style, with a diameter of five metres and 213 lights. It was cast in one piece, weighs 3,200 kilogrammes and can be entered by maintenance personnel to change the lamps. The coffered ceiling of high-grade larch and spruce wood is decorated with 22-carat gold-leaf rosettes. Directly below the ceiling, a series of frescoes depicts events from the history of Austria and Vienna. The section situated on the right hand of the central visitors' gallery shows scenes from the 13th to 16th centuries; we see Duke Rudolf IV laying the foundation-stone for the southern spire of Saint Stephen's Cathedral and the establishment of Vienna University, the world's oldest university where students are taught in the German language. The left-hand side takes us into the 17th to 19th centuries. Empress Maria Theresa is surrounded by famous exponents of the politics, arts and sciences of her era (including Emperor Joseph II, Mozart, van Swieten and Haydn). Most of the pointed-arch windows with stained lead glazing facing the gallery were reconstructed after the Second World War on the basis of the original plans. The back wall of the central visitors' gallery depicts the tasks of Vienna's municipal administration in allegorical form.

The huge chandelier was moved one single time in its history. The heat from its lamps transformed the Council Chamber into an impromptu sauna. So it was decided in the 1960s to pull up the chandelier by one metre.

© Photos: Media Wien

Inside the Vienna City Hall

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