In Southeast Asia, albino "white" elephants were considered especially prestigious and often owned by kings. The gift of a white elephant, while considered a blessing, also landed the recipient with a fairly useless beast which would cost a lot to house and feed.
A white elephant gradually became to idiomatically mean any expensive venture or building project which was very expensive, with limited use. Whether sports venues built for a big event, or a "bridge to nowhere", here are 12 projects which blew past their already elephantine budgets.
The third largest building in the world, and the heaviest, this monstrosity was ordered by Romania's dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu and built between 1984 and 1997. Despite costing 3 billion euros, it lies 70% empty. The electricity bill alone costs $6 million per year.
The totalitarian architecture, which reminds Romanians of the dark days of dictatorship is unpopular, with many joking that the best thing about the view from the Palace of the Parliament is that it is the one view in Bucharest from where you don't have to see the Palace of the Parliament.
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