The town of Seseña, 35km south of Madrid, is blighted by an enormous mountain of old tyres covering an area of more than 10 hectares (25 acres). The residents don't complain – largely because there aren't any.

Seseña is Spain's most famous ghost town, a symbol of the country's economic fall since the housing bubble burst in 2008.

millions of tyres dumped near Sesena, a ghost town in Spain
Millions of used tyres are seen on a dump in front of largely empty apartment buildings in SeseñaPablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

Developers began building the vast prison-like blocks in the late 1990s, hoping tens of thousands of people would buy apartments on Madrid's southern fringe.

The massive project soon became mired in scandal. Developers had not included utilities, such as gas and water in the plans, rendering the apartments uninhabitable. To nobody's surprise, it turned out the authorities had been bribed to approve the development.

Of the planned 13,500 units, fewer than 3,000 were sold, and less than a third of these were ever occupied.

Spain ghost town Sesena
A little-used road runs through the ghost town of SeseñaOli Scarff/Getty Images
Spain ghost town Sesena
Weeds grow around empty apartments and shop unitsJasper Juinen/Getty Images
Spain ghost town Sesena
An unused swimming pool is surrounded by a large-scale residential development that is almost entirely unoccupiedOli Scarff/Getty Images
Spain ghost town Sesena
A lone light burns in an apartment, surrounded by others with their exterior window shutters closedJasper Juinen/Getty Images
Spain ghost town Sesena
A row of abandoned partially completed housesOli Scarff/Getty Images
Spain ghost town Sesena
Dismantled cranes lie dormant in front of a predominately unoccupied residential developmentOli Scarff/Getty Images
Spain ghost town Sesena
Never-used commercial units that should have housed shops are seen at the bottom of one of the largely empty apartment blocks in SeseñaJasper Juinen/Getty Images
millions of tyres dumped near Sesena, a ghost town in Spain
A worker walks past the used tyre dumpPablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

The massive pile of tyres started to form in the nineties when a company began using the site as a temporary storage area for old tyres due for recycling.

The dump was declared illegal in 2003 and the company abandoned the site. The environmental group Ecologists in Action estimates that there are 40,000 to 60,000 tonnes of tyres in the dump.

millions of tyres dumped near Sesena, a ghost town in Spain
Mountains of used tyres are dumped in Seseña near MadridPablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images
millions of tyres dumped near Sesena, a ghost town in Spain
A rabbit runs along a firebreak between mountains of used tyresPablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

The regional government has now started processing the tyres, grinding them up to use as building materials, surfacing for roads, sports tracks and children's playgrounds. It is estimated that it will take about four years to completely eradicate the mountain of tyres.