The Palace of the Parliament and the residence of Nicolae Ceaușescu
As someone who has grown up in a socialist country, I am naturally interested in communism and Communist leaders in other countries. While in Bucharest, I had a guided tour to the Palace of the Parliament, a Communism themed tour in town and I visited the former residence of Nicolae Ceausescu.
The Palace of the Parliament, also known as People’s House, is the seat of the Romanian Parliament and the second largest administration building in the world, after Pentagon. Constructed over 13 years, the building is in Socialist realist style, mixed with modern Neoclassical architectural elements.
Ceausescu launched the project, after being inspired by his trip to North Korea. To implement it, a large section of the old town, including churches, residential buildings and factories, were destroyed and 40,000 people had to be relocated. Familiar story？
To this day, the state has not released the precise cost of the building. The common belief was 3 billion USD at the time or 6 billion in today’s term, which makes it the most expensive administrative building in the world.
Cost was obviously not the concern of the former dictator. His family’s mansion in Bucharest doesn’t look like so opulent from outside, but it houses 80 luxuriously rooms decorated with chandeliers, Murano glasses, marbles and paintings, as well as a swimming pool, a solarium, a cinema, a garden with exotic plants.
Oh, well, may his fate – being shot by fire squad on Christmas Day in 1989 – serves as a lesson to other dictators.