May 19, 2015

1595 ROMANIA (Bucharest) - Palace of the Parliament

Located in the historical and geographical center of Bucharest, on the Arsenal Hill, the Palace of the Parliament is the world's largest civilian building with an administrative function, the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon, and also the most expensive administrative building, and the heaviest building. For comparison, it can be mentioned that the building exceeds with 2% the volume of the Cheops pyramid. Since 1996, the building houses the Romania's Chamber of Deputies, the Romanian Legislative Council and the Romanian Competition Council. The Romanian Senate joined them there in 2005. In 2004 was opened inside the west wing the National Museum of Contemporary Art, and also the Museum and Park of Totalitarianism and Socialist Realism. The Palace also contains a massive array of conference halls, salons, etc. but even so, around 70% of the building remains empty.

Designed by architect Anca Petrescu, the building, which measures 270m by 240m, 86m in hight and 92m under the ground, was begun in 1983 and finished in 1997, but actually was nearly completed during the regime of the dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu, violently removed by the Revolution of 1989. At that time was named Casa Poporului (the People's House), an entitling that might seem cynical, but it was just demagoguery. Among Romanians, the structure is highly controversial for several reasons. The building site began in 1980s with the demolition of more than 7 square kilometers from the old city center, and the relocation of over 40,000 people from the area. Among the buildings lost then were the Văcăreşti Monastery, the Brâncovenesc Hospital, the National Archives, the Stadium "Republic", etc.

At the erection of the building were attended 700 architects and 20,000 workers brought from all over the country, who have worked in three shifts, 24 hours a day, to whom were added many soldiers (then the military service was compulsory), but it is considered to be the work of all the Romanians, because it was built during a period of hard privations, when the grocery stores were empty, and some products were even rationed, as also the heat from houses, the fuel and the electricity (interrupted every night between 10pm and 6am). Last but not least, some consider this pharaonic building (with costs estimated in 2006 to 3 billion Euro), a monstrosity in terms of architecture, a kitsch erected by a megalomaniac. As a result, after 1989 they didn't lack strange ideas about the future of the Palace. Was proposed its transformation into a casino, into a shopping center or into an entertainment complex, and some more zealous even wanted to demolish it.

About the stamps
The first stamp, depicting Anthericum ramosum (Anthericum ramosum), is part of the series Flowers’ Clock (II), about which I wrote here. The second stamp, depicting Field Poppy (Papaver rhoeas), is part of the series Flowers’ Clock (I), about which I wrote here.

Palace of the Parliament - Wikipedia
Palatul Parlamentului (rom) - Camera deputaţilor

Sender: Eugen Mihai (direct swap)
Sent from Bucureşti (Bucureşti / Romania), on 15.05.2015
Photo: Eugen Mihai / 21.10.2004