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News 11 Mar 16

Romanians Get to See Ceausescu’s Luxury Pad

The vast private residence of Romania's late dictator Nicolae Ceausescu is opening up to the public for the first time.

Marian Chiriac
Bucharest
The palace of former communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu is now opened for general public | Photo: palatulprimaverii.ro

The luxurious private mansion of Romania's late communist leader, Nicolae Ceausescu, opens to the public on Saturday, for the first time in its history.

The 80-room residence, called the "Spring Palace" and located in Bucharest’s fanciest neighbourhood, includes a cinema, a swimming pool and an impressive dressing room. It also has also adjoining grounds of 14,000 square metres.

Designed in the mid-1960s, based on the exact request of Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, she is said to have personally picked the chandeliers and mosaics.

They both spent the last 25 years of their lives in the palace, together with their children Nicu, Zoe, and Valentin.

After the Ceausescus’ hurried trial and execution in December 1989, the building was administered by the Romanian state and only rarely used to host official delegations. It was put up for sale in 2014 but no interested buyer showed up.

The palace is now to be opened to the public, with the entry ticket prices starting from 15 lei [four euros].

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Last month, the gigantic communist-era Palace of the Romanian Parliament, also known as the House of the People, was opened to virtual tours on an online platform.

The building has become the biggest single tourist attraction in Romania.

Romania still has an ambivalent relatio to its Communist past. The authoritarian regime has not been fully researched and the system that made it possible was never completely condemned.

More than 25 years after the fall of regime, surveys show that many Romanians have revised their opinions of the once-hated regime.

Preoccupied with their financial problems, many people say they no longer feel strongly about the regime, which once was associated with hunger, censorship, closed borders and the fear of the secret police, the Securitate.

Now, surveys show that nearly half the population believe life was actually better in the Communist era, with a higher standards of living and job security being given as the main arguments.

Less than a quarter of Romanians say that life has improved since the overthrow of Ceausescu's regime, although Romania joined the European Union in 2007.

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