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In this housing project in Augsburg, Germany, the rent is only $1 per year â€” no joke! It's called the "Fuggerei" and it's the oldest social housing project in the world. Started by a wealthy banker named Jakob Fugger in 1521, it was developed especially for needy people who fulfilled three requirements, and to this very day these requirements haven't changed. The residents must be from Augsburg, they must be Catholic, and they have to be considered "dignified poor". In the early days they were also expected to say an Our Father, a Hail Mary and make a confession of faith each day on behalf of the Fugger family.
Today the housing project has 150 residents in 140 apartments spread throughout the 67 buildings. It is surrounded by city walls with three gates acting as entry and exit points. The main gate is closed every night from 10 pm to 5 am and guarded by security staff. Anyone who comes home later than 10 pm has to pay 50 cents to enter â€” that's half the yearly rent! Needless to say that most residents try to avoid this as much as possible. The unbelievably low rent by today's standards is based on the historical rental price of one "Rheingulden" (a gold coin used as currency in the Rhine region during the middle ages) which would be worth about $1 today.
Even if you don't stand a chance of qualifying as a resident, the Fuggerei is still open to tourists and worth a visit. It's pretty amazing to think that this concept has lasted for over 500 years!
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