Romania | EUNewsletter

Palace of the Parliament

Bucharest was called “Paris of the Balkans” until the second half of the 20th century, since the ornate buildings, castles and large avenues reflected French architecture of the 19th century. The most ambitious project in the second half of the 20th century was former President Nikolae Ceauşescu’s Palace of the Republic, which was constructed in the 1980s and later renamed the Palace of the Parliament. The country’s leaders decided this Palace should be the historical centre of Bucharest: a number of historical monuments, dozens of monastery complexes, synagogues and protestant churches were destroyed to clear land for the building’s construction. The Palace took five years to build and today it is the world’s second largest civilian administrative building after the Pentagon in the USA. The building’s floor space is 350,000 square metres its 92 metres. It has 12 storeys, 1,100 rooms and 8 underground rooms. The Palace exceeds the volume of the Pyramid of Cheops by 10%. Since 1989 the Palace has housed the State Parliament, with the Romanian Senate joining it there in 2004. Glass lifts operate in the building to facilitate tourists’ access to the National Museum of Contemporary Art. The palace boasts an exclusive, top-class restaurant which caters only for politicians. Alongside its brilliance and size, the building evokes conflicting opinions: as the world’s second-largest civilian administrative building, it is also rated among the “ugliest” buildings in the world.