Get stunning insights from a unique vantage point !
These are major tourist attractions, even if they host public institutions.
Parliament Palace in Bucharest – the most grandiose administrative edifice of Europe – best represents the “communist legacy”.
Found in the top of the most beautiful palaces in Romania, it has become one of the city’s emblems.
Explore the second largest administrative building in the world
But the works started only in 1984, during the communist regime led by Nicolae Ceausescu.
The dictator president who ordered it named it the Republic House, but many Romanians call it the People House.
In 1974 when Ceausescu couple visited New York, by chance, architect Budisteanu was Elena’s guide.
She didn’t like him.
At that time Nicolae Ceausescu was still against demolitions.
But 3 years later, in march 1977, an earthquake partially destroyed Bucharest and he changed his mind.
So the dictator decided to reconstruct the city after the plans from 1935.
”If the Americans can, we can too” he said referring to Arsenal neighborhood (nowadays the Parliament Palace).
And because the couple preferred the already known people, Mr. Budisteanu became Chief Architect of the capital (for the next 6 years).
If someone told Nicolae Ceausescu “This is not good”, he was always answering “It must”.
For this reason, Chief Architect used to say to him “How about trying…?” in order to obtain the approval for the best solution.
The dictator wanted Romanian architecture not cubism and so on.
He considered that Bucharest lacks palaces, this being the reason for the House of People appearance.
And this was meant to be the central element of Ceausescu’s communist Bucharest.
He named it the “Victory of Socialism Center”.
The dictator didn’t realized but this was the beginning of Ceausescu’s regime downfall.
Listen great stories about Parliament Palace right within its halls
In order to make room for the House of People, communists entirely demolished one of the capital’s oldest neighborhood.
They razed thousands of homes for the monolith and relocated 40,000 people living in that area.
Then, People’s House became the largest building site in Bucharest.
So large, so busy, so important…
One thing is for sure: if you want your coffee on top of this stunning palace, don’t stay in line.
We know the other entrance 😉
Completed in 1997, People House measures 270 x 245 m, 84 m height and 16 m depth.
It has a total area of 365,000 sq m – 1,000 sq m for each day of a year.
And it has over 1,100 rooms spread on 11 floors above ground and 3 underground.
It also includes an anti-atomic bunker.
According to Guinness World Records, this is the world’s:
– second largest administrative building (after Pentagon) and
– the first largest civilian one.
The absolute largest palace in the world is also the world’s most expensive administrative building.
The palace’s total value before 1994 was USD 4 billion.
Having 1,000,000 m3 of marble it is the world’s heaviest one too.
During the 2 hours guided tour of the palace you roughly see 5% of it.
By the way, would you ever imagine that its debris would be higher than the pyramid of Keops ?
Romanian artistry quintessence
Reflecting the artistry of Romanian architects and artisans, it overflows with marble, crystal and lavishly furnished rooms.
They used almost exclusively local materials.
Despite the sayings this is a 100% Romanian project, it has a hall covered in mahogany !
This was a gift from Mobutu SeSe Seko (President of Congo) who some says was a cannibal.
Former communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu imported silkworms from China.
And pupils had to feed them as school project.
This was in order to produce the silk necessary to decorate some of his palace walls.
Silk curtains were made in Sighisoara.
The mirror marble stairs at the palace main entrance are similar with those at Hermitage Palace in St. Petersburg.
Each of the marble stairs – redone 6 times – have 65 steps up to the next floor.
This is because the dictator became president of Romania in 1965.
They also say these have the height of Nicolae Ceausescu’s ankle to not get tired climbing them.
Ceausescu’s regime designed the palace as the seat of political and administrative power and nearly completed it.
Built for Presidency, Parliament and Government, this multi-purpose building houses the Romanian Parliament, Senate and Chamber of Deputies.
Its halls vary in size from 100 to 2,600 sqm.
This makes it one of the most impressive and generous conference centers in Europe.
Visit the creation of no less than 20,000 workers and 700 architects !
If you are lucky you will visit even the Pink Hall.
This is not usually open to public being kept for official meetings.
Pink marble is found only in Romania, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Mexic.
The one used here is Romanian and they brought it from as far as Ruschita in Western Carpathians.
Rosetti Theatre Hall has the biggest chandelier.
But they forgot to built the backstage so it never served as theater.
Human Rights Hall had to have 61 seats 1 golden for him under Romania’s map.
Al. I. Cuza Hall – meant for contracts signage – resembles to the Throne Hall within Winter Royal Palace.
This is the second largest hall and with its 92 m height is the highest one.
(The largest hall has 2200 sq m.)
Opposite to the gold leafed eagle and Romania’s coats of arms there is a space for the orchestra he wished to keep him calm.
From its balcony Ceausescu wished to keep his speeches in front of the people gathered in the Constitution Square.
But the only VIP who ever kept a speech from the balcony was Michael Jackson.
That was during the 1993 Dangerous World Tour, when he said “Hello, Budapest I am so glad to be here !”
The winning project belonged to a team of Romanians and Americans.
They were proposing to hide People House with sky scrapers and winding streets.
As you can see this was never put into practice.
Some say Donald Trump wanted to buy the building to transform it into a casino.
Meant to be a living monument to the dictator, it was never truly completed nor lived !
In 1996 the famous Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci held her wedding party here.
For several years the actress Leslie Hawke organized the Halloween Charity Ball here.
In 2002, Costas Gavras – the famous Greek movie producer – wanted to film Amen within Vatican.
Vatican refused, so he shot the scenes of the papal palace in the Parliament Palace which looks very similar.
They only had to add on the walls paper photos of real paintings within Vatican.
In 2008, NATO summit was also hosted within its walls.
Notes- Address: Str Izvor 2-4 (entrance through the gate from Izvor Park, parking in the courtyard)
– Opening hours, tariffs & visiting rules
– Appointment shall be reconfirmed by phone (if made online) / done on the visit day between 09:00 – 10:00.
– Tours organized every hour; first tour in English usually starts after 10:00 / 10:30.
– You have to inform if you wish the tour for morning or afternoon in order to find out the available timings.
– English timings are set upon large travel agencies.
– Arrival 15 minutes in advance is compulsory (to avoid automatically cancellation of your reservation)
– Payment in cash in RON on the day of visit.
– Original, valid national identity card or passport exclusively and compulsory for access (which can be denied if events are hosted).
Identification papers will be held at the security checkpoint for the duration of your visit.
You will be presented with a visitor pass which must be clearly visible on your person at all times.
See you all back here soon for more tips, picked expressly for you.
Meanwhile feel free to address me any question you might have about Romania.
And to share this with anyone who might find it useful or interesting 😉
Happy tours !