Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Witness the largest annual human migration.

Every year millions of Chinese residents leave Beijing to travel to their hometowns for Chinese New Year. This annual human migration—the largest of its kind, comprising some 2.8 billion trips over the course of the holiday—has left the one of the world's most populous cities eerily deserted ahead of the holiday also known as Spring Festival, which technically begins on Feb 19th.

Beijing, normally home to 21.5 million people (only a little less than the population of Australia), now has blue skies, clear highways, and spooky, empty shopping malls.

Those who have stayed are enjoying the respite. As one Instagram user in the Sanyuanqiao neighborhood described it, residents who aren't traveling for this year's holiday are experiencing "lonely but beautiful Beijing."

寂寞而美丽的北京城 #Lonely #Beijing #SpringFestival #China

A photo posted by Michael Cheung (@mcz777) on

#beijing #ghostcity #springfestival

A photo posted by Jakob Hirschmann (@jakobhirschmann) on

A photo posted by Michael Cheung (@mcz777) on

#airport #beijing

A photo posted by @aeverie on

难得一见的空城#beijing#happynewyear

A photo posted by beijing wxkt (@wxkt) on

春节前北京的地下通道。#CNY #CITY #BEIJING

A photo posted by Yuffie (@tinatinaluo) on

This post originally appeared on Quartz, an Atlantic partner site.

More from Quartz:

British Soccer Fans Self-Identified as Racist While Pushing a Black Man Off a Train

The Skinny Suit Days For Men Are Finally Near Their End

Apple's Not-So-Secret Weapon in Streaming Music

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Life

    The Cities Americans Want to Flee, and Where They Want to Go

    An Apartment List report reveals the cities apartment-hunters are targeting for their next move—and shows that tales of a California exodus may be overstated.

  2. photo: a pair of homes in Pittsburgh
    Equity

    The House Flippers of Pittsburgh Try a New Tactic

    As the city’s real estate market heats up, neighborhood groups say that cash investors use building code violations to encourage homeowners to sell.  

  3. Life

    Can Toyota Turn Its Utopian Ideal Into a 'Real City'?

    The automaker-turned-mobility-company announced last week it wants to build a living, breathing urban laboratory from the ground up in Japan.

  4. photo: San Diego's Trolley
    Transportation

    Out of Darkness, Light Rail!

    In an era of austere federal funding for urban public transportation, light rail seemed to make sense. Did the little trains of the 1980s pull their own weight?

  5. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

×