The Palace of Parliament - Bucharest, Romania
A Place to Visit: Second Building in the World After Pentagon
Located in the historical and geographical center of Bucharest - Romania and well-known as The People's House, The Romanian Palace of Parliament from Bucharest is, according to Guinness Book of World Records:
- the world's largest civilian administrative building
- the most expensive administrative building
- the heaviest building.
It is the second biggest administrative building in the world, after the Pentagon building, the famous headquarters of the United States Department of Defense.
Now, beside being the headquarter of the Romanian Parliament, it is a tourist attraction. Visitors are coming from all over the world to see it.
But it was build as a result of the ambition of a dictator - Nicolae Ceausescu - who imposed to the Romanian people a lot of sacrifices.
A Place To Visit
Bucharest: 2nd Largest Building in the World - Michael Palin's New Europe - BBC
People's House - Short view of probably the most visited place in Bucharest
How Big It Is?
A few figures
- 2.55 million cubic meters volume - the third building in the world after the rocket assembly hangar at Cape Canaveral and Quetzalcoatl pyramid in Mexico; it has a bigger volume than the pyramid of Cheope in Egypt
- area of 330.000 square meters - second in the world after Pentagon building
- has a rectangular shape: 270 m (890 ft) by 240 m (790 ft) and 86 m high (282 ft)
- 12 levels above the ground
- 8 underground levels measuring 92 m (302 ft): 4 levels currently available for the general public and another 4 levels in different stages of completion
- 1,100 rooms, 2 underground parking garages comprising 440 offices and 10 conference and meeting halls (three halls between 1,000 and 1,500 square meters each, two halls of over 2,000 square meters each, two meeting halls with a capacity of 1,200 seats and respectively 850 seats)
- the biggest conference hall, Union Hall (Sala Unirii) is 16 m height and has an area of 2200 square meters
- in Union Hall there is the biggest chandelier in the Palace which weights 3 tonnes and has 7000 lighting bulbs.
Exterior of The PalaceClick thumbnail to view full-size
The Palace of The Parliament today
The Palace Today - Music: Gheorghe Zamfir
Planning and Building
Huge project unfolded over two political regims
People's House was built between 1984 and 1989 on Uranus Hill, after the plans of a Romanian group of 200 architects lead by a young architect, Anca Petrescu.
20.000 workers from all over the country joined forces in order to build the enormous building. They worked in three shifts, including weekends.
By the time of the Romanian Revolution (1989), when the communist regime was replaced with a democratic regime, only a few halls and the exterior of the building had been finished. Until 1997, when it became The Palace of Parliament, a big part of the building had been finished.
The building is almost entirely made of materials of Romanian origin: stone, wood and marble.
The interior decorations are also made in Romania, many of them designed specially for this project.
The structure combines elements and motifs from multiple sources, in an eclectic neoclassical architectural style.
Among materials used there are:
- one million cubic meters of marble from Transylvania (Ruschita)
- 3,500 tonnes of crystal - 480 chandeliers
- 1,409 ceiling lights and mirrors
- 700,000 tonnes of steel and bronze used for monumental doors and windows, chandeliers and capitals
- 900,000 m2 (9,700,000 sq ft) of wood, over 95% of which is domestic used for parquet and wainscoting (walnut, oak, sweet cherry, elm, sycamore maple)
- 200,000 m2 (2,200,000 sq ft) of woolen carpets of various sizes, the larger of which were woven on-site by machines installed into the building
- velvet and brocade curtains adorned with embroideries and passementeries in silver and gold.
The Architect of The Palace
After the big earthquake from 1977, when a lot of buildings were destroyed in the center of Bucharest, Nicolae Ceausescu started to think of the city reconstruction. Between 1978-1979 a national contest was held to choose the best idea. After 4 years, a young 28 years old architect, Anca Petrescu, was named chief architect of the most controversial project ever made in Romania.
They say she won the contest because she was the most obedient among all the participants.
Ceausescu was deeply involved in that project and he needed someone who listen to him, not someone with a bold personality.
History of The Palace
The idea of this project came after a visit of Nicolae Ceausescu in North Korea
It is the irony of fate that a building meant to be a symbol of a communist regime and inspired by similar North Korean buildings is now a symbol of a democratic regime.
The leader of the communist regime, president of the communist party, Nicolae Ceausescu, became in his last years a feared dictator.
