The Palace of the Parliament is located in central Bucharest. It is one of the most emblematic landmarks of Romania and the seat of the Romanian Parliament. The palace has three entries in the Guinness World Records because it is currently the second largest administrative building in the world, after the American Pentagon. Also with other American buildings, it holds the title of one of the biggest buildings in the world, exceeding 2 million m3 in volume and 300,000 m2 in surface and 80m in height. Regarding the Palace of the Parliament weight, the Palace is the number one heaviest building in the world.
Despite this construction of astronomic proportions housing the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, as well as three museums and a conference center, more than half of it is empty. Nonetheless, only heating and lighting exceed an annual cost of 6 million euro.
The reason this building was raised is Dictator Nicolae Ceausescu’s wish of reconstructing the capital. The People’s House, as he named it, was the center of Project Bucharest that Ceausescu began in 1978, after he was impressed by visiting the North Korean capital. The actual construction of the palace began in 1984, with Anca Petrescu as the chief architect. However, under her there were other 700 subordinate architects and an unknown number between 20,000 and 100,000 of forced workers.
Before the existence of People’s House, on the same ground, there were several monasteries, a hospital, dozens of factories and the National Archives, which were all demolished.
After the revolution of 1989 it changed its name to the current Palace of the Parliament. It now nests the Senate and Chamber of Deputies, the National Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of the Palace and the Museum of Communist Totalitarianism. This makes it highly worth sightseeing.
The Palace is still not finished to this day, although Ceausescu planned for the construction to last only 2 years. It was supposed to have 1,100 rooms on 12 levels, but in present time, only 400 of them are finished and under usage. Amazingly, the building also has 8 underground levels, which measure more than the seen height. Built in a much reinterpreted neoclassical style, it contains staggering numbers of materials, such as 3,500 tons of crystal or 700,000 tons of steel.
The Palace of the Parliament interior contain hundreds of chandeliers and lights, enormous doors and windows, all-marble halls and rooms, velvet and brocade curtains, gold and silver dispersed all over.
Although Ceausescu tried to minimize costs by forced labor and Romanian-only manufacture, the building is estimated to have cost 1.75 billion dollars. However, after a business man intended to buy it for 1 billion dollars, the Palace of Parliament was re-estimated to a value of 3 billion euro.
Whereas some consider it a somber monument, it is undeniable that it is the best representation of what Romania underwent during its communist period. Due to its immense physical, historical and even psychical stature, it will forever remain highly visited.