The construction of the People’s House or the Palace of the Parliament, in downtown Bucharest, began in 1980, after Nicolae Ceaușescu, the president of the country, ordered the „rebuilding” of Bucharest as a city in its own right, following the earthquake of ’77.
The Palace of the Parliament spans 365,000 square meters, measures 270 meters by 240 meters, 86 meters high and 92 meters below ground, having 9 levels above ground and another 9 underground. According to the World Records Academy, The Palace of the Parliament is the civil use administrative building with the second largest surface in the world, as well as the heaviest building in the world.
Approximately 20,000 people worked 24 hours a day in three shifts to build the Palace of the Parliament. But the construction of the People’s House has also destroyed dozens of destinies, as well as part of the country’s capital city.
We are talking about the Uranus area, which was demolished at Ceauşescu’s order, to make room for building the Palace of the Parliament. Dozens of villas and smaller houses were torn down, which also marked the end of a bohemian neighborhood whose disappearance has remained an open wound for its former inhabitants.
That neighborhood, however, was not the only monument to be obliterated so that the Palace of the Parliament could take its place in the center of Bucharest. Important churches, synagogues, the Brâncovenesc Hospital were also Ceauşescu’s victims. Over 9,000 buildings were torn down at the time, although the initial project demanded the destruction of 7,000 buildings in the center of the capital.
There are also a series of legends regarding the construction of the Palace of the Parliament:
It is said that the ceiling of the Union Room was supposed to open so that the presidential helicopter could land directly in the room.
The carpet in the Union Room is said to have been a single piece, brought into the room through the ceiling, using a crane.
There are rumors that Nicolae Ceauşescu wanted to create a metro line going straight from the Palace of the Parliament to the airport, so that they could be evacuated quickly in an emergency.
Legend also says that the Palace of the Parliament is haunted by the ghosts of those who have lost their lives on the construction site, and who turn on alarms, break seals and whistle.
The Palace of the Parliament is an extremely important tourist attraction, with different tours of the building’s rooms, the basement and also of the terrace, which has a view of the entire city of Bucharest. People can gain access to the Palace of the Parliament with an ID, and go through a checkpoint similar to that in an airport.
Today, 29 years after the Revolution, the building meant to be a construction extolling socialism, totalitarianism and communism, is a symbol of democracy, housing institutions such as: the Chamber of Deputies, the Senate, the Constitutional Court and the Legislative Council.