Destroying almost 6 square kilometers (4 miles) of buildings in the heart of the city , taking down the statues of the Romanian Kings and removing their stone-carved portraits from the Arch of Triomphe, these are just a few of the decisions that reshaped Bucharest and transformed it during the Communist Era, called the Golden Era by the fanatics.
The communist regime left a powerful mark on the whole Eastern Bloc, even though one of Europe’s last dictators, Nicolae Ceausescu was taken down from power more than 30 years ago. The traces of communism are still clearly visible throughout the city.
Our communist tour in Bucharest will take you through the most striking remnants of the heyday of Romanian communism and help you discover the modern architecture that is trying to give a nice touch to the capital city.
You’ll see areas built for the working class and metro stations designed in partnership with the dictator. The highlights of the tour are the Palace of the Parliament and the Spring Palace – the second being the dictator’s residencial palace.
You’ll start the tour at 10 AM after your guide picks you up from your hotel. Your first stop is at the metro stations built starting with 1979. These new underground terminals were not designed only to hold a big number of industry workers but painted in the party’s common colors: red, white, and grey.
Bucharest is known as the ‘city of contrasts,’ especially for the different architectural styles awkwardly blended. In the first years of communism, starting with the 1950s, Bucharest’s old town survived, and the party didn’t want to modify it. Later on, the architecture was used as a propaganda weapon for Romania to identify with other communist countries, like North Korea or China.
The architecture of Bucharest started to change, especially during the reign of Nicolae Ceausescu, after he and his wife Elena visited North Korea and China in the early 1970s. The dictator, passionate about architecture but without any talent, mutilated the capital-city. To build the Palace of the Parliament, Bucharest lost historical buildings by the size of Venice (in Italy).
The next stop of the tour is at the Palace of the Parliament – the second largest administrative building and the heaviest in the world. Originally named the House of the Republic, it is the most spectacular project of Ceausescu. The architect that designed and built the palace was only 28 at that time, and some say that the main reason why she won the contest is that her design was the grandest.
But the dictator never had the chance to see the palace finished nor to speak from its balcony, and the only personality that was ever seen at the balcony is Michael Jackson, during his visit Romania in 1996.
After the visit at the Palace of the Parliament, you will head to Revolution Square, the place where the fall of Ceausescu and the communism in Romania have fallen.
The final landmark of your tour is at the Spring Palace – Ceausescu’s residencial palace. This luxurious estate was finished in 1965, the year when he became the First Secretary of the party. After the fall of the communist regime, the Spring Palace was used as a residence for the official delegations and presidents, and in 2016 it was transformed in a museum.