Parliament Palace (Palatul Poporului)
- Type: Castles/Palaces, Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing, Tours
- Time to Spend: Less than 1 hour
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The second-largest administrative building in the world (after the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.), this mega-palace has stirred controversy since its construction. Dictator from 1974 to 1989, Nicolae Ceausescu built this monument demanding that only materials native to Romania be used. The result is a heavy neo-classical exterior that matches an equally ostentatious interior. Some call it ugly; others call it gorgeous. Some appreciate it as an architectural achievement; others slam it as a lasting reminder of government corruption. Either way, it's worth you making your own visit to determine what the fuss is all about.
You can tour the colossal building, which dominates downtown Bucharest, for about 20 RON (or about $6 USD). Although you'll see less than a 10th of the palace on the 40- to 50-minute tour, previous travelers recommend strolling through the halls. English language tours are offered between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily. Be aware that you must make reservations to tour the palace. For more information, visit the Palace's conference website.