The most expensive and the second largest administrative building in the world (after the Pentagon) – a symbol for Ceausescu’s communist regime (and his god-like rule), with over 1000 rooms. To achieve it Ceausescu cleared a whole quarter of the city – houses, churches, monasteries, offices, shops etc all came tumbling down. Ceausescu never saw it finished and the new government only completed the building in the 1990′s because all the materials had already been bought and were in storage.
Whatever you might think about its history, you have to admire the craftsmanship in the marble, joinery, metalwork, chandeliers, and the immense carpets, though the builders seemed to have forgotten about waterproofing and about galvanising iron straps and bars in the external walls, which are already rusting, showing iron stains and causing problems, including damp penetration from the terrace – it does rain in Bucharest as I found out one evening with a thunderstorm. A building of this size is going to be expensive to maintain, but Ceausescu doesn’t have to worry about that.
The lower floor/visitor entrance is a vast empty space so what do you do with it? To the Parliament’s credit they are using it for exhibitions of Romanian art.
The first floor balcony provides a view that Ceausescu never saw, with the grand avenue running down from the Palace, either side of which were are governments ministries constructed in a Spanish holiday resort style of architecture.
A triumph of Romanian craftsmanship, but a lesson to everyone who seeks to be remembered with grand new building projects – they leave the next generation with the problem of maintaining them.