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European Journal

Germany: Decrepit Palaces

In the eastern German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern hundreds or palaces and manor houses are falling apart. A handful of idealists is trying to change that.

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Everywhere from the River Elbe to the island of Usedom, there are vacant palaces and manors up for sale. They can be bought for a song, but repairing them can cost a fortune. Nonetheless, some intrepid colonizers do take on the challenge of replacing rotten floors and crumbling walls in an effort to breathe new life into Germany's former feudal homes. German authorities are happy whenever they can cross a formerly aristocratic, Junker address off their list of buildings that may need to be condemned.