Even though the communist rule has come to an end in Romania but, the importance of the Casa Poporului or the Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest has not gone down even to a bit. It rather now serves many purposes like, holding the Romanian Parliament, having Romania’s Museum of Contemporary Art, and also having a good conference centre. There are also guided tours of the Casa Poporului which means the People’s House and it therefore stands out in the world by being the world’s largest civilian building with an administrative function.
The Palace of the Parliament got built during the times of Nicolae Ceausescu with a floor space of 340,000 sq metre. It has 1,100 rooms spread over the 12 floors alongside 4 underground parking garages which are used by the general public. The entire Palace of People is styled on a neoclassical format motifs taken from various sources. Estimates say that the People’s House has used one million cubic metres of marble, 3,500 tonnes of crystal and 700,000 tonnes of steel and bronze apart from 900,000 sq metre of wood and 200,000 sq metre of woollen carpet in order to adorn the building. It is thereby the most expensive administrative building and also the heaviest building existing on the face of the Earth by now. The Casa Poporului at one point of time was also called House of Ceauşescu in order to indicate the splendour of Ceasescu abode in opposition to the poverty of the general public of Romania.
Though majority part of the Casa Poporului remains unused but taking the conducted tours give a chance of having a look at the grand staircases, halls, salons, and conference rooms. In fact, the roof of the Palace of the People gives one of the best panoramic views of central Bucharest. If you are ready to shell out some extra money you can also have a look at the bowel of the Palace of the People. There is also a cafeteria which serves the legislators of Bucharest. The Palace of Parliament also houses headquarter of the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative (SECI) which is a body seeking the co-operation of various European governments in order to control cross border crime.
In 2008 the Romanian Palace of the People came in to limelight as it played the host to the 20th NATO Summit. If you are interested to take a tour of the world’s largest civilian building with an administrative function then make the reservations in advance as the opening hours may change in lieu with the parliament sessions. Some kind of international identification document, like passport or driving license is needed and the best way of reaching is getting down at the Izvor metro station. However, the Piata Unirii gives a better view of the Palace of the Parliament.