Palace of Parliament,
and the 1989 Revolution
Communist Dictator Nicolae Ceausescu ruled harshly over
Romania from 1965 until the 1989 Revolution. He left behind
this 4 billion dollar monstrosity to personal vanity. There are
12 floors and it houses the Romanian Parliament, source of
the current name. Ceausescu called it "House of the People".
Tours are offered that cover a portion of the structure's
interior, showing ornate carpeting, dazzling chandeliers,
marble stairways, and grandiose meeting halls. It has become
Bucharest's star attraction.
In December 1989, Ceausescu attempted to deliver his
"business as usual" speech here, balcony of what was then the
Communist Party Central Committee. With other Communist
dictators already overthrown peacefully in Eastern Europe,
revolt had broken out in the Romanian city of Timisoara, put
down by Ceausescu's troops, who killed over a hundred people.
This time Ceausescu's speech to a hostile crowd was
interrupted by boos and demonstrations against his rule.
Ceausescu retreated, sending in police and military forces who
ultimately murdered another 1,000 opponents of the dictator.
Next day, with the military defecting to the opposition side,
Ceausescu attempted to speak again from this same balcony.
All the crowd wanted was his blood. Ceausescu and his wife
Elena attempted to escape by helicopter from the building's
roof. Instead they were both captured and later executed by
firing squad. It took pictures of their bodies on television
before Romanians were finally convinced the hated dictator
was really dead.
This area is now part of Revolution Square, which contains
several monuments to the overthrow of Ceausescu, including
walls listing the names of those who died fighting for freedom
in December 1989.