Bucharest has numerous tourist attractions but some truly stand out as being the most famous and popular not just for the capital city, but for the entire country of Romania. The House of the People now known as the Palace of the Parliament is one of Bucharest’s emblematic structures and a reminder of the tense and disturbing bygone communist regime and it leader, Nicolae Ceausescu, that ruled in Romania for over half a century.
Before construction of the immense building could begin, a historical neighborhood filled with charming turn of the century Belle Epoque houses had to be demolished by the communist regime in charge, with thousands of families being transferred of forcibly removed. Once the old neighborhoods of Uranus, Antim and a part of Rahova were demolished work began on the mammoth 12 floor 84 meter high building.
The building itself has been criticized by many as a failure both in terms of its aspect as well as its functionality, however, the sheer size of the building is imposing to this day and is part of its popularity, along with the mysterious and tragic history of the Romanian dictator.
The designer of the building was Anca Petrescu, who was only 28 when work began. The House of the People was designed to house nearly all sections of the communist government, thus somehow justifying its immensity. Today, the building houses the Parliament of Romania, the Museum of Contemporary Art along with several other institutions while also offering a modern conference center. Even with the multi-purpose re-commissioning of this huge building the vast majority still remains empty with no clear solution being yet though out by the current administration of Bucharest.
While the building might not be a success in terms of functionality and architecture there are numerous elements that make touring it fascinating. The grand staircases and tones of marble give its huge hallways and conference rooms a majestic and impressive feel while the larger than life basement and parking facilities are equally impressive.
Tourists can also access the roof of the building. It offers a unique view over the historic and commercial center of Bucharest as well as some of the best photo opportunities in the city.
There are numerous public transportation routes that go by the building while the nearest metro station is the Izvor station. Prices range from 25 to 45 RON, depending if the basement and roof is included in the tour.