It was built in 1984 to house the Central Committee, presidential office and state ministries. Today, it houses the Chamber of Deputies, Constitutional Court and an international conference centre.

One-sixth of Bucharest was bulldozed to accommodate the monstrous building, which stands 85m tall and has a surface area of 330,000 sq metres.

It is the world's second-largest building in surface (after the USA's Pentagon) and the third-largest in volume.

Over 700 architects and three shifts of 20,000 workers laboured on it 24 hours a day for five years.

It has 12 storeys and 3100 furnished rooms. Two of its 60-plus galleries are 150m long and 18m wide. Forty of its 64 reception halls are 600 sq metres; Union Hall is 3000 sq metres in size.

Beneath it is a vast nuclear bunker, plummeting 20m deep.

In the 1980s, when lit, the building consumed a day's electricity supply for the whole of Bucharest in four hours.

When Ceau§escu was toppled, building work was not complete. He had not yet decided on the roof design.

The carpet once coating the floor of Union Hall weighs 14 tonnes; today, it's rolled up.

The crystal chandelier in the Human Rights Hall weighs 2.5 tonnes.

It is still known locally by its former name, the House of the People (Casa Poporului).

In 2000 the halls of the palace were plastered with religious icons during the making of the movie Amen.

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