Palace of Parliament’s virtual tour available on Google Cultural Institute in two days

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The Palace of Parliament, one of the largest buildings in the world, can be explored on Google Cultural Institute as of Thursday, January 21. So, anyone owning an Internet connection can take a virtual tour around the Palace of Parliament or the People’s House, as it was called during the communist regime.

Google Cultural Institute is an online platform launched in 2011, which presents the displays of the great events of the 20th century, topics on Holocaust or Nelson Mandela, but also art collections and exhibits of the great world museums.

The Palace of the Parliament is the current seat of the Romanian Parliament. It houses the Senate and the  Chamber of Deputies, as well as three museums and an international conference center: the National Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Communist Totalitarianism (set up in 2015) and the Museum of the Palace.  It also shelters conferences, symposiums and other manifestations by state institutions or international bodies, but even so about 70% of the building is empty.

Located o Deaul Arsenalului downtown Bucharest, it is the second largest building in the world, after The Pentagon, with 84 m high, an area of 365,000 m2 and is composed of 23 bodies. Having a volume of 2,550,000 m3, it is also the third most massive building in the world, after Cape Canaveral in Florida and the Temple of the Feathered Serpent in Teotihuacan, Mexico. In terms of weight, the Palace of the Parliament is the heaviest building in the world.

The building is exceeding the volume of the Pyramid of Giza in Egypt by 2 percent, hence it is often labeled as a “pharaonic” construction.casa-poporului-11

After the earthquake of March 1977, communist ruler Nicolae Ceaușescu kicked off a megalomaniac reconstruction plan of Bucharest, and the People’s House was the center of this project. The ambitious project of Ceausescu couple began in 1978, as a replica of Pyongyang, the North Korean Capita. Young chief architect Anca Petrescu was in charge of the project. At that time, she was just 28. Actually, the team that coordinated the work consisted of 10 architects, with other 700 people engaged in the works. The actual construction began on 25 June 1984.

The building was erected on the site of some monasteries that were demolished and on the site of Uranus Hill that was leveled. In this area were located the National Archives, Văcărești Monastery, Brâncovenesc Hospital, as well as about 37 old factories and workshops. Demolition in Uranus area began in 1982. 7 km2 in the old city center were demolished, and 40,000 people were relocated from this area. The works were carried out with forced labor of soldiers and so the cost was minimized.

20,000 and 100,000 workers used to work on the site, sometimes in three shifts. Thousands of people died at the People’s House, some mention a figure of 3,000 people.

In 1989 building costs were estimated at USD 1.75 billion, and in 2006 at EUR 3 billion. In 1990, American business magnate Rupert Murdoch wanted to buy the building with USD 1 billion, but his bid was rejected.

Nowadays, the Palace of the Parliament is valued at EUR 3 billion, making it the most expensive administrative building in the world. Only the cost of heating and electric lighting exceeds USD 6 million per year, as much as a medium-sized city.10

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