Wherever you sit on the political spectrum, one thing is for sure: politics extracts our rawest emotions and forces us to work together or apart to come to fair compromises.
The homes of these debates were intended to inspire. As we can see from some parliaments around the world, architects were determined to create buildings that glean inspiration and cooperation. We have highlighted some of the most beautiful houses of Parliament that are used to shape our worlds.
The Hungarian Parliament, Budapest:
Sitting on the Buda side on the edge of the river lives the Hungarian Parliament Building. Its official name, Országház, roughly translates to ‘House of the Country’ or ‘House of the Nation’. It is currently the largest and tallest building in the country.
When Budapest was united from three cities in 1873, the new city quickly got to work on its representative chamber. Parliament opened its doors in 1904 and has been operating ever since. According to sources, 100,000 people worked on its construction.
Westminster Palace, London:
Perhaps one of the oldest and most famous houses of Parliament in the world sits in London, UK. Amazingly, the structure finished construction in 1016 – more than 1000 years ago!
It was rebuilt in 1876 and has been the main source of political discourse ever since. Westminster Palace has many chambers that all sit along the River Thames – making it one of the most iconic buildings in the world.
Capitol Hill, Washington, DC:
US Congress gathers on Capitol Hill which is home to both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Construction began in 1793 and was completed in 1800.
For more than 200 years, it has been the epicenter of Washington and political revolution for the United States. Designed to be a complete contradiction to the UK system from which it diverted, the US Congress is one of the most comprehensive political systems in the world.
Reichstag has been back in operation as home to the German Parliament ever since 1999. Due to the country’s complicated history with Nazism and the Cold War, its Parliament’s location often changed hands. Its final resting place is a recent choice after years of mismanagement and indecision.
Today, the word Reichstag refers mainly to the actual building, whereas Bundestag refers to the institution itself.
Centre Block, Ottawa:
The Canadian Parliament is located on Parliament Hill in the Canadian capital of Ottawa. Similar to the UK, the building has both houses of chambers (the upper and the lower), as well as offices for particular senators.
Its clock, similar to Britain’s Big Ben, is called the Peace Tower. It stands as a reminder for the peace they seek. Recently, the government closed the Centre Block for renovations. In total, the renovations are expected to last for 10 years.
The Secretariat Building, New Delhi:
In the heart of India’s New Delhi rests the Secretariat Building. It was built in the 1910s and is home to some of the biggest and most significant ministries of the Cabinet of India.
These two symmetrical buildings (north and south) are on either side of the ‘Rashtrapati Bhavan’ – the President’s House. British architect Herbert Baker designed the buildings which each have four levels with 1000 rooms.
The Binnenhof, The Hague, Holland:
The Binnenhof is a complex set of buildings in the city center of The Hague. The location is the home to both houses of the States General of the Netherlands.
It sits along the water and dates back centuries, with reports suggesting that politicians first met there in 1586. Further, it is one of the oldest Parliament buildings still in use and is among the top 100 Dutch heritage sites.
Palace of the Parliament, Bucharest:
Each house of Parliament in Bucharest is located in the Palace of Parliament in Romania. It is the second largest administrative building in the world – losing out to the US Pentagon.
Overall, 700 people built
House of Parliament, Cape Town:
The House of Parliament in South Africa consists of three wings in total – all built in different time periods. The first building appeared at the end of the 19th century.
The second one joined the complex in the 1920s, with the last one finally completing the trilogy in the 1980s. The compound homes the General Assembly and the National Councils of the Provinces.
‘Beehive’, Wellington, New Zealand:
The Beehive is the common name for New Zealand’s executive wing of Government in the parliament buildings. Located in the nation’s capital of Wellington, the Beehive was added to the pre-existing structure during an inauguration in 1977
The Prime Minister’s office is located on the ninth floor. Here, politicians are hard at work banning citizens’ rights to own firearms. Today, tourists can walk around the site with a guide and witness some of the politics in action.
Knesset, Jerusalem, Israel:
The Knesset, translated briefly into ‘The Gathering’, is the unicameral national legislature of Israel. It passes all laws, elects the country’s president and prime minister, as well as approves the cabinet.
Ten different parties make up the 120 seats in the Knesset. As a result, this usually leads to many coalition governments which can both help and hinder the democratic process. As of 2015, 29 Knesset members are women and 18 members are Arab. It is a testament to the western values held by the most democratic country in the Middle East.
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