grand stairway 2 parliament palace bucharest romania

The Grand Stairway greets you when you enter the Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest. Actually, metal detectors and a bunch of security guards who are dressed like naval officers greet you, but that’s another story.

As most American school kids can tell you, the biggest office building in the world is the Pentagon. As any Romanian–school kid or not–can tell you, the second biggest office building in the world is the Parliament Palace in Bucharest.

Now, when you Google “largest office building in the world” you can come up with lots of different lists, none of which include either the Pentagon or the Parliament Palace. But, since I’m not exactly sure what criteria various counters use, I’m going to give the benefit of the doubt to the myth makers of both the USA and Romania. After all, what’s a few square meters between friends?

grand stairway parliament palace bucharest romania

Another view of the grand stairway. The red carpet reminded me a little of Scarlett O’Hara’s house in Atlanta.

After a security check and a check of passports you get to take a tour guided by people who work at the palace. Even though we already had a guide provided by Viking River Cruises, those guides devolved into translators of the pronouncements of the official guides’ thorough information on the building, its history, and its construction. Only a little of which I will inflict upon you here.

hallway2 parliament palace bucharest romania

A second floor hallway, with a few of the thousands of chandeliers that light the place. Yes, thousands.

But, just a little, maybe.

It was started by the brutal Romanian dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu, in 1980, and was finished after his death. After the Romanian revolution which deposed Ceausescu, the building housed the Romanian House of Deputies. Later, the Romanian Senate also moved in.

senate ceiling parliament palace bucharest romania

The ceiling of the Romanian Senate chamber. The arches of the gallery where visitors can sit are in the foreground. Lot of glass. Lot of marble.

The building also houses a few museums, and, oddly, has office space that anyone can rent. Seems the government of Romania isn’t big enough to fill it all by itself.

kris parliament palace bucharest romania

Just before we toured the building, the Romanian Prime Minister resigned. The lectern for his press conference was still set up at the top of the stairs. Kris made a couple of comments for the crowd as well.

At any rate, even though it’s really big, the building is also going to impress with its neo-classic architecture–with a lot of baroque decoration thrown in. It’s grand and grandiose, which can be mostly attributed to the late dictator’s self image. But, I think the current post Communist Romanians are, at least secretly, a bit proud of it, too.

exterior parliament palace bucharest romania

A view of the outside. The guard of the grass wouldn’t let me go out on it to get a better shot. But you get the idea. It’s big.

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