Discovering The Secrets Of The Abandoned Green Houses In China

On Shengshan Island, east of Shanghai, China, only a handful of people still live in a village that was once home to more than 2,000 fishermen. Every day hundreds of tourists visit Houtouwan, making their way on narrow footpaths past crumbling houses overtaken by vegetation. The remote village, on one of more than 400 islands in the Shengsi archipelago, was abandoned in the early 1990s as residents moved away, aiming to leave problems with education and food delivery behind them. Reuters photographer Damir Sagolj recently paid a visit to Houtouwan, returning with these images.

Plants grow on houses in the abandoned fishing village of Houtouwan on the island of Shengshan, China, on July 26, 2015.

A tourist walks between buildings completely covered with plants in the abandoned fishing village of Houtouwan on the island of Shengshan on July 26, 2015.

A photographer uses a large-format camera to take pictures of Houtouwan on July 26, 2015.

A building covered with leaves is seen through broken windows of an empty house at the abandoned village of Houtouwan on July 26, 2015.

A bed and other furniture are left inside a room of a small abandoned apartment in Houtouwan on July 26, 2015.

Objects lie in an empty house in Houtouwan on July 25, 2015.

Tourists photograph the abandoned fishing village of Houtouwan as its former residents, now visiting, have lunch on July 25, 2015. Xu Yueding and his wife Tang Yaxue, who left the village over 20 years ago, come back every day to their former house to welcome visiting tourists and sell them bottles of water, the only thing available to buy in the village.

Vegetation grows through the open door of a house in Houtouwan on July 26, 2015.

Sun Ayue, one of the very few remaining residents of Houtouwan, is seen from inside the room where he lives on July 25, 2015. Sun, a 59-year-old former fisherman who doesn’t often leave the village except for an occasional game of mahjong in the town across the hill, lives alone in a house with no running water or electricity.

Sun Ayue prepares dinner in the room where he lives in Houtouwan on July 25, 2015.

Sun Ayue stands in his home in Houtouwan on July 26, 2015.

A woman takes pictures as morning mist covers Houtouwan on July 26, 2015.

A tourist poses for photos in Houtouwan on July 25, 2015.

A house covered with vines in Houtouwan, photographed on July 26, 2015.

A tourist looks inside an abandoned house in Houtouwan on July 26, 2015.

Tourists walk between buildings covered with vines on a path in Houtouwan on July 26, 2015.

A former resident, engaged by the local government to assist visiting tourists, waves as mist rises early on July 26, 2015 in the abandoned fishing village of Houtouwan.

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