Impressive. Colossal. Monstrous. The Palace of the Parliament was built by Romania’s communist leader, Nicolae Ceausescu, in 1983, in a time when he wanted to prove to the world that he was the best leader in the socialist block. He just wanted the biggest palace in the world.
It holds the Guinness World Book of Records for the Heaviest Building in the World. And also for the most expensive one. Isn’t it ironic how people were starving, but Ceausescu built the most lavish building on the planet? Maybe that’s why it was named the People’s House: because that’s where all their money were.
But that doesn’t stop Palace of the Parliament from sinking 6 millimetres per year because of its monumental weight. It was made with 1 million metric cubes of marble, 700K tonnes of steel and bronze, and 5 million metric cubes of concrete. The megastructure was built by 20.000 people, mostly soldiers – army was mandatory back then, and it was designed by a team of 700 architects, lead by a 28-year-old at the time architect, Anca Petrescu.There is no official record for the lives lost in the making of the gargantuan building. But there are many urban legends surrounding its human cost: people say that many workers were killed to preserve the secret hidings in the mammoth edifice.
1/5 of the city centre was wiped off the face of Earth for the construction of the massive building, and 40.000 people were moved in other parts of the city to make way for it.
The superstructure has 7000 rooms, and only 400 of them are used today. Ceausescu was afraid of a nuclear war, so the Palace of the Parliament has 2 antiatomic rooms, with thick walls made of concrete to keep the radiation out. There is a system of 20 kilometres of tunnels underneath the building made for a hypothetical escape of the leader. Famous British TV show “Top Gear” filmed one of their episodes in the catacombs underneath the impressive building:
Right after the Revolution of 1989 when the communists fell from power, in 1990, the American media mogul Rupert Murdoch offered to buy the Palace of the Parliament with 1 billion dollars but was refused. It is believed to be worth over 4 billion euros today.
Everything associated with the building is superlative: just the heating and the electrical bills amount to 6 million euros per year, without taking into account the maintenance or security of the megastructure.
The People’s House can be visited between the following hours:
- March – October, daily between 09:00 – 17:00 (last tour at 16:30)
- November – February, daily between 10:00 – 16:00 (last tour at 15:30)
It is advised to make a reservation before the tour by calling + 40 733 558 102 or +40 733 558 103.
- for the Standard Tour – 35 LEI/person
- for the Overview of the city – Terrace Tour (Access by Elevator) – 15 LEI/person
- for the Underground Tour (access only on stairs) – 10 LEI/person
- for the Standard Tour + Overview of the city – Terrace (Upper Floor Access by Elevator) – 45 LEI/person
- for the Standard Tour + Underground (access only on stairs) – 40 LEI/person
- for the Standard Tour + Overview of the city (Terrace) + Underground – 55 LEI/person
Admission fees for students (aged from 18-26, with a valid student ID card)
- for the Standard Tour – 18 LEI/person
- for the Overview of the city – Terrace Tour (Access by Elevator) – 8 LEI/person
- for the Underground Tour (access only on stairs) – 5 LEI/person
- for the Standard Tour + Overview of the city – Terrace (Upper Floor Access by Elevator) – 20 LEI/person
- for the Standard Tour + Underground (access only on stairs) – 19 LEI/person
- for the Standard Tour + Overview of the city (Terrace) + Underground – 28 LEI/person
- children under 7, pupils under 18 (who have their pupil card with them)
- people with disabilities (with documentary evidence) and accompanying person
Wheelchair access: recommended – by prior arrangement.
- Photo camera: 30 LEI
- Video camera: 30 LEI
- Access to the building is only permitted upon presentation of an original, valid national identity card or passport. This identification will be held at the security checkpoint for the duration of your visit. You will be presented with a visitors pass which must be clearly visible on your person at all times. Driver license or any other form of identification is not accepted.
There is a 25 minute walk distance between First Hostel and the Palace of the Parliament, or 1.6 kilometres.