“Abandoned Luxury: The Mysterious Ghost Town of State Guest Mansions in China”

The Mysterious Ghost Town


The Mysterious Ghost Town: Deep in the foothills of Shenyang, an industrial city in northeastern China, lies the enigmatic State Guest Mansions project. This real estate complex consists of over 250 opulent mansions, all of which now stand abandoned.

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Ghost towns like the one in Shenyang now pockmark urban landscapes across China © Jade GAO / AFP


The tale of the State Guest Mansions began in 2010 during the peak of China’s thriving real estate industry. The prominent Greenland Group acquired vast hectares of land around Shenyang, intending to create an exclusive retreat for the wealthy and influential individuals of the region. As construction commenced, 260 European-style villas emerged, boasting lavish marble floors and exquisite gilded chandeliers. However, for reasons that remain shrouded in mystery, development abruptly ceased in 2018, leaving the place deserted and haunting.

A resident recently described the scene, stating, “Everything here has been left abandoned, and it all feels quite creepy.”

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Local farmers now plow land that was envisaged as manicured gardens for the wealthy and politically connected, while feral dogs patrol crudely built poultry pens and double garages crammed with hay bales and farm equipment © Jade GAO / AFP


The property developer has never issued an official statement regarding the State Guest Mansions project’s abandonment or the circumstances behind it. However, many locals believe corruption played a significant role. According to a nearby farmer, “Frankly, it was because of official corruption. Funding was cut off, and uncontrolled developments were cracked down upon, so it was left half-finished. These mansions would have fetched millions, but they were not meant for ordinary people, and even the wealthy never purchased them.”

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Cattle near deserted villas of the State Guest Mansions project © Jade GAO / AFP

While the precise reasons for the project’s failure remain unclear, the abandoned luxury village, situated approximately 400 km from Beijing, has become emblematic of the challenges facing the Chinese housing market—crippled by its own excesses.



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Inside the former sales center at State Guest Mansions © Jade GAO / AFP

Years after their abandonment, the unfinished luxury mansions have gradually succumbed to nature’s reclamation and the occupancy of ordinary farmers who could never dream of affording such grandeur. Cattle now graze amidst these decaying structures, occasionally finding shelter within their once pristine garages. Ghost town enthusiasts often venture here to explore this eerie landscape.

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