On our weekend trip to Bucharest, I wanted to have a tour outside the city to see a little bit of the rural surroundings and to get an idea of the landscape. Snagov is approximately 40 km north of Bukarest and we went there with our adorable hosts Silvia and George from the fabulous cloud 9 living hostel and their baby daughter Josephine.
To reach the island we had to cross a pedestrian bridge over a wonderful lake. At the entrance of the church we encountered some disagreements because our hosts didn’t agree with the dubious guy cashing entrance fees from tourists but not from locals. Obviously nowhere in Romania the entrance for a church has to be payed.
The beautifully paint small church is also considered to be the tomb of barbarous Vlad Țepeș a very famous guy in Romania who is today knewn as the source of inspiration to Bram Stokers Dracula.
When officials opened the tomb in 1931, it was – of course – empty.
You know it before visiting the building only by seeing it from far: Romanias former socialist dictator and principal of this building, Nicolae Ceaușescu, was mad.
Worldwide the second biggest administrational building directly after the Pentagon. 65.000 m², 5.000 rooms, 480 chandeliers, 150.000 bulbs, 52.000 m² carpets, 2.000 km of electric lines, 1.000.000 m³ marble from Transsylvania and 6 Mio € operation costs per year only for light and heating.
But only when entering this incarnation of the phantasy of a pathologically narcissistic mind, and passing through some of its enormous, church-like, but most of the time completely empty rooms, you get an impression what this numbers mean and in the next moment you are able to feel ashamed for this unworthy, ugly building which is nothing but a superficial copy of a mix of European classic architecture, the castle of an evil phantasy emperor without any aesthetic education. I remember having seen as a child the movie Nero which described the reign of a crazy guy over Ancient Rome and everything inside the palace reminded me of the ignorant attitude shown there.
Ceaușescu was born in a small Romanian village as the son of a farmers family. He went to school only for a small amount of years and became a shoemaker afterwards. Due to a stay in prison he got to know some important people and became the President of Romania some years later. For a long time, he was an internationally acknowledged leader, the queen declared him Knight of the British Empire (this title was deprived in 1978) and he got the most important medal of the Federal Republic of Germany.
But everything changed then. Bucharest at the time was saddled by several crises and the people had nothing to feed their children with. But when the president came back from North Corea where he saw the adoration of the actual Kim, he wanted to have the same. He ordered a very big building who was able to represent his adorability.
In 1977 an earthquake hit Bucharest heavily and destroyed a big part of the town. But the area on the hill was spared. So it was the ideal location for the palace of the people. Ceaușescu threw 40.000 already starving people out of their houses and demolished them to build the palace at their place.
The crazy leader—who let himself call The Genie of Carpates, Titan of the Titans or simply The Chosen One—organized an architectural competition and 28-years-old Anca Petrescu won. Probably because her model of the palace—on which she and her friends worked for months—was the biggest one.
Ceaușescu never had the chance to use the palace. Our guide at the palace expressed his regrets for that.
The building today houses the Senate, the Chamber of Deputies, three museums and an international conference center. 70% of the house is empty.
Socialist and Capitalist interior remains