Every year, over 10 million tourists eagerly visit Romania, with a particular fascination for its capital city, Bucharest. Amidst the diverse array of activities the city has to offer, one theme remains a constant point of interest: communism. Given that many visitors haven't had the chance to experience life under communism, there's a palpable curiosity to unravel the mysteries of that era.

Let's embark on a journey to explore five key landmarks that vividly evoke the memories of communist times in Romania. These sites serve as poignant reminders of an era that has left an indelible mark on the country's identity, making it a unique and compelling destination for those seeking to delve into its rich history.

1/5 The Palace of the Parliament

The Palace of the Parliament, while a magnificent structure, is a reminder of the challenging times in the 1980s when people endured hardship, sacrificing basic needs to fund its construction. Originally conceived by Nicolae Ceausescu as a showcase of his grandeur to democratic nations, the palace continues to stand as Bucharest's most representative building.

The Palace of the Parliament is not only Europe's largest building to date but is also rumored to be equally expansive below ground, with an extensive underground network of tunnels potentially intended for the dictator's escape in case of war. Some legends suggest that the hallways of the Palace of the Parliament are haunted by the ghosts of those who lost their lives while forced to work on its construction. If you want to visit the Palace of the Parliament, it is essential to book your tickets in advance.

2/5 Communist Neighborhoods

During the communist era, starting in the 1960s, Bucharest expanded into peripheral areas where mass housing projects were built for the working class, many of whom had migrated from outside the capital due to industrialization. These neighborhoods still exist, with the majority undergoing renovations, and they are home to a significant portion of Bucharest's population. You can explore these neighborhoods in order to observe the distinctive Brutalist architecture characteristic of communism, such as Drumul Taberei, Militari, Obor, and many others.

On the other hand, starting from 1982, under the orders of Nicolae Ceauşescu, a part of central Bucharest was demolished, and in place of the old houses, new blocks were constructed, this time intended for the communist elites (the area around Bulevardul Unirii – fountains). Spot the differences!

communism romania must-see landmarks

3/5 Museum of Communism in Bucharest

Are you intrigued by the starkness of communist architecture? Take a step further and explore the interiors of these apartments at the Museum of Communism in Bucharest. This unique museum boasts two fully interactive rooms—a living room and a kitchen—allowing you to immerse yourself in the daily life of an ordinary person during Romania's communist era.

Situated in the heart of Bucharest's Old Town, the museum is a standout attraction and a top-rated destination for the majority of tourists exploring the Capital. Ensure you plan your visit on weekdays to avoid weekend crowds and fully enjoy this immersive experience.

4/5 Primaverii Palace  

Now, let's explore a striking contrast: the Primaverii Palace, once the residence of the infamous couple, Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu. The opulence of this palace is beyond imagination, featuring an interior pool room adorned with mosaic, a vast greenhouse, million-dollar artworks, a golden bathroom, exquisite carpentry, and even peacocks (descendants of the Ceausescu couple's original pets)!

The stark contrast is staggering, especially considering that a significant portion of the general population was grappling with hunger and poverty during the 80s. Although it is not located in the city center, the Primaverii Palace is worth your visit. It is essential to book your tickets in advance.

5/5 Revolution Square

The Revolution Monument stands as a tribute to the fallen heroes of December 1989, when 1166 people lost their lives and over 3000 were injured in the pursuit of freedom and democracy. It is situated in the square where Nicolae Ceausescu delivered his final speech from the building with the famous balcony, which now serves as the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcRWiz1PhKU 

Just a few days after this speech, Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife were killed on Christmas Day while attempting to escape the country and evade the Revolution. This marked the end of the communist regime, and Romania transitioned into a democratic country, gradually aligning its political perspectives with the West.

If you want take a deeper insight and explore even more communist landmarks of Bucharest in depth, you can also book a tour (free tour or private) with a specialized guide: https://bucharestfreewalkingtour.com/

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