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.

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