Dictation - upper-intermediate/advanced
Housing estates with crumbling walls, leaking roofs and
broken windows are a common occurrence in the country. Some lie empty.
Others are inhabited, as indicated by their façades decorated with
satellite TV dishes and colourful arrays of washing.
empty buildings are the remains of state housing projects built for
employees of factories and the families of officers in military bases.
When the factories and the bases shut down, the people left. Some of the
blocks of flats remain empty to this day.
attracted destitute and homeless families, usually Gypsies.
Some of the derelict apartment blocks are, theoretically, municipal
property rented to poor citizens. The majority were built for the
Gypsies, who were forced to settle after the 1960s. Suffering from high
unemployment rates after 1989, most of the inhabitants were unable to
pay their utility bills and token rent. Most city councils ignored the
problem for years. The results are ghettos where poverty, crime and
ethnic tensions are the norm.
There is another type of decaying houses,
which you notice because of their elaborate turn-of-the-19th Century
façade. Such buildings are usually monuments of culture, and their
piteous condition is entirely intentional. As a matter of course, their
owners want them demolished and replaced by some flashy new business
centre, yet another shopping mall, or block of flats. The only way to
achieve this is to leave the building exposed to the elements and hope
it collapses. To rephrase Stalin: no monument of culture, no problem.