It's been seven years since Fuggerei was in the news. That was when the Wall Street Journal paid a visit to the historic German village. But the strange town is still just as intrigueing today.
Here, the 142 residents live in a gated community within the city of Augsburg. Praying three times a day is a requirement and the gates are locked promptly at 10 pm. If that sounds a little strict, consider the price of it all: Residents pay just 88 euro cents per year (or about a single U.S. dollar) to live in one of the 67 homes or 147 apartments in the little village.
That's right, one dollar. For an entire year of rent.
When the Fuggerei was established in 1520 by wealthy banker Jakob Fugger the Rich (some name), he intended for it to become a housing complex open to the needy and poor living nearby. That tradition continues today — though you must also demonstrate faith in the Catholic Church, and prove in Augsburg for at least two years.
Jakob the Rich set up a charitable trust in order to bankroll the Fuggerei, a trust that still finances the village. Although, the Wall Street Journal notes it only sees returns of about 0.5% to 2% each year. Tourists (who can purchase a €4 ticket for a tour, as long as they demonstrate respect for the town) also bring in some money for the village.
And although visitors are not allowed to enter any of the 50- to 700-square-foot residences currently occupied, the Fuggerei maintains a model unit so visitors can get a feel for the homes that have provided solace for 495 years.
Take a closer look:
[h/t Atlas Obscura