Palace of the Parliament

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Template:Refimprove Template:Infobox Historic building The Palace of Parliament (Template:Lang-ro) in Bucharest, Romania is a multi-purpose building containing both chambers of the Romanian Parliament. According to the World Records Academy, the Palace is the world's largest civilian building with an administrative function, most expensive administrative building and heaviest building.

The Palace was designed by architect Anca Petrescu and nearly completed by the Ceau?escu regime as the seat of political and administrative power. Nicolae Ceau?escu named it the People's House (Casa Poporului), also known in English as the Palace of the People.

Description

File:Bucharest Parliament chandelier.JPG
One of the many huge chandeliers in the building

The Palace measures Template:Convert by Template:Convert, Template:Convert high, and Template:Convert underground. It has 1,100 rooms, 2 underground parking garages and is 12 stories tall, with four underground levels currently available for the general public and in use, and another four in different stages of completion. The floorspace is Template:Convert.

The structure combines elements and motifs from multiple sources, in an eclectic neoclassical architectural style. The building is constructed almost entirely of materials of Romanian origin. Estimates of the materials used include one million cubic meters of marble from Transylvania, most from Ru?chi?a; 3,500 tonnes of crystal — 480 chandeliers, 1,409 ceiling lights and mirrors were manufactured; 700,000 tonnes of steel and bronze for monumental doors and windows, chandeliers and capitals; Template:Convert of wood, over 95% of which is domestic, for parquet and wainscoting, including walnut, oak, sweet cherry, elm, sycamore maple; Template:Convert of woolen carpets of various dimensions, the larger of which were woven on-site by machines moved into the building; velvet and brocade curtains adorned with embroideries and passementeries in silver and gold.<ref>Romania: Inside the Palace of Parliament</ref>

Construction

Built on the site of a hill variously known as Spirii Hill, Uranus Hill, or Arsenal Hill, which was largely razed for this megaproject in 1980, the building anchors the west end of Bulevardul Unirii and Centrul Civic. Constructing the Palace and Centrul Civic required demolishing much of Bucharest's historic district, including 19 Orthodox Christian churches, six Jewish synagogues, three Protestant churches (plus eight relocated churches), and 30,000 residences.

Construction began in 1983; the cornerstone was laid on 25 June 1984. While the building was intended to house all four major state institutions (in a similar manner to the UK Houses of Parliament), Ceausescu intended the palace to be his personal residence and the government was to operate in it (as if combining the Kremlin into one building). It was intended to house these institutions:

  • The Presidency of the Republic (Pre?edin?ia Republicii) - today's Presidency (Pre?edin?ia);
  • The Great National Assembly (Marea Adunare Na?ional?) - today's Parliament (Parlamentul);
  • The Council of Ministers of the Socialist Republic of Romania (Consiliul de Mini?tri) - today's Government (Guvernul);
  • The Supreme Court (Tribunalul Suprem) - today's High Court of Cassation and Justice (Înalta Curte de Casa?ie ?i Justi?ie).

At the time of Nicolae Ceau?escu's 1989 overthrow and execution, the building structure and design were complete.Template:Citation needed Subsequently, many of the furnishings were never installed (mostly evident because of the many large, empty spaces throughout the palace), while the last three basement levels and a large clock tower (that would display the official Romanian time) were never finished. During the regime change, the new leaders of Romania referred to the building as the House of Ceau?escu, to highlight the excessive luxury in which Ceau?escu would have lived, in stark contrast to the squalor and poverty endured by many people living in Romania at the time.

Parts of the building (some of the west wing, some of the east wing, parts of the second floor, basement 3 and everything below) are yet to be completed. Currently, a new underground car-park is being built inside a former stadium, currently used as a warehouse, which was covered during the construction of the palace. Tunnels linking 13 Septembrie Avenue with the basement of the building are planned to be built. It is alleged that Ceau?escu had built bunkers under the building where he would hide in case of a revolution.Template:Citation needed

History since the Romanian Revolution

Template:Expand section Since 1996, the building has housed Romania's Chamber of Deputies, which had previously been housed in the Palace of the Patriarchy; the Romanian Legislative Council and the Romanian Competition Council. The Romanian Senate joined them there in 2005, having previously been housed in the former Communist Party Central Committee building. The Palace also contains a massive array of miscellaneous conference halls, salons, etc. used for a wide variety of other purposes. There are public tours organized in a number of languages.

In 2003-2004 a glass annex was builtTemplate:Citation needed, alongside external elevators. This was done to facilitate access to the National Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC) opened in 2004 inside the west wing of the Palace of Parliament, and to the Museum and Park of Totalitarianism and Socialist Realism, also opened in 2004.

The cafeteria for use of the legislators has been refurbished. Also in the building is the headquarters of the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative (SECI), an organization focused on regional cooperation among governments against cross-border crime.

In 2008, the Palace hosted the 20th NATO summit. In 2010, politician Silviu Prigoan? proposed re-purposing the building into a shopping mall and entertainment complex. Citing costs, Prigoan? said Parliament should move to a new building, as they occupied only 30 percent of the massive palace. While the proposal has sparked debate in Romania; politician Miron Mitrea dismissed the idea as a "joke".

References

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External links

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