Bucharest City Guide: What You Should Know about the House of the Free Press

A must-see attraction that should be included in any Bucharest City Guide is the House of the Free Press. A monument that is impressive through its architecture and history as well.

Here is the main information you need to know about this building:

1. The Site Where It Was Built

If you’d go back in time to 1905 on the site of what is now the House of Free Press, you’d find a horse racing track. The track was built by Romania’s King Carol I and was the main entertainment point.

Then under the communist regime, a third of the track was removed in 1950 when the first wing of the building was built. The whole racetrack was closed in 1960, by an order of Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej who was governing Romania at the time.

2. The Plans Story and Inspiration

During the Communist era in Romania the main, and for many the only, newspaper was Scanteia (“The Spark”). In 1948, the communist party considered creating a large-scale printing house, which is now included in a Bucharest city guide.

In 1949, a team of architects which included Horia Maicu, Nicolae Badescu, Marcel Locar, and Mircea Alifant was assembled.

Their first designs were all rejected because they were considered “too cosmopolitan”.  So they took inspiration from some of the iconic buildings in the Soviet Bloc, from buildings like:

  • Lomonosov University in Moscow,
  • Ukraine Hotel from Moscow,
  • and the Palace of Culture from Warsaw.

3. The Architectural Elements

The building’s architectural elements are also a good reason for it to be included in the Bucharest City Guide. Besides the basic Soviet architecture, it also has details that are typical to the religious architecture cultivated in Wallachia and Moldavia.

Even today there are still socialist elements on the building. Some of the elements you’ll get to see for yourself if you book the “Last Days of Communism in Romania” tour, are:

  • The sickle and the hammer, the symbol of the Communist Party,
  • The Socialist Star
  • Elements that present the science and knowledge of the people
  • The resemblance of the building to gigantic industrial factories.

After the revolution, the sickle and hammer symbol has been taken down from most of the buildings, this being one of the few places it survived.

4. The Massive Dimensions of This Bucharest City Guide Attraction

It was built during 1952-1957, a period when there was a large influence of creating constructions that would outlast an earthquake. Combining this with the Soviet influences, it was clear that it had to be massive.

The foundation has an area of 280x260m. For more than 50 years, from 1956 until 2007, it was the highest building in Bucharest. It has 91.6 m and the television antenna on top of it has an additional 12.4 m. Which means in total it is 104 m high.

Ready to visit?

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the information surrounding this monument included in the Bucharest city guide. We can tell you all about its colossal dimensions, but you’ll only understand if you see it in person.

Book our tour and we’ll make sure you not only see it but also understand its history.


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