Monday, April 11, 2016

The abandoned human zoo of Paris


Human zoos are a shameful chapter in the history of the western world. During the 19th and the 20th century indigenous people from societies Europeans and Americans considered primitive were often displayed in cities of the west emphasizing the cultural differences between them and the western civilization. Human zoos -or ethnological expositions- existed in many cities (Paris, Hamburg, Antwerp, Barcelona, London, Milan, New York, and Warsaw) attracting 200,000 to 300,000 visitors for each exhibition.

The ruins of the Paris Human Zoo can be found outside the city, in the region of Vincennes. It was built in 1907 as part of the Jardin d’Agronomie Tropicale and included six different villages, representing all the corners of the French colonial empire: Madagascar, Indochina, Sudan, Congo, Tunisia and Morocco

Over one million visitors visited the human zoo from May until October 1907 when the exhibition ended. For most of the 20th century the site has been kept locked from the outside world and the buildings, where humans were treated like animals, have been left to decay. Starting in 2006, the ruins of the Paris Human Zoo opened to the public.


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