abandoned-ghost-village-shengshan-island-china-4 (All images courtesy of ChinaFotoPress)

If you’re an urban explorer or merely have a passing interest in the compelling world of abandoned places, chances are you’ll have stumbled upon these intriguing photographs, which went viral earlier this month. The images depict the haunting beauty of an abandoned fishing village in Eastern China, almost completely consumed by nature following the departure of its residents more than 20 years ago.

abandoned-ghost-village-shengshan-island-china

The ghost village, nestled on the cliffs of Shengshan Island at the mouth of the Yangtze River, sits just 40 miles east of Shanghai, yet seems a world away from the tumult of the planet’s most populous city. The lush beauty of the abandoned fishing community is almost surreal, as vines conspire to entangle the stone walls of cottages and creep purposefully through open windows.

abandoned-ghost-village-shengshan-island-china-5

Shengshan, part of the Shengsi Islands archipelago in Zhejiang province, is now a popular tourist destination and, with its characteristic vernacular architecture, has long been known as a regional fishing hub. But fishermen and their families are said to have left the ghost village on Shengshan Island in the early 1990s, since access to the larger mainland ports made their livelihood more economical.

abandoned-ghost-village-shengshan-island-china-2

They left their home to the mercy of the elements and, two decades on, the abandoned houses are an exhibition of lush green plantlife. Offering a rich ecosystem for native flora and fauna, the haunting abandonment reflects many ghost villages in a rapidly developing country, where rural inhabitants increasingly flock to vast urban centres.

abandoned-ghost-village-shengshan-island-china-3

The ghostly houses amid this lush, humid landscape are now the preserve of tourists and photographers. It’s ironic that they may now be visited by more people than ever before, despite the likelihood that their crumbling walls will never again be occupied.

Related – 20 Haunting Abandoned Ghost Towns of the World