No matter how much you prepare yourself for it, your first glimpse of this square concrete bulk with its classical facade and escutcheoned gateways is a jaw dropper. Ceausescu infamously had a sixth of Bucharest flattened to make space for this project, and it kept 20,000 workers and 700 architects busy round-the-clock for 5 years during the main period of construction. Visiting the "House of the People," as it's known locally, is effectively to gaze at the physical manifestation of Ceausescu's unyielding attempt to monumentalize his regime. Visitors buy a ticket from the tiny souvenir shop at the entrance; be prepared to wait for an English guide to appear and initiate a thoroughly long-winded security check. The tour is fascinating: You'll wander through redundantly spacious Soviet-style halls, passageways, and ballrooms, eyeing as you go an eye-popping collection of hand-woven carpets, miles of silk drapery, and patterned walls, floors, and ceilings fashioned from a million cubic meters of marble and tons of oak and cherrywood -- all testament to massive squandering of the national coffers. Curiously, there is no air-conditioning (apparently Ceausescu had a phobia in this regard), and the building is still only 90% complete; hysterically, Ceausescu had a serious size complex; he had one of the stairways replaced several times because he found the steps too big for his little feet. By the way, don't believe all your guide tells you; one popular anecdote is that the balcony that looks toward Piata Unirii is where Michael Jackson greeted fans with the words "Hello Budapest"; Jackson actually performed at the National Stadium.
- © Frommer's 2013
Ask a local about Parliamentary Palace (Palatul Parlamentului)Locals have answered 32 questions about Bucharest.
Ask Bucharest Locals about Parliamentary Palace (Palatul Parlamentului)
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- Calea 13 Septembrie 1
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