So-called Commieblocks, huge high-rise buildings, forms extreme concrete islands in many places in eastern Europe. Read why.


Gdansk, Poland.

Commieblock is an expression in English for usually prefabricated, standard high-rise buildings built during the Soviet era. These are everywhere in Eastern Europe, not just in the larger cities.


The joints from the prefabricated plates are clearly visible.

Huge housing shortage after World War II


Tiraspol apartment block.

The state considered that the Soviet citizens would live modern and identical. They began to manufacture millions of concrete slabs as a cardboard was mounted on site. The same technology was part of Sweden’s project of building 1 million apartments in 10 years, but the quality was significantly higher.


Bucharest, Romania.

A positive side effect of these giant building projects (for the regime) was that urbanization increased as the population left the villages in the countryside. And a population in cities is easier to control than single resident citizens out in the country.

The newly built blocks was orginized in so-called microdistrict, which mean, all services you would need from the society could be found in the same block. There shouldn’t be any need to get into the city center on a daily basis. The square meters per person were limited. In Soviet Russia it was set to 6 m2 per person. Today’s avarage is 12 m2.

Areas with commieblocks are more crowded today than in the Soviet era. New roads for cars have been built between the houses where it before was areas with grass, to meet the demand for mobility of the residents.

Commieblocks are everywhere


Smaller commieblocks in Estonian countryside.

Today Commieblocks characterize the main picture of Europe’s eastern cities, most of which have retained their original design in social-realistic architecture. In some places, they tried to remove the gray color by painting the facades with happy colors.


Commieblocks Chisinau, Moldova.

The quality of the housing was mostly bad. The only thing that was counted when the five-year plans of the Communist countries were evaluated were quantities.

The population, however, thought differently. Even after a few years, the concrete could begin to tear apart.


Typical view from a commieblock. The laundry dries in the yard because no one steals it.

Plattenbau in East Germany

In East Germany, Commieblocks was called “Plattenbau”. Construction of the Plattenbaut after World War II started extra fast in Germany when virtually all cities were torn apart during bombings.


Plattenbau, East Germany.

In the new high-rise areas in concrete, the rent was subsidized by the state, which decided on how much a worker’s salary would be for housing rent. The share of salary varies, but not more than 1/10. Compare what people can pay today just to live somewhere!


Blocks in Warsaw, Poland.

Millions of newly built apartments of poor quality meant to keep the rental market running. Usually, in East Germany, you signed up in a housing queue when you moved into a newly built house because you knew that it would deteriorate quickly. As a result, East Germany had the highest percentage of the world population in housing queue.


Residential for soldiers.

Here lives over one hundred thousand in the concrete

Central Europe’s largest collection of Commieblocks is in Slovakia’s capital Bratislava. In the area Petržalka, 120,000 people live.

karosta-liepaja-latvia-2In many parts of eastern Europe, you will find these old concrete colossus. Some people who see them become nostalgic over a time when almost everyone had the same or at least the same hell.


Vilnius, Lithuania.

Others deny these monsters, reminiscent of a time of oppression and lack of freedom.


Vilnius, Lithuania.

What do you think?