West of the Ringstrasse: Parlament and City Hall

DESTINATIONS austria vienna west-of-the-ringstrasse-parlament-and-city-hall

From her pedestal in front of Austria's National Parliament, Athena, the gold-helmeted Greek goddess of wisdom, looks sternly over the Ringstrasse. Locals hope that her good judgment rubs off on the legislators inside the templelike building. Nearby is the Rathaus, or City Hall, a negolithic masterpiece that's one of the city's most photographed buildings. During the summer months, the surrounding park is the setting for an international food and film festival; in winter there's a delightful Christmas market. The mood is a little more somber at the Votivkirche, an imposing cathedral that the royal family built after a thwarted assassination attempt on Emperor Franz Josef. Travel up Währingerstrasse and Liechtensteinstrasse to visit Sigmund Freud's apartment and the city's new-old dazzler, the Liechtenstein Museum, with its fabled collection of paintings by Peter Paul Rubens.

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