Bucharest’s Palace of the Parliament
Well, I have officially been inside the two largest building in the world. The largest building in the world is the Pentagon and the second largest is The Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest. The building has many functions, but it was originally designed to serve the former dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu. The palace now serves as a multi-purpose building which hosts parties, wedding, and also both chambers of the Romanian parliament.
I was a bit aprehensive to take the tour of the building. I figured I would simply walk around the building and take some photos and move on, but I reminded my self that the building is part of Romania’s history and also its future and I had to see the interior.
I arrived at the parliament from old town and I quickly became confused on where to find the entrance. The perimeter of the building is massive. Sadly, there were no signs that pointed me in the right direction. Therefore, I saw a gate open (picture below) and began to walk up the drive way. I was suddenly stopped by armed guards who pointed me in the right direction. So, if you get lost too, just asked the armed guards where to go.
There are several options for the tour and I selected option four which is a palace tour plus the balcony view and rooftop view. The cost was 40 Lei plus another 25 Lei to take photos. Sadly, several people who did not pay the fee for the photos were snapping away the entire length of the tour, which was one hour thirty minutes. Our tour guide was very informative and knowledgeable, but she did not enforce the photo rule. I asked for my money back for the photo fee at the end of the tour and was given an aggressive no.
The Palace of the Parliament was completed in 1997 which was eight years after Ceausescu’s execution. The interior of the building at the time of his death was not completed. According to our guide, the Romanian leader’s at the time estimated that 1.6 billion dollars had already had been invested into the building so they decided to move forward and complete it. The building was finally completed at a coast of 3 billion.
I was very impressed with the theatre. The chandelier is the largest in the building and is made mostly of crystal from Transylvania.
Many of the the halls of the palace are decorated with white marble and gorgeous red rugs. Due to the size of the building, there is no air-conditioning. The cost would have been overwhelming so the building is naturally ventilated. The natural ventilation does cause some problems though. Our guide informed us that yellow spots are starting to appear on the marble due to the humidity. She also informed the group that the only way to remove the stains is with a chemical solution which is not cheap.
The Romanian parliament only utilizes 30% of the building which leaves a lot of empty space. The government has become creative and began renting rooms to the public. For example, the room above had recently been utilized for a wedding reception.
Our tour continued through the doors pictures above and we made our way towards the large banquet hall.
The large banquet hall is enormous. The rug that was designed for the large room weighs two tons. Our guide also informed us that the large hall can host over 2,00o people.
We eventually made our way back to the staircase and went up to the second level where the balcony is located. The balcony was designed by Ceausescu so he could deliver his speeches to the people. However, he was never able to give a speech from the new building. His last speech was given at Revolutionary Square. It was this speech where Romanians began to boo him and soon after the speach he was captured and executed along with his wife.
It was from this balcony that former entertainer, Michael Jackson, yelled to thousands of screaming fans, “Hello Budapest!” Fail.
Our tour ended on the rooftop. From here you can see most of Bucharest. A new Orthodox cathedral is being build near the parliament and its spire should equal the height of the parliament. The completion of the cathedral is not known.
Overall, I am glad I decided to take the tour of the Palace of the Parliament. Our guide Amanda, was well informed, funny, and very knowledgeable on the history of not only the building but Romania.
If you took the tour, what are your thoughts? Please share them below.
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