The Fuggerei is the world's oldest social housing complex still in use. It is a walled enclave within the city of Augsburg. It takes it name from the Fugger family and was founded in 1516 by Jakob Fugger the Younger as a place where the needy citizens of Augsburg could be housed. By 1523, 52 houses had been built, and in the coming years the area expanded with various streets, small squares and a church. The gates were locked at night, so the Fuggerei was, in its own right, very similar to a small independent medieval town. It is still inhabited today, affording it the status of being the oldest social housing project in the world.

The rent was and is still one Rheinischer Gulden per year (equivalent to 0.88 euros), as well as three daily prayers for the current owners of the Fuggerei — the Lord's Prayer, Hail Mary, and the Nicene Creed. The conditions to live there remain the same as they were 480 years ago: one must have lived at least two years in Augsburg, be of the Catholic faith and have become indigent without debt. The five gates are still locked every day at 10 PM.

Housing units in the area consist of 45 to 65 square meter apartments, but because each unit has its own street entrance it simulates living in a house. There is no shared accommodation; each family has its own apartment, which includes a kitchen, a parlour, a bedroom and a tiny spare room, altogether totaling about 60 square metres. Ground-floor apartments all have a small garden and garden shed, while upper-floor apartments have an attic. All apartments have modern conveniences such as television and running water. One ground-floor apartment is uninhabited, serving as a museum open to the public. The doorbells have elaborate shapes, each being unique, dating back to before the installation of streetlights when residents could identify their door by feeling the handle in the dark.

The Fugger family initially established their wealth in weaving and merchandising. Jakob the Rich expanded their interests into silver mining and trading with Venice. Additionally he was a financier and counted the Vatican as a notable client. The family became financial backers of the Habsburg family and he financed the successful election of Charles V as Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in 1519.

The Fuggerei was first built between 1514 and 1523 under the supervision of the architect Thomas Krebs, and in 1582 Hans Holl added St. Mark's Church to the settlement. Expanded further in 1880 and 1938, the Fuggerei today comprises 67 houses with 147 apartments, a well, and an administrative building.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's great-grandfather, the mason Franz Mozart, lived in the Fuggerei between 1681 and 1694, and is commemorated today by a stone plaque.

The Fuggerei was heavily damaged by the bombings of Augsburg during World War II, but has been rebuilt in its original style.

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Founded: 1516
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Historical period: Habsburg Dynasty (Germany)

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User Reviews

Martin Weissflog (8 months ago)
Must see in Augsburg!! Very idyllic little town inside a town.
Tamás Major (8 months ago)
Really weird at first sight and an interesting attraction. We need to know German history well enough, especially the history of the Fugger family, to really measure its essence. A 1-2 hour visit, a lot of reading in front of it, and you can already understand everything you can see here.
Larysa Kram (8 months ago)
To visit such a museum, as for me, is a must for those who like really special historical places. If you plan to visit Augsburg, don't lose this unique experience.
hubert kastner (8 months ago)
Historic place in Augsburg, Germany. Social facility established by the Fugger family. Public access to the in-and outdoor restaurants. Superb food quality!
Chantal Meier (10 months ago)
Really interesting place and a must-see when being in Augsburg! Really historical and interesting place with many individual personal stories of people living there as well as knowledge concerning German history (WW2).
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