The Palace intended to be on Ceausescu regime the seat of political and administrative power. Nicolae Ceausescu named it the House of the Republic (Casa Republicii), but many Romanians called it the People's House (Casa Poporului).
The idea to build the House of the Republic entered Ceausescu's mind after he visited his friend, Kim Ir Sen, the North Korean;s leader in 1971. His dream was to transform Bucharest in a political and administrative center similar to Phenian (North Korea's capital city).
Ceausescu laid the cornerstone on the 25th of June 1984 but the construction had began earlier, in 1983, without a final plan in place.
Ceausescu was involved in all the stages of the project. He supervised very close the architects' and constructors' work and took almost all the decisions, including those referring to the smallest details. He even didn't let the specialists do their work, using to give instructions to architects, constructors, and workers.
He took all the decisions after seeing the models. A lot of people worked to make models. Each visit of Ceausescu on the site was very carefully prepared and all the participants took notes during his speeches.
The construction of the Palace and of the surroundings avenues required to demolish a big part of Bucharest's historic district, including 19 Orthodox Christian churches, six Jewish synagogues, three Protestant churches, and 30,000 residences.
The site was unofficially opened in 1980 by demolishing over 7 square km of the old Bucharest center and the relocation of over 40.000 people who used to live in that area.
Eight churches were moved on a new place to be saved from demolishing.
25th of June 1984 - Ceausescu Laying the Cornerstone of the Palace - Ceausescu together with his wife, Elena
Bucharest Before People's House - Old center hit by demolitionClick thumbnail to view full-size
Some Particular Things About the Palace - The most controversial building in Romania
This huge building is one of the most extravagant and expensive building projects planned in the last century.
Claiming superlative as the world's second-largest building by surface area (after the US Pentagon), the Palace of Parliament is one of Romania's biggest tourist attractions, despite all controversies.
It was built using mostly Romanian resources. The only exceptions are the doors of one of the halls, 'Nicolae Balcescu', which are made out of mahogany wood. They were given to Nicolae Ceausescu as a gift by the president of Zaire, Mobutu Sese Seko.
Underground tunnels were planned to link neighborhood avenues with the basement of the building . It is said that Ceausescu had ordered to build bunkers under the building where he intended to hide in case of a revolution.
Until December 1989 when Ceausescu regime ended, the cost of the building amounted to 1,75 billion US dollars. In 2006, the total amount spent for the building was already closed to 3 billions US dollars.
Interiors and Decorations of the PalaceClick thumbnail to view full-size
Union Hall (Sala Unirii) - The biggest hall in the palace
Union Hall (Sala Unirii) is the biggest conference hall. It's height measures 16 meters and it covers an area of 2200 square meters.
There we can find the biggest chandelier in the Palace which weights 3 tonnes and has 7000 lighting bulbs.
This hall meant to be Ceausescu's main ballroom where he intended to celebrate the major events of the communist state.
The hall has a huge sliding roof through which can pass an helicopter. The big carpet covering the floor weights 14 tonnes and had been woven right on the place with machines made specially for it.
The carpet's area is 1100 square meters and the decorative elements are the same with those on the walls.
People's House - More about the palace
Visiting Palace's Underground
Bucharest's undergrounds - dating from a few centuries back are surrounded by a lot of legends and frightening stories.
Special Events On the Constitution Square, just in Front of the Palace - 10th of July 2011: Big Concert of Jon Bon Jovi
The big square in front of the palace became a traditional place for big concerts.
Amazing concert of Jon Bon Jovi, the first held ever in Bucharest. Three hours of great music in front of the Palace of Parliament.
Jon Bon Jovi in Concert in Bucharest - 10th of July 2011
One of the greatest concerts held in the Parliament's square
Jon Bon Jovi's show in BucharestClick thumbnail to view full-size
Lady Gaga in Concert, Bucharest, 16th of August, 2012 - On the Constitution Square, in Front of the Palace
The Palace of Parliament or The People's House - Bucharest, Romania
- World Records Academy: Largest administrative building-world record set by The Palace of the Romania
"The Palace of the Romanian Parliament has a floor area of 360,000 square meter -setting the world record for the largest administrative building (for civilian use*)"
- Panorama view
Panorama view of the Palace of Romanian Parliament
- The People's Palace: Ceausescu's Lasting, Loathed Legacy
"Meant to be the crowning achievement of 'Centrul Civic' or 'Civic Centre' - Communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu's ambitious urban development plan - the Palace of Parliament represents one of the most extravagant and expensive building projects in th
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