The Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest
The palace of the Parliament is a must see when you go to Bucharest. It’s the world’s second largest administrative building, after the Pentagon. It’s also the most expensive administrative building and the heaviest building in the world. And honestly, when you visit it, you understand why the palace of the parliament holds all this records!
The palace of the Parliament was originally called People’s House. Construction of the Palace began in 1984, on the initiative of Nicolae Ceausescu, Romanian dictator. His dream was to live in a tremendous palace (to show off), and to gather in this palace the presidency of the republic, the great national assembly, the council of ministers, and the supreme court. He didn’t have the opportunity to fulfill his dream, he was executed in 1989 not long before the end of the building.
But still, because of this palace, a lot of people worked really hard. About 600 architects and 20000 laborers worked on it, 40000 people were evicted and and rehoused, whole villages were also working on the project… After Nicolae Ceausescu’s death, the governement decided to finish the palace, since it was already too advanced, a lot of resources had been used, and a lot of money had been spent.
Visiting the Palace of the Parliament
So it’s now possible to visit the palace of the parliament, and to see the opulence in which Ceausescu wanted to live. They propose visits in romanian, english, french and italian. I took the one in english, they propose them on a regular basis (at least one every hour), and I had to wait almost two hours for the one in french. Moreover I didn’t want to be the only one with the french guide… There are three types of tickets :
- The standard tour for 35 lei (7 euros, or 8 US dollars)
- The standard tour + palace and terrace for 45 lei (9 euros, or 10 US dollars)
- The full tour (standard + palace and terrace + underground) for 55 lei (11 euros, or 12 US dollars)
Honestly, from what I could see, you get to see everything just with the standard tour ticket so it’s useless to take the full tour, and keep money in your pockets 🙂 Little detail I have to tell you, if you want to take pictures in the palace of the parliament with your camera, you have to pay an extra 30 lei (6 euros, or 7 US dollars). But with your phone, it’s free. I saw people taking pictures with their cameras, although they didn’t pay to do it. Actually, they don’t really pay attention, but I suggest you not to do it, who knows…
It’s not possible to visit the palace of the parliament if you don’t bring your ID. So, don’t forget to bring your passport. After paying, the reception takes all the passports. You’ll get it back before leaving. Then everybody goes through a security gate, just like the ones in airports. They don’t play! And then the visit starts.
Numbers, numbers, numbers…
The palace of the parliament, it’s a living area of 350000 meters square! It measures 270 by 240 meters, with a height of 86 meters. It has more than 1100 rooms, on 12 different floors. 140 of those rooms are actually offices. Almost all the materials used in the construction of the palace of the parliament come from Romania (cristal for the chandeliers, silk for the curtains…). The cost of the palace is unknown, but it’s been estimated at 4 billion US dollars.
During the 1990s, Donald Trump was interested in this palace, and he wanted to buy it. The idea was to buy, and turn it into the biggest casino in the world. But he declined when he was told that he could get the palace for 4 billion US dollars. Seeing how big this palace is, I totally understand the price! At the end of the visit, our guide told us we only covered 5% of the palace! You have to see it with your own eyes!