... info From luxury lodging to squatter dwellings

With its approx. 200 rooms and luxurious suites the former Grand Hotel in Mozambique’s second largest city Beira was considered the most representative hotel in Africa during the 1950th. Today the luxury shine has faded. The building decays and any furnishing of value were looted. Running water or electricity has been cut-off long ago and not to even think about toilettes.
Nevertheless about 2.000 people live in the former luxury hotel. Every bit of space in the building is used as a living area. Not only the former rooms are used as living space, but also the attic, the corridors, the former duty rooms and even the cellar are occupied by house dwellers. The former swimming pool is used to wash clothes or for fishing and the pool bar serves as a mosque. The rubbish is simply disposed by throwing it over the balcony into the courtyard.
Yet the run-down hotel is considered as comparatively attractive living quarters, especially as it is rent free. There is a small school inside and also a kind of self-administration that governs the co-operation of the residents.
During the years the hotels architectural structure has been damaged. Trees grow through the patio and parts of the concrete ceiling collapsed. Once in a while accidents occur especially with playing children due to lack of barriers.

This photo reportage has been sponsored by the “Kulturwerk der VG BILD-KUNST GmbH”, Bonn
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