People’s Palace


We’ve just finished the ‘standard’ tour of the People’s Palace. We achieved that without the obligatory booking made a (working) day in advance. There was high security (surrender passports) and severe threats directed at visitors with a mind to wandering off alone. We didn’t pay the additional photography tax so you’ll need to Google if you want to see internal shots.

People's Palace

Words fail about the palace although ‘lumpen’, ‘white’ and ‘elephant’ are floating around trying to form a sentence that isn’t unfair to elephants. A more spiritual person might find the place soul-destroying but an atheist must make do with mild depression.

It’s hard to identify why such an expensive place so misses the mark. Why is Les Invalides in Paris so splendid and this so ghastly? How much was the 27 year old architect, Anca Petrescu, to blame? Was she a member of the presidential family? Perhaps this is an object lesson for architects in the dangers of a difficult and opinionated client. According to Goethe, architecture is frozen music so what’s the music of this palace? Once again I have no answer but perhaps this building can be Romania’s entry in Eurovision for the next few decades.

I can’t shed a tear for the Ceaucescus who never got the chance of waltzing in the ballroom.

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