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Romania: Palace of Parliament

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Palace of Parliament | Romania | Europe

[Visited: March 2011 and several times before]

From outside, the building looks colossal, and it is, because it is the second largest building in the world in surface (the first being the Pentagon). To build it, 7000 houses, churches, monasteries, synagogues and a hospital had to be destroyed. Decoration of the palace is lavish, with marble and gold leafs recurrent materials; the building has some 4,500 chandeliers alone! An enormous workload of people (700 architects alone) constructed the building in just 4 years - pity that it did not help the Romanians much. In a way, justice was served because the Ceausescus did not live to see the building completed.

Picture of Palace of Parliament (Romania): Spacious stairs leading to another floor of the Palace of the Parliament

Inside, you can join a tour and the guide will tell you all kinds of details of the building that was supposed to house ministries, high functionaries, and Communist Party offices. It has been nicknamed Madman's house, but also, mistakenly, referred to as Ceausescu Palace although it was never his intention to use it as such. Nicolae had a serious problem and wanted everything to be bigger, longer, higher, wider. To achieve this, nothing was spared. All materials came from Romania, and some parts (notably, stairs) had to be rebuilt several times simply because the Ceausescu's were not happy. Of each set of stairs, the steps had to be designed according to the physical specifications of either Mrs. or Mr. Ceausescu. In the construction, the superiority of this sick couple was to come out clearly. At present, the building is being used as a Parliament Palace and for all kinds of gatherings.

Picture of Palace of Parliament (Romania): Sunlight coming in through large windows in a hall of the Palace

Although he was executed in 1989, Ceausescu has left a landmark building that is here to stay and to remind Bucharest of its grim recent history. For a few years, the Romanians were undecided about what to do with it, but the building was saved from demolition and is open to the public now. It is a must-see, to better understand the actual situation, and also to see where megalomaniacs can lead to. At least it is easy to find: it towers high above its surrounding area. The guide showing you around the palace has lots of figures ready; among these, the 3 million euro energy bill stood out as a good indication of the enormity of this monster. Where walking around the building could take you around half an hour, I had the idea I only saw a very tiny part of the Palace in the tour that lasted only an hour and a half. In the end, the question is, how long will this Palace survive, and what will its function be in the future?

Picture of Palace of Parliament (Romania): Looking at the Palace of the Parliament from the southeastern side
Picture of Palace of Parliament (Romania): One of the countless corridors with red carpet and marble columns
Picture of Palace of Parliament (Romania): Chandelier with decorations around it seen from below
Picture of Palace of Parliament (Romania): Glass ceiling with decoration in the Palace of the Parliament
Picture of Palace of Parliament (Romania): Chandelier seen from below
Picture of Palace of Parliament (Romania): Circular theatre inside the Palace of the Parliament
Picture of Palace of Parliament (Romania): One of the many halls in the Palace with wooden tables and enormous curtains
Picture of Palace of Parliament (Romania): Stairs and a glass ceiling in the Palace
Picture of Palace of Parliament (Romania): Chandelier above a hall with carpet, wooden doors, and marble walls
Picture of Palace of Parliament (Romania): Marble and huge chandeliers are very common in the Palace
Picture of Palace of Parliament (Romania): Heavily decorated ceiling in a hall in the Palace of Parliament
Picture of Palace of Parliament (Romania): One of the many halls in the vast Palace
Picture of Palace of Parliament (Romania): Palace seen from the Bulevardul Unirii

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