As a kid, the school subject I hated the most was History. All those names and dates dancing before my eyes were not at all intriguing. Yet, as I grew older I realised that history is not just a way to torture high school students. Now, I consider history an essential part of travelling. From the people’s political choices and how these affected their lives to the architectural trends throughout the centuries, every destination is defined by its history. Both Katerina and I make sure to include as many historic sites as possible in every trip we take. Recent history is what fascinates us the most, though. This made Bucharest and its not so long gone troubled political past an ideal destination for us. The Romanian capital is home to many recent historic treasures. One of these is Casa Ceausescu, the former Ceausescu residence.
Ceausescu residence past and present
Casa Ceausescu was the residence of the notorious Romanian leader Nicolae Ceausescu and his family from 1965 to 1989. Back then its name was Spring Palace. Nowadays, it houses a newly opened museum which aims to narrate the story of the Ceausescu family to the world. What’s very interesting about the museum is that furniture and decoration in its interior are arranged in almost the exact same way as when the Ceausescu family lived there. This reflects the museum’s desire to focus on the private, everyday lives of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu. These details are not as widely known as the ones referring to the couple’s roles as Romania’s leaders.
Visiting Ceausescu residence
Once inside Ceausescu residence, we were struck by the extravagant decoration of this huge mansion. Majestic marble staircases and impressive wood carvings. Invaluable mosaics and tapestries alongside unique pieces of furniture. All these compose an image of absolute luxury and indulgence. The stories our guide shared with us as we passed from one room to another were so vivid that we could almost see Nicolae receiving state officials in his study or Elena sitting in her office.
We also saw the apartments of the family’s three children as our guide outlined their personal stories too. As if all this luxury wasn’t enough, there were some rooms that screamed extravagance more than others. But you’ll get no spoilers from me! The tour ended at the mansion’s fantastic garden. There, we met the only remaining residents of Casa Ceausescu: six beautiful peacocks. They are actually the descendants of Nicolae’s own favourite peacocks.
Once outside Ceausescu residence, all the gold we had seen still glittering in our eyes, we both kept silent, reflecting on all the new information we had acquired. Travelling is the best way to learn history. Visiting the very sites were the actual events took place rather than reading about them in books, is far more effective in remembering them. And remembering is crucial when it comes to avoiding repeating the same mistakes. Because history is not only about the past. It is first and foremost about creating a better future for everyone.
At this point I would like to thank Roxana, the guide who showed us around Ceausescu residence. She is very knowledgeable and she has a great way of telling stories. She is extremely kind and although we posed a ton of questions to her, she answered all of them with a smile. Roxana was so sweet as to even share with us some of her own precious childhood memories back from the days that Nicolae Ceausescu was Romania’s leader. For that, we can’t thank her enough.
Practical information about Ceausescu residence
Ceausescu residence is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 17:00.
You can visit by guided tour only. Book the latter at least 24 hours in advance.
For more information visit the museum’s official website.
Disclosure: Casa Ceausescu kindly offered us a private standard tour free of charge but, as always, we express nothing but our very own and honest opinion about the experience we had.