The biggest administrative building in the world is located in Bucharest, the capital city of Romania, and it is probably one of the most controversial edifices build in the recent history.
The building plan begun in the year 1978, after the great earthquake of 1977, when a great part of Bucharest – a city with an architecture that lasted since the pre-World War I period – had been knocked down by the seism. At that time, the incumbent president of Romania, the Socialist dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu, saw the destruction of Bucharest as an oportunity of renewal and “The House of the People” – as it is known by its original name – was considered the crown jewel of the Romanian capital. The chief architect was Anca Petrescu, a reputable architect who gained Ceausescu’s respect; she brought the project to an end and lead a team of as many as 700 architects and 20.000 workers.
Fun fact: speaking of Pharaohs, The Romanian Parliament is bigger then the Pyramid of Kepos in Egypt by two percent!
At that time, it was one of the most lavish and exorbitant buildings of the 20th century, as it represented about one-third of the country’s budget on a period of five years (in 2006, its costs have been estimated at around 3 billion Euros) and it implied great pecuniary and human endeavor.
There has been used a great deal of resources and materials, such as tones of marble, crystal, expensive wood essence, leather, glass and Romanian manufactured carpets and curtains that add to the elegance and exquisite furnishments.
The numerous conference halls of the Romanian Parliament Building have hosted countless events and meetings of the most important contemporary political figures and they are opened to the public eye almost every day (except for those days when official events take place), according to the visiting program.
There still is a lot of hard feeling around this building coming from some of the residents of Bucharest, as, to many of them, especially of older age, it represents a painful wound that reminds them of how Nicolae Ceausescu forced them to relocate from their elegant old mansions, in apartment buildings in different parts of the city, because the construction perimeter is settled on the area of the former bourgeois quarter “Uranus”, where everything was demolished from Ceausescu’s orders. We can conclude that every colossal masterpiece involves a great sacrifice.
The Romanian Parliament has 12 levels above the land surface – offering a spectacular view of the city – and eight levels underneath. Its substructure is also a subject of many urban myths, as it is believed that the hidden face of the building shelters a nuclear bunker and a net of mysterious catacombs that lead to secret escaping gates. But that is, of course, legend that adds to the remarkable character of the construction.
Whether it is true, or not, you can see it for yourself and reserve a day to visit the Romanian Parliament during the established program.