The Town Hall is an impressive Neo-Gothic building, the seat of the Vienna City and Provincial Assembly, and is the administrative center of the city. The huge building, occupying nearly 14,000sq.m/17,000sq.yd of the former Parade Ground, was erected in 1872-83 during Franz Joseph's reign by Friedrich von Schmidt, who was also responsible for the decoration and furnishings.
The symbol of the Town Hall is the "Rathausmann" on the top of the 98m/320ft high tower. This banner-carrying iron figure is 3·40m/11ft tall (6m/20ft including the raised banner) and weighs 1,800kg/4,000lb; it was the work of Alexander Nehr and was a gift from the master locksmith, Wilhelm Ludwig. The arcaded courtyard in the center of the building is the largest of the seven courtyards. Originally intended for assemblies, it is now the scene of the popular summer concerts. The tour of the Rathaus interior begins in the Schmidthalle, the former "Community Vestibule" into which carriages could once drive. Today it houses the Civic Information Office. The two Grand Staircases lead to the official rooms: the Assembly Hall (71m/233ft long, 20m/66ft wide and 17m/56ft high), two Heraldic Rooms, the City Senate Chamber and the "Roter Salon", the Mayor's reception room. The council chamber of the Vienna City and Provincial Assembly extends over two floors. Since 1922 Vienna, as the country's capital, has also enjoyed the status of a province and so the City Council is also a provincial body. Notable features of the chamber include the coffered ceiling decorated with gold-leaf and the Art Nouveau candelabra, weighing 3.2 tons and lit by 260 lamps, also the work of Friedrich Schmidt.