One-of-a-kind palace: The People’s House in Bucharest

Eva Poteaca | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Romania’s capital Bucharest has a lot of beautiful monuments, which are must-sees when you visit it, but none of them comes even close to the People’s House or the Palace of the Parliament because of its sheer size. This one-of-a-kind palace is the second largest administrative edifice in the world, after the Pentagon.

A bit of history

The People’s House was the main building from the Project Bucharest, a huge reconstruction plan for Romania’s capital, based on the social realism. The communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu took the advantage of the destruction caused by the earthquake in 1977 and set out to change Bucharest making it a replica of Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea. A contest for the construction was organized and won by architect Anca Petrescu, who was only 28 years old at that time. She was appointed a chief architect of the project made out of a team of 10 architects, which in turn had another 700 memebrs, under their coordination.

The construction of the People’s House began in 1984, on the site of the Uranus Hill, which was leveled along with the demolition of several monasteries among them the Văcărești Monastery. The National Archives and the Brâncovenesc Hospital were also the victims of the reconstruction project. In total, 7 km2 of the old town was demolished, and 40.000 people had to be relocated. It is said that almost 100.000 people worked 24/7, in three shifts, to complete the construction of the palace, which was not without accidents. An estimated 3.000 people died during the project.

Originally planned as a civic center of the capital, today the People’s House hosts the Chamber of Deputies and the Romanian Senate. Also, it houses a Regional SECI (Center for Fighting Transborder Crime), a restaurant used only by the politicians and the National Museum of Contemporary Art, for which a glass annex and exterior elevators were built.

The hard facts

The Palace of the Parliament has 12 floors (84 meters in height) and eight underground levels. The last of them is an anti-atomic bunker connected to other state institutions by 20 km of catacombs, and it comprises the main hall and several residential apartments. The whole building has a total of 1.100 rooms, of which only 400 are in use. The developed area of the palace is 365.000 m2, and it has 66.000 m2 of grounds. Because of its massive weight, the building sinks 6 mm every year. The People’s House is the world’s heaviest building. The cost of the palace was estimated at 1,75 billion dollars in 1989 and 3 billion euros in 2006.

The Palace of the Parliament or the People’s House in Bucharest is definitely one-of-a-kind palace, a great tourist spot with a lot of history and offers a spectacular view of the city from its roof. While visiting the capital, one shouldn’t miss the chance to see it.

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