The Federal Assembly Chamber
The Hall, which served as the Chamber in which the House of Deputies met at the time of the Monarchy, is situated in the right-hand wing of the building as seen from Ringstrasse. Semicircular in shape and with rows of seats arranged like an ancient Greek amphitheatre. The hall has a diameter of 34 metres and a depth of 25.5 metres and is topped by a hand-painted glass roof.
All round the semicircular hall there is an ambulatory with seven double-wing doors. The wall behind the President’s podium is fitted with a row of three-quarter columns crowned at the centre by a pediment adorned by statues representing the times of the day. The walls between the columns are finished in stucco marble, and the niches in between hold statues of Roman politicians.
Above it, a frieze painting by August Eisenmenger shows in fifteen separate panels the evolution of states throughout the ages. Note that the central panel, “Pericles orders sumptuous buildings to be erected“, shows Theophil Hansen in the guise of the sculptor Phidias.
The two levels above the semicircular ambulatory hold galleries. The lower gallery, supported by male and female hermae and decorated in gilded carved wood, has at its middle a box reserved to the Head of State.
The historic meeting hall, as it is also called, is today the venue of the Federal Assembly, which meets, for instance, on the occasion of the swearing-in of the Federal President or for formal events and joint commemorative meetings of the National and Federal Councils.