Here you can find useful information about some of the most interesting buildings in Bucharest.
Parliament Palace (Palatul Parlamentului)
The Palace of Parliament it is the world's second-largest office building in surface (after the Pentagon) and the third largest in volume (after Cape Canaveral in the U.S. and the Great Pyramid in Egypt). The crystal chandelier in the Human Rights Hall (Sala Drepturilor Omului) weighs 2.5 tons. Some of the chandeliers have as many as 7,000 light bulbs.
Built by Communist Party leader, Nicolae Ceausescu, the colossal Parliament Palace (formerly known as the People's Palace) is the second largest administrative building in the world after the Pentagon. It took 20,000 workers and 700 architects to build. The palace boasts 12 stories, 1,100 rooms, a 328-ft-long lobby and four underground levels, including an enormous nuclear bunker.
When construction started in 1984, the dictator intended it to be the headquarters of his government. Today, it houses Romania's Parliament and serves as an international conference centre. Built and furnished exclusively with Romanian materials, the building reflects the work of the country's best artisans.
A guided tour takes visitors through a small section of dazzling rooms, huge halls and quarters used by the Senate (when not in session). The interior is a luxurious display of crystal chandeliers, mosaics, oak paneling, marble, gold leaf, stained-glass windows and floors covered in rich carpets.
Victoria Palace (Palatul Victoria)
Victoria Palace (Romanian: Palatul Victoria) is a palace in Victory Square, Bucharest, built in 1937, which is the headquarters of the Prime Minister of Romania and his cabinet. The palace was built under the supervision of Duiliu Marcu (1885-1966), student of the Bucharest Superior School of Architecture (1906) and of Paris Ecole de Beaux - Arts (diplomat in 1912). The monolithic structure materializes an austere expression of the neoclassical style.
The building, which overtops the Victory Square (Piata Victoriei), suffered heavy damages during the second world war, which is why it underwent significant restoration works (1944-1952).
Initially designed to be headquarters of the Foreign Ministry, Victoria Palace was the headquarters of Foreign Ministry and Council of Ministers during the Communist period and became, in 1990, headquarters of the first government of post-communist Romania.
The palace was declared a historical monument in 2004.
House of the Free Press (Casa Presei Libere)
The House of the Free Press (Casa Presei Libere), formerly called Casa Scanteii, is one of the landmarks in northern Bucharest, the tallest in the city between 1956 and 2007.
The edifice was built during the regime (between 1952 and 1957) and served as headquarters of the party’s publication (Scanteia) being, thus, by design, an institution completely subject to the communist authorities. In reaction to this juncture, subsequently to the 1989 Revolution, the name of the building was changed into the House of the Free Press.
The building combines elements promoted by the Russian Soviet architecture with details typical of the religious architecture cultivated in Wallachia and Moldavia. Just like most of the megastructures erected during the communist regime, the building strikes by its dimensions. The horizontal coordinate of the edifice exceeds its vertical line, and the difference is so considerable, that the aesthetic impact can hardly be overlooked.It has a foundation with an area of 280x260m, the total constructed surface is 32,000 m2 and it has a volume of 735,000 m³. Its height is 91.6 m without the television antenna, which measures an additional 12.4 m, bringing the total height to 104 m.
At present the building is used to purposes similar to the ones served until 1989 (newsrooms and printing presses).
The Royal Palace (Palatul Regal)
Erected between 1927 and 1937 in neoclassical style, the palace was home to King Carol II and to his son, King Mihai I, until 1947, when the monarchy was abolished in Romania. It was inside the halls of this palace that King Mihai, aged 18, led a coup that displaced the pro-Nazi government during the World War II and put Romania on the Allies' side. Today, the former Royal palace houses the Romanian National Art Museum.
The Romanian Athenaeum (Ateneul Roman)
The work of French architect Albert Galleron, who also designed the National Bank of Romania, the Athenaeum was completed in 1888, financed almost entirely with money donated by the general public. One of the preeminent public fundraising campaigns ever in Romania, the "Give a penny for the Athenaeum" campaign saved the project after the original patrons ran out of funds. With its high dome and Doric columns, the Athenaeum resembles an ancient temple.
The lobby has a beautifully painted ceiling decorated in gold leaf, while curved balconies cascade in ringlets off a spiral staircase. A ring of pink marble columns is linked by flowing arches where elaborate brass lanterns hang like gems from a necklace. Inside the concert hall, voluptuous frescoes cover the ceiling and walls. Renowned worldwide for its outstanding acoustics, it is Bucharest's most prestigious concert hall and home of the Romanian George Enescu Philharmonic.