Vestibule and Atrium
As you enter the Parliament Building through the large entrance door, a bronze replica of the portal of the Erechtheion on the Acropolis of Athens, you find yourself in an anteroom, the so-called Upper Vestibule. Jointly with the atrium next to it, it is meant to prepare visitors for the splendorous grandeur of the central Colonnaded Hall.
In the Vestibule you will find on your right six columns seven metres high and fashioned from Tridentine marble, with the noble staircases leading up from the Lower Vestibule to the left and right of them.
The wall niches above the staircases with their “trout marble“ surrounds hold replicas of ancient gods and goddesses carved from marble from the quarry of Laas. To your left are Apollo, Athene, Zeus, Hera and Hephaistos, on your right Hermes, Demeter, Poseidon, Artemis and Ares.
Above the niches, a frieze painting by Alois Hans Schram that spreads over all four walls and leads on into the Atrium represents the blessings of peace: on the left, the promotion of the people’s material interests, and on the right the flowering of immaterial blessings.
The decorations in the corridors symbolise the respective conceptions of government characteristic of Sparta and Athens.
The Atrium, which is separated from the Vestibule by two Ionian columns, features above the entrance to the Colonnaded Hall a frieze painting representing Austria enthroned. A symbol of patriotic love, warriors pay homage to their Fatherland (“our wealth and blood for our fatherland“) and, on their knees, swear the oath of allegiance, while women proffer their gifts.