European Parliament Buildings Pt. 3
The building has been used as Croatia's parliament since 1737. There have been many renovations of the building. It was not completely finished until 1911.
The building is a mix of many styles because it was being built for so long. We can find Neo-Renaissance, Art Nouveau and Classicism in its design.
Croatia regained its freedom in the early 1990s, which was followed by a devastating war with Serbia (Yugoslavia). Zagreb was not damaged in the war. The city is quite small and is easily walkable. It is a typical Habsburg style city, as much of the architecture was built during the time when Croatia was a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Today the city is lively and has all Western amenities that one could hope for. It is well worth a visit. There is a very Mittel-Europa feeling to the city, with whiffs of the Balkans as well. Zagreb can be easily reached by train, car, plane and bus from all over Europe.
The Swiss parliament was completed in 1902 and was built showcasing many details from the country's past. Almost 17% of the budget to build the building was used on decorations. The statue of the "Three Confederates" (who are believed to have established the Swiss state in the 13th century), was not added until 1914.
Bern is small and quaint for a capital city, especially compared to Zurich or Geneva for instance. It may seem sterile to some visitors, but for those who love cleanliness and fresh air, Bern is well worth a visit. It has none of the grit which oftentimes surround major capital cities in Europe. Many people outside of Switzerland don't even know that Bern is the capital city. Bern does seem like a backwater compared to Zurich, but it is a pleasant backwater in an almost obscure capital.
The Hague, Netherlands
The building was originally built in the 13th century for a duke. Over the centuries the hall where parliament now meets was used for various purposes, including as an important place for booksellers. Restoration took place between 1898 and 1904 in order to fill its present role as parliament.
Most foreigners think Amsterdam is the capital of The Netherlands. The Hague is more pleasant if you dislike tourist hordes. It seems cleaner and more businesslike than Amsterdam, which can be quite trying if you are not a fan of the Red Light District or "coffeehouses".
The Hague is also the home of the International Court of Justice, the prison of which holds many war criminals in almost luxury conditions compared to what most prisons are like around the world.
It is well worth seeing The Hague. It is a pleasant city without the touristy feel of Amsterdam.
The building is called Leinster House as it was the former residence of the Duke of Leinster. It has served as the national parliament of Ireland since 1922 when the country gained independence from Great Britain. The building was built from 1745-1748 in a then run down part of Dublin.
The area is now quite a trendy place filled with Georgian era houses and well manicured parks, such as Merrion Square and Fitzwilliam Square. This area of Dublin is easily walkable and is full of traditional Irish pubs as well as modern restaurants and shops. The Natural History Museum is right next door, which has a quaint collection of Victorian era stuffed animals and even the bones of a giant whale. The National Art Gallery is also next door, which incorporates old and modern architecture. Merrion Square is also home to the house where Oscar Wilde grew up, and to the offices of the Irish Football Association.
The building was completed in 1843 by a German architect. It was originally the residence of Greek monarchs. The monarchy was abolished in the 1920s in a referendum, and the building became Greece's parliament in 1929. However, because of renovations the building was first used by parliament in only 1934. The area around the building is still undergoing much construction work, as an underground garage for cars is being built.
The building and the areas around it have been the focal point for many anti-government demonstrations - many of them violent - over the past few years due to the severe economic difficulties facing the nation. It appears that the area will be a flashpoint between angry citizens and the police for the foreseeable future or until the government can bring substantial improvement to the Greek economy.