Tags: church | reservoir | colonial | ruin | mexico

Church in Reservoir: Colonial Ruin Unveiled by Receding Waterline

Image: Church in Reservoir: Colonial Ruin Unveiled by Receding Waterline
(David von Blohn/The Associated Press/via Twitter)

By    |   Tuesday, 20 Oct 2015 08:05 AM

A colonial-era church normally submerged underwater has been revealed in southern Mexico amid a recent drought, and photos of the phenomenon are being praised as hauntingly beautiful.

"The people celebrated. They came to eat, to hang out, to do business. I sold them fried fish. They did processions around the church," local fisherman Leonel Mendoza, who is now offering boat tours of the remarkable ruin, told CBS News on Friday. 

According to architect Carlos Navarete, who has written several reports on the structure for the Mexican government, the church likely dates back to around 1564, the same era as the nearby monastery of Tecpatan.

It is called the Temple of Santiago, and, since the nearby dam was completed in 1966, usually resides about 100 feet below the Nezahualcoyotl reservoir.

The church was decommissioned long before the reservoir was built, however, as Navarete related it was "abandoned due the big plagues of 1773-1776."

A recent drought has seen the reservoir level plummet a whopping 82 feet, revealing all but the floor. The last time drought unveiled the church was in 2002, at which time water levels were so low visitors could walk within the walls.

"It was a church built thinking that this could be a great population center, but it never achieved that," Navarrete said. "It probably never even had a dedicated priest, only receiving visits from those from Tecpatan."

When Friar Bartolome de las Casas founded the nearby monastery, the Quechula locality was inhabited by the Zoque people.

According to USA Today, "Las Casas, the first bishop of Chiapas, initially believed in subjugating the native people, but later argued for abolishing slavery and helped persuade King Charles of Spain to grant the natives their freedom . . . But when conquistadors and settlers revolted, Charles reversed much of the new legislation."

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A colonial-era church normally submerged underwater has been revealed in southern Mexico amid a recent drought, and photos of the phenomenon are being praised as hauntingly beautiful.
church, reservoir, colonial, ruin, mexico
303
2015-05-20
Tuesday, 20 Oct 2015 08:05 AM
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