This is the November 2012 offering for our desktop calendar series – always free and available for iPad too!
Get your November 2012 Desktop Calendar Wallpaper! We took this photo of the Romanian Parliament in Bucharest on the final stop of our Eastern European tour on Grand Circle’s River Adagio. Built by Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in the 1980s, the building is the second largest in the world (after the Pentagon) and one of the most expensive.
According to our guides, Ceausescu formulated plans for the Palace of the Parliament after a trip to North Korea, where he was extremely impressed by the megalomanical rule imposed by Kim Jung II. He came back to Romania determined to erect a building that would inspire similar grandeur. To build it, he razed huge swaths of historic Bucharest, including churches, synagogues and more than 30,000 residences. At a time when many people in his country went hungry, he forced members of the military to provide the labor to build it. Secret police kept the population from speaking out about it.
Ceausescu had intended to live in the building and house all of the country’s government. He was overthrown before the building was completed, however, and many people in Romania felt that it should be destroyed. Tearing down the Palace would have cost as much as finishing it, however, and so it was mostly completed. It now houses the Romanian Parliament.
One interesting factoid: The Romanian government had promised citizens that the Palace of the Parliament would be available for people to use for weddings and other occasions. To this day, only one Romanian has gotten married there: star gymnast Nadia Comaneci.
Tours are available daily, although you’ll need an advance reservation (our hotel made it for us). They cost 6 Euro, plus a 10 euro fee for photography. While the guides are fairly lackluster and refuse to deviate from the “official” story, it’s worth doing, if only to gape at the elaborate marble, rich carpets and immense chandeliers throughout.
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Next wallpaper coming November 30!
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