7 square km of demolished buildings and over 40,000 people displaced just to make room for The Palace of the Parliament in old Bucharest.
Did you know that Romania has the second largest building in the world, after the Pentagon?
There’s no way you can miss this imposing building, even if you’re only passing through Bucharest, Romania’s capital, either due to its squeaky eclectic style, or perhaps due to its incredible dimensions.
The Palace measures 270 m by 240 m; 86 m high and 92 m below ground level. Astonishing - a building which is taller underneath the ground, we’re talking about 12 floors above level zero, and about eight, underneath (plus foundation and parking lots).
The construction of the Palace began in 1983 under the Ceauşescu regime and was designed as a symbol of political and administrative power. After its finalization, the presidential couple was going to move in this posh residence (that 26 years later is still about 15-20% unfinished).
Some bewildering statistics:...
3,500 tonnes of crystal
700,000 tonnes of steel and bronze
200,000 m² of woolen carpets (the largest one weights about 4 tonnes and has 600m²)
1,000.000 cubic meters of marble
5,500 tonnes of cement
7,000 tonnes of steel
20,000 tonnes of sand
1,000 tonnes of basalt
The amount of wood and other materials used for constructing this huge building, propelled the Palace of Parliament to become the heaviest administrative construction in the world. In 2006 the building was estimated at 4 billion dollars, becoming the most expensive building in the world as well.
The Palace of the Parliament on Arsenal Hill - the very downtown of Bucharest - was designed by a group of 400 architects coordinated by Anca Petrău, a young lady whose age was just 28. The building was part of a very ambitious project started by Ceaușescu family, after visiting North Korea's Kim II-sung in 1972. Ceaușescu's desire was to make The 'People's House' the largest personal residence and most lavish palace in the world.
In the 80’s, over 7 km² of buildings from the historic district were demolished for this humongous construction. It is said that 19 Orthodox Christian churches, six Jewish synagogues, three Protestant churches and over 30,000 residences were wiped out to make room for the administrative and political center.
Its original name was 'House of the Republic', given by Ceaușescu himself, but its popular name is The House of the People – or The People’s House. Today, the luxurious Palace is used for a wide variety of purposes: it hosts the Chamber of Deputies, the Romanian Senate and lots of public offices. Also, the 30 conference rooms can be rented for about 2,000 euros. In the basement there is a large sports facility, a swimming pool, and also a anti-atomic bunker that was going to be connected to the Bucharest subway. The People's House also hosts the National Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC), but watch out: the Museum is on the opposite side of the the touristic entrance of the Palace, so save yourself over 20 minutes of walking around the building. A huge percentage of the Palace is not in use.
In '92 Michael Jackson was the first celebrity to have used the balcony to address an enthusiastic crowd, making one of the most classic goofs (when saying): I LOVE BUDAPEST!
Walking around the palace will take an eternity - but it's really worth taking a taxi, because otherwise it will take you over 40 minutes to walk around it.
Address: Palatul Parlamentului, 2-4 Izvor, sect.5, Bucureşti Telephone: 021 402 14 28 Program: Guided Tours are available daily between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m, in several languages, but you may have to wait 10-20 minutes to get allocated to a group.
Text: Emma Mocan
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