Warsaw Travel Blog

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Soviet era apartment building in Warsaw.

There is a lot of interesting architecture in Warsaw.  Some is really beautiful and some isn't so pretty, but nevertheless is still very interesting.  An example is the building in the attached photo.  This is an example of the typical apartment building built in the soviet era. Generally the flats are around 30 m2 and they were built with prefabricated pieces of concrete.  These buildings are all over Warsaw.  In Polish they are called “MRâWKOWIEC.”  They aren’t too nice, but at the time they were a good and economical solution so that people could have warm homes, with indoor plumbing in the city.  Three of my friends here live in these buildings and, though not too pretty, they're solid and warm!  They feel very small, but with some creative furnishing ideas you can fit a whole family in one. 

Many of these places are still held in forms of legal ownership that may seem strange to many of us, such as “PERPETUAL USUFRUCT” (Użytkowanie Wieszyste in Polish) where you are buying the right to use an apartment (or flat) forever, but it really isn’t your property and you have to pay a yearly canon.  In Spanish this is called "censo enfiteútico". I'm not too sure if we have anything like this in the US but it would be something like a 100-year lease.  In other cases the form of ownership is a little different:  the entire building, including all apartments and common areas are owned by the community and the person who buys the flat is really only buying the right to occupy it.  In Polish this is called Spółdzielcze własnościowe prawo do lokalu mieszkalnego • “housing association owner-occupied right to private accommodation”  Something like a “cooperative” in Spanish but without the “división horizontal”.  Another interesting aspect of travel and living in different countries is learning about the way certain issues - in this case, property ownership, are handled.

boxinbcn says:
I just learned that mrówka means ant, so these places are kind of like big ant colonies...
Posted on: Mar 16, 2008
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Soviet era apartment building in W…
Soviet era apartment building in …
photo by: EmyG