The Palace of Parliament in Bucharest is a monumental legacy of the executed dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and one of the largest and most magnificent buildings in the world.
The Parliament in Romania's capital Bucharest truly has the right to call itself a palace. It is one of the largest buildings in the world and holds first place among the largest buildings in Europe. The gigantic building has of course earned two top 10 places with us: it is one of the top 10 sights of Bucharest and is also part of the top 10 sights of Romania.
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PICTURES: Palace of Parliament in Bucharest
Palace of Records
The Palace of Parliament is the largest parliamentary building in the world, also the world's most expensive administrative building and the heaviest structure in the world. In the category of the largest administrative buildings, it is only beaten by the US Pentagon, which is almost twice as big.
Creation of the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest
ThePalace of Parliament was built under the dictatorial President Nicolae Ceausescu in the 1980s as the "House of the People". He wanted to unite his entire government in it and create a residence for himself. A certain resemblance to the French Palace of Versailles in Paris cannot be overlooked.
The tender competition for the design of the parliament was won by Anca Petrescu, then only 26 years old, shortly after completing her architecture studies. At the end of the 1970s, residential buildings with around 40,000 flats, over 20 churches and six synagogues had to make way for the gigantic project. The historic Mihai Voda monastery from the 16th century was not demolished after worldwide protests, but only moved a few hundred metres.
Groundbreaking and construction stop due to execution
In June 1984, construction began on themassive palace on Arsenal Hill, which was considered earthquake-proof. On Ceausescu's instructions, only local materials were used. Marble from Transylvania, cherry and walnut wood, crystal, bronze, gold and silver provided the magnificent interior.
The Parliament is considered to be in the neoclassical style, although it is hardly comparable with other neoclassical buildings. 20,000 workers and 700 architects worked around the clock for five years to complete it. The dictator cared little that the people had to starve to finance the astronomical construction costs.
After the political change and the execution of the president in 1989, people thought about what to do with Ceausescu's demonstration of power. The magnificent building, sarcastically called the "House of Victory over the People", was allowed to remain, but was renamed the "Palace of Parliament" ("Palatul Parlamentului") and partly not completed.
The Palace of Parliament today
Due to the lack of furniture, there is a lot of empty space in the palace and some floors are still under construction. Today, the Palace of Parliament serves as the seat of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. The back of the massive building has housed the Romanian National Museum of Modern Art and the Museum and Park of Totalitarianism and Social Realism since 2004.
The Palace of Parliament in Bucharest received international attention in April 2008 when it served as the venue for the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
Monstrous dimensions of the Palace of Parliament
The dimensions of the Palace of Parliament are breathtaking and beyond anything that has ever been seen. Its magnificent exterior, which is an unforgettable sight especially at night, continues in the splendour of its interior.
Marble staircases and columns, precious carpets weighing tons, gigantic crystal chandeliers, breathtakingly decorated halls, brocade and velvet curtains embroidered with gold and silver and spacious corridors underline the statement of British historian Tony Judt that the Palace of Parliament is "a monstrous metaphor for immoderate tyranny".
Visit to the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest
The Palace of Parliament is impressive to look at from the outside, but a guided tour of its interior is available by appointment (bring your passport!). Tours take time and last between two and three hours. They take you through the most beautiful galleries and halls as well as onto the balcony of the palace. At the end, you should also have some time for the souvenir shops and art exhibitions.
Tip: If you choose summertime for a visit, you can also stroll afterwards in the adjacent parks and along the magnificent boulevards leading to Arsenal Hill.
Facts about the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest
|Length: 275 metres|
|Width: 235 metres|
|Height: 86 metres|
|Floor space: 65,000 square metres|
|Palace area: 365,000 square metres|
|Height of the largest hall: 16 metres|
|Area of the largest hall: 2,200 square metres|
|Longest gallery: 150 metres|
|Estimated construction costs: 3.3 billion euros (40% of Romania's gross national product)|
|Annual electricity bill: just under 2 million euros|
|5,100 rooms, 30 of which are conference halls|
|12 floors, 4 of them underground|
|480 Crystal chandeliers|
|2,000 kilometres of electrical lines|