If you’ve ever rented a home, you’ll understand that the one thing rent will never do is remain constant for long. There is, however, an exception to this rule. How about living somewhere that’s had the same rate for 500 years? Try the Fuggerei, the world's oldest housing complex! This German community is still taking in new tenants, but living there may not be worth the price.
The Fuggerei wouldn't exist today if not for Jakob Fugger. In 1516, the wealthy member of the royal court decided to build something to house the Catholic workers who were flooding into Augsburg, Germany. Jakob wanted somewhere they could live affordably since he knew they were sustaining themselves on meager salaries.
The Fuggerei became a walled city within another city. When it was complete, residents paid one Rheinischer Gulden, which was equivalent to one month’s pay, to reside in the Fuggerei. One Rheinischer Gulden converts to about $1.07 today. “The Fuggerei is unique in the world,” Astrid Gabler, PR manager for the Fugger Foundation, said. A look inside shows why.
Fugger family history
“A visit enables a view on a special community and its values,” Astrid said. “This is an important part of the history in Augsburg and the Fugger family, and the Fuggerei shows their development. Even more, our visitors can experience peace and spirituality.” Of course, some might call that an overly optimistic view.
From neighborhood to settlement
The complex has duplicate red-roofed structures that are two floors, with an apartment on each, and by 1523 it reached 52 buildings. The Fuggerei eventually gained its own town square and a Catholic church, becoming a true settlement, instead of a walled-in neighborhood. Soon, local officials had to look to the future.