The Palace of Parliament is the world’s second-largest administrative building (after the Pentagon) and former dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu’s most infamous creation. Started in 1984 (and still unfinished), the 330,000-sq-metre building has more than 3000 rooms. The Palace, also known as the Republic's House (Casa Republicii) or People's House (Casa Poporului), is the seat of the Parliament of Romania, located atop Dealul Spirii in Bucharest, the national capital.
The palace harnesses a history that makes it pivotal to look at. One of the finest political structures in the world, there’s so much that we turn a blind eye on. Whether we talk about the communist and dictatorial background or the architectural intensity showcased in the palace, there would be something left out because that is how special this is.
When its construction began in the early 1990s, Romania was going through extreme poverty. In an area where power cuts were a daily occurrence and rationing of basic goods was commonplace, Ceauceșcu destroyed or relocated hundreds of buildings both residential and religious to make room for his Communist stronghold. This forced thousands of people to suddenly uproot their families and move into often smaller residential areas.
A little traumatic but renowned names like the Taj Mahal weren’t built with flowers and candy either. If you haven’t heard the stories, a quick glance would tell you the hardships the thousands of slaves faced under the Mughal ruler Shah Jahan. Their hands were cut off so another Taj Mahal could not be built. Isn’t this similar to what we see in the making of this Palace?
At the end of the day, the people around the testament will suffer whether it be a dam meant for overall development or a monument meant for beautification. The beautiful illustrated walls you see hide a ton of harrowing stories and it just takes a curious mind to find out more about these stories.
I decided to include a few statistics primarily because most of the prestige this palace holds stems from the eye-catching numbers! The Palace reaches a height of 84 metres (276 ft), has a floor area of 365,000 square metres and a volume of 2,550,000 cubic metres. The Palace of the Parliament is the heaviest building in the world, weighing about 4,098,500,000 kilograms (weird thing for a building but damn)!
If you were in the midst of building your tour plan post COVID’19, the Palace of Romania is an inexorable item. Entry is through guided tours only and entry to the palace is from B-dul Naţiunile Unite on the building's northern side (to find it, face the front of the palace from B-dul Unirii and walk around the building to the right). Bring your passport! Today, the building houses the country's parliament and associated offices – though much of it stands unused. The stories behind the construction, the vast corridors and the hundreds of pulchritudinous paintings give you all the reason to go to Romania today (or maybe after you’re vaccinated)!
As I come to the conclusion of this piece, I want to point out that this palace has always been interesting to me because despite the history behind it, it represents what political hierarchies can achieve (pessimistically speaking). The urge that mankind has to leave a mark gives you a chance to truly understand what some people call, human psychology.
This building serves as a token for what Romania had been through and sends a very beautiful message across. Beauty isn’t always surrounded by beauty and beauty is often a cover for the big, ugly, (maybe) chaotic picture behind.
It has been said that the building would be converted into a shopping mall making it the world’s largest and in turn providing aid to this suffering economy. However, only time will tell what will become of the gargantuan building. For now it continues to be a hotspot for tourists, celebrity appearances and events, and it stands as an international spectacle of what has been overcome.
Teshi Sharma is a debater, blogger and absolutely loves traveling. She prides herself on her cooking skills, having received a great response from her smoke alarms. Her hobbies also include reading, spoiling movies/series and being sarcastic. You can find her on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and on her Blog.