Romanian Parliament Palace, formerly the People’s Palace, built by Communist Party leader Nicolae Ceausescu, in Bucharest is colossal. After the Pentagon, its the second largest administrative building in the world; surface area of 330,000 square metres – volume of 2,550,000 cubic metres. It took 20,000 Bucharest – Parliament Palace workers and 700 architects to build the palace, which was overthrown in 1989. The palace boasts 12 stories, 1,100 rooms, a 328-ft-long lobby and four underground levels, including an enormous nuclear bunker:
A close up from the backside of the Palace.
Inside at the main entrance.
While in Bucharest last week, my wife and I had an hour long guided tour which took us through a small section of dazzling rooms, huge halls and quarters used by the Senate. The interior is a luxurious display of crystal chandeliers, mosaics, oak panelling, marble, gold leaf, stained-glass windows and floors covered in rich carpets. As always, I gladly take you with and share some of my pics (click to bigfy and enjoy!):
Some of the chandeliers have as many as 7,000 light bulbs
Our guides where very knowledgeable and made sure the tour kept a good pace but still made sure there was enough time for photograph taking:
The commentary is neutral in content; there is little reference to the reasons the Palace was built or to the engineering of this bizarre building. Instead it was a comprehensive list of the materials used, the skills of the craftspeople and the statistics that make this building quite unique:
The highlight for me was walking out onto the enormous balcony that overlooks Ceausescu’s attempt at recreating the Champs Elysee or “the Boulevard of the Victory of Socialism” as it was planned to be called. It is 3.2 kilometres long – that’s 6 metres longer than the Champs Elysees! Its right from this balcony the story says that when Michael Jackson stood here and addressed the thousands of fans below he proclaimed “Hello Budapest, I’m so glad to be here” (oops!).
Our visit to Bucharest was fascinating and we learned a lot about the culture, politics, and history of Romania. We met lots of nice Romanian people as well, that was possibly what impressed us most of all. This is the third post about our trip in Romania – here is the other two:
About our culinary adventure and Bucharest in Romania a city of architectural contrast.
So stay tuned to learn about the history, and the answer to why the country is called Romania!