This imposing building in the centre of Bucharest in Romania has a dark history but bright further now that it is home to democracy. Massive, heavy, costly, this building impresses in many ways. It costs as much to heat as a small city and over half of its rooms are unfinished and lay empty despite construction stating on the building in the 1980s. Curious to know more? Here are some of the most interesting facts about the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest, Romania.
7 Interesting Facts About the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest, Romania
1. The Palace of the Parliament is in Bucharest
The Palace of the Parliament goes by many names. At first, it was the House of the Republic, however, after the Romanian Revolution officials renamed it the People’s House (Casa Poporului). When it became the seat of the Parliament of Romania it was renamed the Palace of Parliament. People also call it the Republic’s House or People’s Palace. In Romanian, it is called Palatul Parlamentului. You’ll find it on top of Dealul Arsenalului, a hill in central Bucharest, the capital city of Romania.
2. It took 13 years to build the People’s Palace
Nicolae Ceaușescu, the then-president of Romania, ordered the construction of the building as part of his Project Bucharest plan to redesign the city as a replica of the North Korean capital, Pyongyang. His centrepiece was The Palace of the Parliament. Workers began construction of the building on 25 June 1984. It took 13 years to build The Palace of the Parliament. Construction finished in 1997.
3. The Palace of the Parliament is sinking
The Palace of the Parliament boasts some impressive stats. In terms of measurement, the building is 84 meters (276 ft) high, 240 metres long and 270 metres wide. It has 12 floors above ground and extends 92 metres below ground level. With a total volume of 2.55 billion cubic metres, it is one of the world’s most massive buildings and with a floor area of 365,000 square metres (3,930,000 sq ft), it is the third-largest administrative building in the world. Only the Pentagon in the United States and the Sappaya-Sapasathan in Thailand are bigger. The most impressive fact about the Palace of the Parliament is that it is the heaviest building in the world. It weighs about 4,098,500,000kg (9.04 billion pounds; 4.10 million tonnes) and due to its weight, it sinks about 6 millimetres (0.24 inches) each year.
4. The People’s Palace has over 1,000 rooms
Over 700 architects worked on the construction. It has 23 sections and 1,110 rooms. Of which, just two large meeting rooms and 400 other rooms have been decorated. The rest are unfinished and many are also unused. The materials for the building are almost exclusively from Romania, apart from the doors of Nicolae Bălcescu Hall. The authoritarian President of Zaire, Mobutu Sese Seko gifted these to Nicolae Ceaușescu. In the building’s construction, workers used 3,500 tonnes of crystal, 700,000 tonnes of steel and bronze and 1,000,000 cubic metres of marble.
5. The Palace of the Parliament costs a lot
Nicolae Ceaușescu spared no expense during the construction of the People’s Palace. In 1989, experts estimated the building costs at US$1.75 billion. By 2006 this had risen to US$3 billion and in 2008 it was $3.4 billion. As of 2020, the Palace of the Parliament is valued at €4 billion. This makes it the most expensive administrative building in the world. Per year, the cost of gigacalories and electric lighting alone exceeds US$6 million per year.
6. There are secret tunnels underneath the People’s Palace
The deepest underground level of the People’s Palace is where you’ll find Ceausescu’s anti-atomic bunker. This enclosure has 1.5-metre-thick concrete walls and there is about 20km of tunnels that connect the Palace with other important buildings and places in the city, for instance, the Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Interior in Revolution Square.
7. Thousands of people died during construction
Officials estimate that it took between 20,000 and 100,000 people to construct the People’s House in Bucharest. However, over 3,000 people lost their lives during the building’s construction.