From palace to conference centre

Bucharest International Conference Centre

Placed in the middle of the old town of Bucharest, this massive and overwhelming building was known to the ordinary citizen until December '89 only by its official name 'People's House' and some stories that moved from jokes into gossip.

December '89 brought to this building not only the new name of 'Palace of Parliament', but also opened its gate wide open to the man on the street and ironically turned it into a house of the people.

During its attested 500-year history, Bucharest experienced a wide range of events, the majority of them taking place in the very spot on which this palace now stands.

Known at the beginning as a very picturesque vineyard, crowned by Vlad Tepes with a princely palace, 'Curtea Veche' (the Old Court), on whose ruins, the Phanariote ruler Alexandru Ipsilante built a palace woven in mystery around 1776, this 18m high hill in Bucharest had many names.

A long time ago a kind-hearted doctor by the name of Spirea, who used to treat poor people for free, built a church for them on this hill, called Spirea Veche (the Old Spirea). In the middle of the 17th century it became known simply as Dealul Spirii (the Hill of Spirea). Later, in the Fall of 1848 this hill was the site of an important and dramatic battle between Bucharest firemen and the Turkish Imperial army.

In the 1980s, one of Bucharest's finest historical areas was sadly lost forever, being replaced by today's 'Palace of Parliament'.

In 1984 the construction of this palace began and it became the second largest building (330,000m2) in the world after the Pentagon in Washington D.C., finding its way into the Guinness Book of World Records. Regarding its volume, with its 2,550,000m3 it ranks with Mexico's Quetztalcoatl pyramid and surpasses the pyramid of Keops by two per cent.

Overall plans for this 900-room building were conceived by a team of nearly 700 architects and were brought to life by a 'real' army of almost 20,000 men, working in three shifts.

In 1990, after long discussion, the building was taken over by the Romanian Parliament to be finished and used as its headquarters. Now, this building plays host to the whole legislative process of Romania. Beginning with the Constitutional Court, to the Chamber of Deputies and the Legislative Council and ending with the Official Gazette (Monitorul Oficial).

Because of the large and lavishly decorated halls situated on the first three floors and very well suited to hosting conferences and official meetings, after the second Crans Montana Forum that took place in Bucharest during 1994, the Bucharest International Conference Centre - a department of the Chamber of Deputies - was established, turning this palace into a meeting point for politics, business, science, arts, culture, fashion and leisure.

The International Conference Centre has 16 rooms with surface areas ranging from 200m2 up to 2,600m2, and capacity from 30 to 1,500 seats, complemented by exhibition halls, foyers and state-of-the-art facilities, being able to organise all types of meetings, such as: conferences, round tables, seminars, congresses as well as social and cultural events (concerts, receptions, product launchings, fashion shows, exhibitions, etc).

Among the facilities this Centre can offer to both Romanian and foreign clients, it is worth mentioning the following: infra-red simultaneous interpretation equipment in almost every hall, with between four and eight channels, indoor TV, vidiwall in the plenary sitting room, international secretarial facilities, a computer network connected to the Internet, e-mail available upon request.

All the above mentioned facilities can be complemented by a wide range of services meeting the most demanding requirements, such as: a well equipped press centre, video and photographic facilities, typing pool, copy centre, post office, travel agency, exchange office, rent-a-car and catering in its own restaurants.

With its elegant halls decorated in different architectural styles, all with traditional Romanian influences, with its exquisite marble and wooden carvings, its heavy carpets and embroidered curtains, lit by almost 2,800 crystal chandeliers and bearing the old history of the site on which it stands, linked with the 'new' history based on modern legends and anecdotes, the Palace of Parliament has also become an important touristic point of modern Bucharest, being visited every year by more than 20,000 tourists from all over the world.

This touristic function is also assured by the International Conference Centre, which through its skilled staff, speaking several languages, turns the visit to this Palace into a memorable event. Because every hall is named after a Romanian political or cultural personality, a guided tour through these spaces can be regarded as a short, but very pertinent journey through Romanian history.

Therefore, the International Conference Centre invites you to be its guests and discover for yourselves this venue placed in the historical area of Bucharest, only a few minutes away from the main hotels. Besides a sight worth seeing for its architecture and interior decorations, you will also meet its professional staff here, who are always receptive to your needs and provide a welcoming atmosphere.