Ceausescu mansion was one of Nicolae Ceausescu’s properties for almost 25 years. Nowadays, Ceausescu’s former home is a museum.
You may book a guided tour and enjoy a lovely history lesson full of fun facts and urban legends about Romania’s last dictator.
A place I invite you to visit next time you are in Bucharest is Ceausescu Mansion. This place was Nicolae Ceausescu’s residence for over 25 years.
The dictatorial couple lived there with their children until 1989, when Ceausescu was removed from power.
Undoubtedly, Ceausescu is one of the most controversial figures in Romania’s recent history. I would dare to say he is even one of the main tourist attractions Romania is famous for around the world. Therefore, visiting the mansion of the most notorious dictator in Romania is something you should carefully consider.
Let’s begin with some historical facts
For some, Romania is still a young democracy. In 1989, so more than 30 years ago, the country went through a bloody revolution. The removal of Ceausescu and the communist regime marked Romania’s journey towards democracy. The way Ceausescu stepped down became famous mainly because his execution was aired on TV.
This way the entire country and later the world saw him and his wife being shot. Believe it or not, the dictator’s last moments are still streamed on Romanian television every December to commemorate the dictator’s death. I find it bizarre how so many years after the revolution, the Romanian people have different opinions about Ceausescu. The elderly regret his killing, while the younger ones are glad that Romania is now a free country.
As a head of state, Ceausescu was a wealthy man. After his death, the dictator’s fortune was confiscated by the newly elected authorities. They decide to sell some of Ceausescu’s belongings and return some others to their original owners. By chance perhaps, Casa Ceausescu (in Romanian) or The Ceausescu Mansion becomes a museum. Nowadays you can find the mansion on Bulevardul Primaverii, a very posh area in Bucharest. A comprehensive map and more information on how to find the mansion are available on the dedicated website.
Book your guided tour for The Ceausescu Mansion Museum!
To visit the museum, you must book a tour on the dedicated website. Guided tours are available in English and Romanian and last approx. 1h. The ticket price is 45 RON or 9 EURO/10 US Dollars/8 GBP. During the tour, you will learn fun facts and urban legends about the former dictator. One such urban legend involves a golden bathroom Ceausescu supposedly had.
The infamous golden bathroom is just a myth. The tour guide told us some bathroom objects are gold plated. However, people’s fascination with the bathroom started because everyone believed the entire room was gold plated. According to the tour guide, this was never the case. Some still wonder nowadays where the gold is? I guess we will never know the truth. Below is a picture I took of the infamous bathroom.
Another fun story is that Ceausescu enjoyed playing chess. He would often play against his Defence secretary or other Government officials. The tour guide told us nobody ever dared to win against the dictator, thus Ceausescu never lost a single chess match in his entire life. Now I understand people’s fascination with power. To be able to do anything you want whenever you want must make you feel invincible.
Let’s have a look inside
They don’t call it the Spring Palace for no reason. The architectural style resemblances to a French chateau. The entrance is nothing less than sumptuous. There are 8 columns which guard it, 4 on each side. I was surprised by the mansion’s entrance that I even forgot to take a picture. Luckily, the internet is full of it.
Credits for this photo go to trip advisor contributors.
The mansion has one en-suite bedroom for each family member. Ceausescu had three children, only one is still alive, the other two died of cancer several years ago. The tour took us through every single room of the mansion. I had the chance to visit the master bedroom, the children’s rooms, various workspaces, the back garden, the indoor pool, the sauna, the beauty spa, an indoor garden and the couple’s dressing room. The dressing room was particularly interesting as it displayed the couple’s wardrobe. I saw Elena’s outfits (the dictator’s wife), but also clothing belonging to Nicolae Ceausescu.
The house is a symbol of power. You can tell that by the decorative objects I spotted during the tour. For example, I saw a books collection with Lenin’s work in the library. I should have asked if the books belonged to Ceausescu or not.
As you can see in the pictures below, the mansion has several workspaces and plenty of sitting and eating areas. I must say the dictatorial couple would have had no issues to lockdown for a year inside this place. With an indoor pool, a sauna and a beauty spa, I guess anyone would have loved a lockdown in the mansion!
More is better
As I said previously, this mansion was everything but humble. The architect adorned every space in the house with sparkly and flashy ornaments. The preferred colour was primarily gold, a popular choice among rulers. It reflected so well Ceausescu’s status as a head of state. The carefully crafted furniture reflect the architect’s preoccupation with tiny details. The designers used the most exquisite furniture and wood sculptures to please the dictator’s taste. Unfortunately, the pictures don’t fully capture all these details…
The same extravagant style decorates the bedrooms. There is a feeling of too much in every bedroom that I saw. You could tell the family enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle. This was such a contradiction to the lifestyle the citizens lead in those times. The final years of Ceausescu’s regime were the hardest to endure due to the lack of basics such as food and other essentials.
The family’s obsession with colours and wealth is everywhere. Have a look at the pool area. The tour guide told us the work of putting together the coloured stones was done manually and took several years to complete.
The only place in contrast with the rest of the house was the beauty/spa room. It looked nothing like the spa rooms we all know or would have expected, considering the decorating style. The colour of choice to paint the walls was white. The things Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu used to look after themselves looked more like torture tools to me. Out of everything, the beauty/spa room surprised me the most.
Of course, it’s French
Ceausescu Mansion is a French-style mansion and as I said already was the dictator’s residence until his death. The architect used in fact several French styles to decorate the mansion. From what I found online it is a mix of the Neo-Classical and Neo-Late Renaissance styles. Like we saw in pictures already, the architect used sophisticated wood sculptures to decorate the rooms. The designers also used these little statues to adorn most of the spaces. It was confusing to see such a weird mix between French architecture and Romanian elements.
If I had to choose 1 word to describe the interior design that would be opulence. The dictator had a taste for whatever was big, extravagant and sparky. The tour guide explained that this was the trend of the time. I assume it’s the opposite of what we know nowadays as minimalism.
The tour ends in the back garden. The peacocks who guard the back garden put up such a show on the tour day. I don’t know if they were in a bad mood or simply not used to the human presence. I found that surprising since the mansion receives quite a significant number of visitors each day. The tour guide told us the mansion can be rented out for private events nowadays such as weddings, private parties etc.
Below are some more pictures I took on the day of the tour. You do not have to pay extra for taking pictures, however, you must not use the flash. If you are around, I would recommend visiting the mansion. After all, you would be in the same place the American president Richard Nixon was. The tour guide told us Nixon was one of the few foreign guests Ceausescu received in this mansion.
Have you visited the Ceausescu Mansion yet? Or even heard of it? Let me know in the comments below if you’ve already been there or plan to do so.