Monday, 31 July 2017

The House of the People, Bucharest

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This wonderful picture of the House of the People, Bucharest, is by Octavian Draga.


The House of the People in Bucharest is the largest building in Europe and the second biggest building in the world (after the Pentagon) measured by floor space. It was built by Ceausescu but he never addressed the crowds from the balcony. Only two men have done that: Ion Iliescu, who had him shot, and Michael Jackson. 



Very wrongly, the Romanian Senate is now housed in this monument to dictatorship, whereas the Romanian Parliament should have remained in its old quarters, which symbolised the pre-Communist parliamentary tradition. The old Parliament is now the Patriarch's Palace, beside the Patriarchal cathedral. The House of the People would have made a good mall. I hate shopping centres but this building deserves to be one. Instead of the building standing at the end of the Boulevard of the Victory of Socialism it could have towered over a Boulevard of the Victory of Capitalism.

The building extends as far below the ground as it does above it, it is said to have cost €3 billion but I doubt if any figure can be given. Romania was in effect not a money economy when it was built. Rupert Murdoch offered to buy it in 1990 for $1 billion but the offer was turned down ('We do not sell the country').

Many old churches and monasteries were destroyed to make way for this thing and a lot of the old part of the city. Westerners, who had ruined their own Victorian cities fifteen years earlier, protested fairly loudly. Thousands of workers are said to have died. May God have mercy on their souls.

5 comments:

  1. "Thousands of workers are said to have died." It seems like a gross exaggeration since the total number of workers is estimated at 20,000.

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  2. It depends if you count the on-site workers, or if you add the off-site workers as well, working in the quarries and mines, which often carried more risk.

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  3. More trivia about this building: pretty much everything is made with Romanian materials and labor, whether it was marble, crystals in the chandeliers, hand-woven rugs, paintings and sculptures, etc. Ceausescu wanted to "make Romania great again" (paraphrasing here) and discouraged imports as much as possible - thinking the country could be self sufficient. Moreso, most of the raw materials as well as the workmanship seemed to come from Transylvania, which underlines the huge importance of this region to the country (and why Hungarians are so upset about losing it). Many rooms are rented for receptions, and many companies have holiday parties there, for example. I personally would love to see it turned into a private casino or large mall, as a final middle finger to communism and its associated twisted anti-human ideologies.

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  4. "most of the raw materials as well as the workmanship seemed to come from Transylvania, which underlines the huge importance of this region to the country (and why Hungarians are so upset about losing it)"

    not only that, but most of the raw materials as well as the workmanship seemed to come from that corner of Transylvania where the Hungarian people are a majority, which clerly shows the superiority of the Hungarians over the Romanians and strongly endorses the restitution of Transylvania to the Hungarian motherland

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    Replies
    1. Not necessarily, there was quite a lot from the Sibiu area, including the woven rugs (in the traditional Romanian style) and a number of raw materials. That area has minimal Hungarian influence.

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