Legrad is a small town in Croatia, a country in the Balkan region of Southeast Europe. Now about two thousand Croats live in the city. But in the Middle Ages, this small town on the Hungarian border was rich in people and history. Legrad was once the second most populous city in Croatia. Due to its convenient geographical location, the city became the center of cattle trading in Europe in the seventeenth century. At that time, traders from Venice, Italy used to regularly come to this city to do business. But when the Austro-Hungarian Empire fell in 1918, Legrad gradually lost its charm. The population also started to decrease since then.
Low population is a cause for concern
By this century Legrad’s population had declined at an alarming rate. The thing is, all the old abandoned houses all over the city, but there are no people anywhere! There is no life in the houses, there is no excitement in the city. Legrad’s administration was worried about the low population. To bring back the city’s lost charm, they first need enough residents. Legrad’s administration launched a novel initiative in 2018 to attract Croats from other regions to settle in the city. From that year they started selling abandoned houses in the city for only 1 kuna, which is only about 16 taka in Bangladeshi currency!
Impact of the initiative
Several houses have been sold in this way. This city has got new inhabitants. In explaining how effective this initiative of the Legrad administration was, Croatian media company HRT (Hrvatska Radiotelevizija) says, just five years ago, there were not so many children in this city, as there are now. Since 2018, the number of children has increased so much that a new daycare center has to be opened in the city.
According to Reuters, in 2021 the Legrad administration managed to make 19 abandoned houses habitable. From there, 17 houses were sold. The price per house was that 1 kunai. However, the abandoned houses need to be renovated very well to live in them. Interestingly, Legrad’s administration has also given every house owner an incentive of 25,000 kunas for house renovation, which is about 395,000 taka in Bangladeshi currency.
Can you buy a cheap house in Legrad?
At the beginning of this year, the Legrad administration took the initiative to sell another batch of houses. But not just anyone can own any of Legrad’s houses. You can’t buy a house in this medieval European city with around 16 rupees in your pocket. Age must be below 45 years to apply for home purchase. There must be a marital or cohabiting partnership in the country and the buyer must have no criminal record. Not only that. If any property or land is already registered in the name of the buyer, regardless of the amount of money in the bank, Legrad will be considered ineligible for buying the houses. The administration should also promise to stay there permanently for at least 15 years from the date of commencement of residence.
Legrad is not the first
Croatia is not the first country to take such steps to increase the population of an area, with the Mediterranean island nation of Sicily having done so before. But let the story of Sicily be today, another day!
According to the prothomalo