Sunday, 3 August 2008

Palace of the Parliament, Bucharest, Romania

Whilst most of Romania was suffering under strict rationing, former tyrant Nicolae Ceauşescu decided that the best use of the funds at his disposal would be to build an enormous palace. In 1984, construction began on the building, which is 10% bigger than the Great Pyramid at Giza in Egypt, and it still hasn’t quite finished.
Entire suburbs of Bucharest (approximately a fifth of the old city) were torn down to accommodate it and the surrounding plazas, and the only bigger government building in the world is the Pentagon in the United States.
Unsurprisingly, the House of the People (as it was then ironically known) was regarded with contempt by the poverty-stricken population, and it was nearly pulled down during the 1989 revolution for symbolising the regime. To destroy it would have been even more wasteful than building it in the first place, though, and Ceauşescu’s folly was saved.
The palace is open for tours in several languages daily, and inside you’ll find one of the most elaborately decorated interiors in the world. Amongst the paintings, sculptures and gold-tassled curtains you’ll find over a million square metres of Transylvanian marble and 200,000 square metres of carpet.
The palace now houses the Romanian Parliament as well as many other organisations.

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