31,214 Light Bulbs

This Chandelier in Ceausescu’s Palace (now Palace of the Parliament) alone has 7000 bulbs and weighs 11,000 pounds in the “Small Hall”

31,214 bulbs are how many bulbs that have been replaced in a recent conservation effort in the Palace of the Parliament. The Palace has 2,800 chandeliers consisting of 7.7 million cubic feet of glass and crystal.

When I visited the then named, “Palace of the People” in March 1990, the Palace had been open about a week and then closed shortly after because of theft.

I met Silviu there, who was about ten years old and his mother while standing in line to go into the Palace. We wandered about, aghast at the beautiful chandeliers and rugs, all made in Romania. There was little furniture in these humongous spaces and the work on the Palace had not been completed. The heating and electric bill was six million dollars per year.

Afterward I was invited to Silviu’s Mother’s apartment, a short walk away. I noticed the small chandelier in their apartment. It had one bulb in it with several empty sockets. I knew that during the austerity period, Romanians were permitted one forty watt lightbulb per room. The idea was to save electricity that was limited and to pay off the foreign debt with the savings gained through rationing of utilities and food, plus through the exportation of the decent quality products, denied to Romanians.

When I returned to Romania in 1994, I visited Selum, a light bulb factory in Pucioasa. During Ceausescu times they exported 80% of its production to 60 countries on five continents.

I bought a number of bulbs and saw that they now produced Christmas, religious, painted dancing folk and Disney themed bulbs that would have been banned during Communism.

Christmas Bulbs

Published by Eric Sorlien

I am 51 and live in Philadelphia USA. I traveled to Romania about 30 years ago and I remember it still.

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