Ciudad de los Muchachos – Bemposta, Spain - Atlas Obscura

Ciudad de los Muchachos

Bemposta, Spain

The ruins of the second-largest circus school in the world. 

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La Ciudad de los Muchachos was Padre Silva’s modern educational project. In 1963, when Spain was under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, there were hardly any orphanages or hospices for all those young people without relatives.

Silva created a small city by and for children over the world without differences between sex, race, or religion. More than a thousand young people participated in self-government with their own laws. It was decided that the economic livelihood for the colony would be the circus, and the performances of Circo de los Muchachos (as it was called) became famous throughout Spain.

The circus school came to perform in Paris, New York, and Tokyo, and opened a branch in Madrid in the 1980s. However, the end of the dictatorship and economic mismanagement put an end to the circus and to Ciudad de los Muchachos.

The school finally closed in 2003, and Silva was accused of embezzlement and after his death. In 2011, the project was abandoned. Today El Poliedro (the school’s training tent) and the abandoned houses of the city, now without children, remain.

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