In 1521, the Fuggerei had 52 buildings, and they were mostly occupied by families. Many residents worked in their homes. Craftsmen and day labourers such as sack carriers and candlemakers had their workshops there; residents traded or operated small businesses.
The requirements for the Fuggerei as a residential and living environment were always changing, and the structure was correspondingly adapted. In the mid-17th century, for instance, a school was established for a time in order to educate children in Catholic dogma. There were buildings for other foundations and charitable projects, and there was even a priest. In more recent times as well, the infrastructure of the Fuggerei was adapted to the conditions at hand – for instance, with the construction of its own bunker during the Second World War, which today serves as a bunker museum by housing exhibits. After the war, two widow's buildings for wives who had been left behind were built, one between Neue Gasse and Gartengasse and the other on Markusplätzle. To accommodate increasing tourism, a shop and a beer garden were built.
Distinctive features of the foundation
Some of the same rules have been applied for almost 500 years. Only needy Catholic Augsburgers are accepted as residents. Ancestry, age and family status are not deciding factors. Alongside the prayer requirements, the residents are asked to perform small services for the common welfare, such as serving as night watchman, sexton or gardener. The gates of the Fuggerei are open until 10pm, afterwards residents must pay the night watchman a sum of 50 cents to be admitted, or one euro if it is after midnight.