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News 05 Feb 16

Ceausescu’s Palace Opens up to Virtual Tours

Visitors can now enjoy inside tours of Romania's Palace of the Parliament, the second largest building in the world, without having to leave home

Marian Chiriac

Romania's People's Palace is now open to virtual visitors | Photo: photocaption

Can’t get time to leave your home and enjoy a strange hybrid of Versailles and North Korean-style arhitecture?

Don’t worry, starting from this month, virtual visitors can wander around the Palace of the Romanian Parliament while seated in their armchairs, viewing the huge halls, crystal chandeliers, wooden doors, expensive paintings and ornate sculptures.

Also known as the House of the People, the massive building was built on the orders of Romania's late communist dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu.

Some 100,000 people worked to build the palace between 1984 and 1989. It has a total area of 365,000 sqm, making it the second largest building in the world, after the Pentagon.

It now houses the parliament's Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, but several of the conference and exhibition halls and salons are used for a wide variety of other purposes.

The huge building has some 1,000 rooms. Some are now available for visits on an online platform. Users can also visit the Parliament Museum and admire some of the 150 works of art from the collection published on the platform.

"We have decided to offer people all over the world a virtual tour of some of the Palace’s beautiful rooms, which were built with the effort of Romanian craftsmen. We hope they will enjoy parliament’s works of art and heritage but also the rooms that we have here,” the speaker of parliament, Valeriu Zgonea, said.

People in Romania have divided opinions about the palace. Some rated it as "the most beautiful” building in Bucharest, others as the "the ugliest", in a recent survey.

The palace is widely perceived as a symbol of the mutilation of the Romanian capital under Ceausescu - who had much of the old city demolished. Nevertheless, the building is now the biggest tourist attraction in the capital.

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