.Visit Ceausescu Mansion with our Communist Bucharest Tour
Ceausescu Mansion is one of the best attractions in Bucharest for history enthusiasts. It’s also the perfect place to understand the double standards of communism in Romania and its absurd cult of personality.
Opened in 2016 for visitors, Ceausescu Mansion was one of the best-kept secrets of the communist regime. Only close family members and the highest rank party members had access to Ceausescu’s residence. Why all the secrecy you wonder? In the end, he was ‘the first son of the nation’ who was guiding Romania to the ‘Golden Age’. Or was he just another dictator who lost touch with reality?
A visit to the main communist sites in Bucharest, including the Parliament and the Civic Center, will help you figure out the answer.
To make the best out of your visit, you should know a few things about Nicolae Ceausescu before. Born in 1918, in a poor peasant family, young Ceausescu aspired to be a shoemaker and dropped out of school after a few years. Still, that didn’t prove to be a big problem for his future career. Most communist party members lacked academic education or had barely attended school.
He never got to practice his shoemaking skills as he became a communist activist soon after he moved to Bucharest. By the time Ceausescu joined, the Romanian Communist Party was already illegal. He was imprisoned a few times but shorter than other preeminent party members. Even so, many legends exist regarding this time, from who his cellmates were to his love life.
Later in life, he made up for his scarce illegality activity through falsification, a preferred practice of the party. He even falsified photos to invent a revolutionary past that became a national celebration during his glory days.
After 1948, Ceausescu meticulously created a network of supporting members at the local and central levels. This proved essential in 1965 when, to everyone’s surprise, he succeeded Gheorghe Gheorghiu Dej, the first communist dictator.
For over three decades, he was in complete control of all the decisions made in communist Romania. Posing as a rebel to get international funding, Ceausescu had dictatorial power in Romania and no moral or fear of God stopped him from using it.
He invented the President’s function for himself and awarded his ignorant and revengeful wife, Elena, with the third political position in the state. In fact, she was the second most powerful person in Romania and the most detested one. Even the party members hated and despised her. So bad that leaving her in charge in the days of the 1989 Revolution led to their betrayal by the army and the party.
Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu lived in ostentatious contrast to the lack of basic resources Romanians endured. Their top-secret residence was off the radar and off-limits because it was far from the communist ideology of equality. A swimming pool, a spa, thousands of dresses, and a cinema room were ages away from the poverty most people experienced.
The home of the dictatorial couple from 1965 until their execution in December 1989, Ceausescu Mansion was originally built for the first communist leader. However, Gheorghe Gheorghiu Dej didn’t get to use it during his life.
The Ceausescu family enlarged the original construction in a time when most Romanians lived in small and overcrowded apartments nicknamed ‘matchboxes’. Moreover, they chose luxurious furniture, original Iranian carpets, paintings by important Romanian artists, hand-made tapestries, and expensive porcelain vases.
During the visit, you’ll see Ceausescu’s home office, his children’s apartments, the apartment he shared with his wife, and also their famous golden bathroom. The cinema room with original Phillips technology, the dining space, the cellar, the winter garden, an impressive wardrobe, a spa area, a day apartment for Elena Ceausescu, and the swimming pool complete the tour. The most impressive space, the swimming pool hall, is an enormous mosaic puzzle created in two years by artists Olga Porumbaru and Florin Parvulescu.
The former residence survived almost intact in the violent days of the Romanian Revolution. It’s a unique landmark you shouldn’t miss if you want to know more about the perverted values of communism in Romania.
You can visit Ceausescu Mansion from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 am to 5 pm. It’s best to book your visit online.
Herastrau Park, the largest in Bucharest, is a few steps away.