The Palace of the Parliament (Palatul Poporului), Bucharest Review

This is the second largest building in the world, built on a hill just 15 minutes walk from the city center. Its opulence is truly epic and it resembles more a pyramid than an office or government building.

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The Romanian dictator Ceaușescu famously masterminded and directed every detail of the construction in 1984 until his death in 1989. Due to its sheer size, the palace was never finished and the new government wasn't ready to spend another 2 billion on the interiors.

Just walking around the building will take one hour. There are a number of entrances but I found the security guards unhelpful in directing me to them. One entrance is for the palace tours and another hidden entrance for the National Museum of Contemporary Art, which has a great coffee shop and a lovely terrace but not much art to show.

The organized tour ($10 +$10 for pictures) will taken you inside the parliament offices. The sheer size of the building and its never-ending halls are beyond anything I have seen before. There is a theater, countless conference rooms, gigantic marble floored halls in a maze of hallways leading from one to another… Think about a mad scientist designing an endless walkway of marble hallways and you have the interior picture in mind.

To me it felt spooky and I was happy to leave – not because of the quality of the tour but of how intimidating the building was. It felt more like a mausoleum.

If you are in Bucharest, this is a place unlike any other and a must-do attraction.

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4.5 / 5 stars