China’s Eerie Luxury Ghost Village Is Full of Abandoned Mansions

In the foothills of Shenyang, an industrial city in northeastern China lies the mysterious State Guest Mansions project, a real-estate complex of more than 250 luxury mansions, all of which are abandoned.

The story of State Guest Mansions began in 2010, when business in the Chinese real estate sector was booming. Property giant Greenland Group bought up hectares of land in the foothills around Shenyang and began work on what was supposed to be a retreat for the region’s rich and powerful. 260 European-style villas began rising out of the ground, complete with marble floors and gilded chandeliers hanging from the ceilings, but for some strange reason that has yet to be revealed, development stopped in 2018 and the place has been a ghost town ever since.

“Everything here has been left abandoned,” a local man recently told AFP. “It all feels quite creepy.”

The property developer never made an official statement about the State Guest Mansions project and what led to its abandonment, but many of the local people believe it has to do with corruption.

“Frankly, it was because of official corruption,” a local farmer said. “They cut off the funding and cracked down on uncontrolled developments, so it was left half-finished. These would have sold for millions, but the rich haven’t even bought one of them. They weren’t built for ordinary people.”

The reasons for the project’s failure remain unclear, but to many the abandoned luxury village located about 400 km from Beijing is a symbol of the current Chinese housing market, a sector crippled by its own excesses.

Years after being abandoned, the unfinished luxury mansions have slowly been reclaimed by nature and by the ordinary farmers who could have never afforded to buy them. Cattle are being raised among these decaying edifices, sometimes even inside them and their garages, and ghost town enthusiasts often come here to explore.

The luxury ghost town of Sheyang is oddly similar to Burj al Babas, Turkey’s famous ghost town of abandoned fairytale castles.