Wander through the extravagant and pompous rooms of this monstrous palace, which stands as a stark reminder of Romania’s troublesome communist years.
The Palace of the Parliament (Palatul Parlamentului) is the most recognizable creation of notorious dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu and a constant memory of Romania’s communist era. Begun in 1984 and still incomplete, the palace is one of the world’s largest government buildings. It stands 276 feet (84 meters) tall and has 12 floors and over a thousand rooms. Join a guided tour to appreciate the garish beauty of its interior and learn about its fascinating history.
Together with a knowledgeable guide, visit the multiple floors and painstakingly decorated rooms. Saunter through ballrooms, banquet halls and reception rooms and walk up grand staircases. Marvel at the embroidered carpets, handwoven drapes, patterned ceilings and sparkling marble floors. Admire glistening crystal chandeliers, which total 480 throughout the structure.
Step out onto an upper-floor balcony to enjoy views along Bulevardul Unirii, Bucharest’s equivalent of the Champs-Élysées. Another part of the tour takes you down into the palace’s musky basements.
Hear thought-provoking stories about the building’s development. It was designed as the centerpiece of the socialist-era Civic Center. Ceaușescu destroyed large parts of the city to make enough space for it. He employed 700 national architects and about 20,000 laborers, who worked meticulously day and night.
While here, be sure to visit the National Museum of Contemporary Art which puts on temporary audio, video, painting and sculpture exhibitions by both national and international artists. Previously featured artists include well-known Romanians such as Constantin Brâncuși and Ștefan Luchian.
Get to the palace easily via public bus, trams or the metro. The nearest metro station is Izvor. The palace is also just a 20-minute walk from the historic Lipscani neighborhood.
Tours of the Palace of the Parliament take place daily, although the schedule is subject to change due to government meetings. For this reason, it’s advisable to book in advance. Remember to bring your passport to gain entry to the building. The museum is open daily and admission is free. More information is available on the palace and museum’s official websites.