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The People’s House

Years ago, in 1971 to be precise, when Nicolae Ceausescu embarked on a tour of East Asia, one of the countries on his itinerary was North Korea. Of course, where else could he go?
It is the heaviest building in the world, sinking by a few millimeters each year.

And so impressed was he with the scale of the government buildings and mass adulation that the North Koreans showered on their revered leader, that megalomaniac that he was, decided to head back to Bucharest and implement these policies for the betterment of the Romanians.

He started with Project Bucharest – which intended to develop Bucharest on the lines of Pyongyang in 1977. Not satisfied, he decided to work on his dream project, the Casa Poporului. So much irony when it never belonged to the people.

The parliament was meant to have all the government offices under one roof.

He moved swiftly. In 1984, he brought in Anca Petrescu, a young architect of 23 years then, to supervise construction. She, together with a further 700 odd architects aiding her, and 21,000 workers, went about creating Ceausescu’s pet project.

To go one up on the Soviets, he insisted that only local materials and workers should be used. It was for the people of Romania, after all. For 13 years, these workers toiled, working in three shifts, 24 hours a day. In the process, they went about tearing down four neighborhoods to make space for this massive project. Out went hospitals, churches, and historical homes, and with them, more than 57,000 families had to find a residence in other parts of the city.

A view of the city around the palace.

The Palace of the Parliament is the heaviest building in the world and is sinking by a few millimeters each year. It is the second-largest administrative building after Pentagon (which I cannot confirm as I have not been to the Pentagon). It is the world’s largest civilian building. And it was meant to have all the government offices under one roof.

Too bad for Ceausescu though. He never got to see its completion in 1997. Instead, on Christmas Day in 1989, he, with his wife, went down in a hail of bullets from the firing squad.

The palace in all its magnificence.
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Part time nomad | Dreamer | Pretend entrepreneur | Advertising professional who's hardly at his desk

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