Palace of Parliament
A PLACE OF SUPERLATIVES
A PLACE OF CONTROVERSY
THEN AND NOW
THE DREAM OF A DICTATOR MANIFESTED IN STONE
THE PALACE OF PARLIAMENT IN BUCHAREST
The construction began in 1984 according to the ideas of Nicolae Ceaușescu. Before that, 40.000 people had to give up their, partly historic, houses. Churches and synagogues were torn down as well as a stadium in Art Deco style. The architect was Anca Petrescu, she won the competition for the palace at the age of 26, immediately after graduation. The first plan was to build the whole place in only two years, but that period was fast extended until 1990. Right after the execution of the Ceaușescu‘s a discussion broke out how to use the palace in the future. In april 1991 the decision fell not to tear down the whole place and instead to finish it. Today it houses - among others - the senate, the chamber of deputies, three museums and an international conference center. But still a lot of the more than 5.000 rooms are not finalized. The maintenance cost of the building is 50.000.000 US $ per year.
As for all full-fledged dictators, everything was there for him, the entire resources of his country, the money, the workforce and also the craftsmen.
In this representative room you can get an idea of why they needed 3.500t of crystals for the 480 chandeliers, why they needed 150.000 light bulbs and what it might mean to cover 52.000 square meters with carpets in all the more than 5.000 rooms. The construction cost are estimated at 3.3 billion US $ that would have been 40% of the gross national product.
In its monumentally, this building is beyond any previously known framework of classical and neoclassical forerunners. Ceaușescu minutely followed the progress of the construction work. He came to the site every Saturday and complained about everything he did not like. This staircase had to be built three times until it met his expectations. All materials used in the palace, apart from the technical equipment, come from Romania.
The marble used throughout the palace comes from Transylvania and represents the entire Romanian production of ten years.
Leaving the p(a)lace
the disturbing reflection
of the unreal remains
for a while
with a peculiar taste
Of a world out of balance.
© 2018 by Lars Hauck