It really doesn’t take long for Mother Nature to reclaim her territory, slowly obliterating all signs of human occupation, if we only allow it. Case in point is the abandoned Chinese village of Houtou Wan which, within a span of 50 years, has become a beautiful secret garden completely covered in lush vegetation.
Houtou Wan village is located on one of the 394 Shengsi Islands of China’s Yangtze River. It used to be a thriving fishing town a few decades ago, but it was gradually abandoned as the number of fishing vessels outgrew the size of the bay and the population was forced to relocate. All but a handful of villagers left Hotou Wan in the last half century, leaving nature to work her magic on the settlement. The result is nothing short of breathtaking.
Today, thick ivy covers nearly every inch of many building in Houtou. The village has transformed into a lush scene of dense green vegetation, attracting humans back into its fold – not as residents, but tourists. Hundreds of them now come to Houtow Wan every day, to admire the unique scenery of crumbling houses tucked under blankets of foliage.
Despite its condition, a few old residents have chosen to stay behind in Houtou, and spend the rest of their lives in the serene atmosphere. Like 59-year-old Sun Ayue, a former fisherman, who lives alone in a moss-covered house with no electricity or running water. A few elderly residents continue to return – like Xu Yueding and his wife Tang Yaxue, who left the village over 20 years ago. They visit their old home every day, to welcome tourists and sell them bottled water, which is just about the only thing you can buy in the village.