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Winning a flat – in a lottery

When I first saw the word Lottóház on a building on the corner of  Ferenc Korut and Üllői út , I was curious. I asked around. Someone told that this was the site of the old Killián Kaszárnya (Killian barracks) that had been razed in 1956 during the October Revolution. They went on to tell me that when the current block of flats was built on the site of the barracks, people were too superstitious to buy them so the state decided to raffle them off. That way, people were buying lottery tickets and not the flats, per se. I’ve been happily repeating this story each time I have visitors and we walk up to Corvin Negyed to catch the tram. I can’t for the life of me remember who told me. Perhaps I read it somewhere. Or perhaps I’ve made it all up.

This weekend, out and out with the lovely MI, we walked up Fő utca and she pointed out another Lottóház – one of three I now know of built in Budapest, the third being over on Múzeum  Korut (see this bi-lingual blog for details of the PLACC project about No. 9).

Apparently, back between 1958 and 1968, this was quite a trend in Budapest – building flats and then raffling them off in a sweepstake. Funded by the National Lottery, these building were quickly built – often ready in just 12 months – to replace those damaged in the war. Imagine living in an apartment block full of winners – I wonder what that would do for your outlook on life …