A Drought in Mexico Uncovers a 400-Year-Old Colonial Church in the Middle of a Reservoir

Licensed from the AP / David von Blohn

Licensed from the AP / David von Blohn

Licensed from the AP / David von Blohn

Licensed from the AP / David von Blohn

Licensed from the AP / David von Blohn

Licensed from the AP / David von Blohn

Licensed from the AP / David von Blohn

Licensed from the AP / David von Blohn

Licensed from the AP / David von Blohn

Licensed from the AP / David von Blohn

Usually when droughts occur and reservoir water levels recede, it’s not a good thing. But a certain drought in Southern Mexico is attracting a lot of enthusiasm. Water levels in the Nezahualcoyotl reservoir have dropped by 82 ft (25 meters), revealing the remains of a mid-16th century colonial church. Known as the Temple of Santiago, the structure was erected by Dominican friars but then abandoned in the 1770s because of plagues.

The 48-ft tall church became a relic of memory in 1966 when the construction of a dam submerged it under water. Since then it’s only emerged twice: once in 2002 and again, now. As it did in 2002, the church has become a popular destination for tourists and local fisherman have been taking spectators out on boats to get a close-up view of the rare occurrence.

“The people celebrated,” recalls a local fisherman, of the last time the church emerged out of the water. “They came to eat, to hang out, to do business. I sold them fried fish.” If the drought continues, water levels could get low enough for people to walk inside the church.

Photos by David von Blohn, used with permission.

See related posts on Colossal about , , , , .