Bucharest’s Parliament Building, The Mastership Of A Dictator
Bucharest is the capital city of Romania, being the largest city of the country and the most important center for politics, economics, education, culture and administration. With over 2 million inhabitants, the city is working its way up to become a true European metropolis.
With its new National Arena and the renewed “Grigore Antipa” Natural History Museum, Bucharest is called by many the “Little Paris” and it seems day after day that it deserves this naming. But there is one thing that will leave you without words in Bucharest: the thing that Nicolae Ceausescu referred to as a house.
It is the second largest administrative building after the Pentagon (in surface) and the third largest (in volume) after Cape Canaveral and the Great Pyramid in Egypt. It has 12 stories over ground (86 meters) and 8 stories underground (92 meters) and an immense anti-nuclear bunker. Number of rooms is also impressive: 1100, from which 440 offices, 30 halls, 4 restaurants, 3 libraries and a concert hall.
The former dictator Nicolai Ceausescu (communist party leader from 1965 to 1989 when he was executed after a swift trial) ordered in his megalomaniac vision to have a boulevard wider than Champs Elysees and a “palace” to host all the administration of the party. The idea started in 1978 after Ceausescu saw the capital of North Korea, Pyongyang.
Construction began in 1981 and it was finished in 1988. Interiors continued to be furbished later on, and still now there are large amounts of public money that goes into maintaining and refurbishing the large halls and offices inside. Estimated cost of building is 3 billion EUR.
The building hosts the Romanian Parliament, with its two chambers, The Senate and The Chamber of Deputies and some conference and exhibition halls, on the left side.
The entrance for the guided tour is on the right side. One can expect some queue or not, depending on the amount of tourists coming that moment. If you are alone or just a couple and you see big coaches in front and a lot of people waiting for an entry ticket you might plan to postpone the visit.
Ticket price for a complete tour is 45 RON (around EUR 11). Additional tax for taking pictures annoying of course, are needed. A tour might take from 1 and 1/2 hours to 2 and 1/2 hours. All tours are guided; there is no “tour line” like in a museum, so you have to stay close to the guide.
The visit is interesting; you will visit some of the large halls, marble stairs and offices. An interesting point in the tour is the balcony to the boulevard where Ceausescu used to address to the people.