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People's Palace

communist megalomania

bucharest peoples palaceIn the heart of Bucharest, where once there was a whole city quarter, the former communist leader of Romania, Nicolae Ceausescu, raised the imposing People's Palace. It is considered to be the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon. The exterior dimensions are: 800 feed wide x 750 feet long and 250 feet high. Rumors say that there are up to 9 subterranean levels, highway and subway connections as well as a connection to Dambovita river. Officially, there are two levels below ground and an atomic bunker. In his megalomania, Ceausescu intended to use this building as official seat of the communist party, of all the ministries and official offices. Nobody actually knows how much the construction cost, as it was build mainly by political prisoners and soldiers. Within only 5 years (between 1984 and 1989) he managed to finish the building within 90% on the exterior and about 40% on the interior. Since the revolution of 1989, the democratic governments did not manage to finalize his word, despite the fact that it is using the construction as seat of the bicameral Romanian parliament as well as for several national and international fairs and conferences. Fact is that all the materials used for the construction are pure Romanian, gathered from all parts of the country: crystal from Medias, carpets from the monasteries, wood from Maramures etc. The construction has over 1100 rooms (from which only half can be used as conference rooms), a central lobby with a length of about 300 feet, over 4500 chandeliers (from the initially 11000 planned), miles of carpets and tons of marble. Over 700 architects under the guidance of a 29 year old main architect participated at this project and gave the construction the shape we can admire today in Bucharest city center.

Some people admire this huge construction, other pity the workers or Ceausescu, other ones are aroused by it's sometimes brutal forms - either way, it is something worth visiting and unique in the world indeed.


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