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. An illustration of the Memorial Day flood in Ellicott City, Maryland.
    Environment

    In a Town Shaped by Water, the River Is Winning

    Storms supercharged by climate change pose a dire threat to river towns. After two catastrophic floods, tiny Ellicott City faces a critical decision: Rebuild, or retreat?

  2. A photo of police officers sealing off trash bins prior to the Tokyo Marathon in Tokyo in 2015.
    Life

    Carefully, Japan Reconsiders the Trash Can

    The near-absence of public garbage bins in cities like Tokyo is both a security measure and a reflection of a cultural aversion to littering.

  3. A line of stores in Westport, Connecticut
    Equity

    Separated by Design: How Some of America’s Richest Towns Fight Affordable Housing

    In southwest Connecticut, the gap between rich and poor is wider than anywhere else in the country. Invisible walls created by local zoning boards and the state government block affordable housing and, by extension, the people who need it.

  4. Environment

    A 13,235-Mile Road Trip for 70-Degree Weather Every Day

    This year-long journey across the U.S. keeps you at consistent high temperatures.

  5. Cars sit in a crosswalk.
    Transportation

    What if More People Could Issue Parking Tickets?

    Washington, D.C., considers training a group of residents to give tickets for some parking violations. Would it make streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists?