Church emerges from Mexican reservoir

Dropping water levels elicit hidden 400-year-old church in Mexico

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

The church was built in the 16-century by Spanish colonisers

Updated Oct 19, 2015

The ruins of a 16th century colonial church, built by Spanish colonisers have re-emerged from a reservoir due to a drought in southern Mexico.

The lack of rain left the levels of the Grijalba Rivel - which feed the Nezahualcoyotl - to drop by 25 metres

Since the flood that hit the area in 1966, this is the second time the church has emerged from underwater.

In 2002, the water levels were so low that visitors were able to walk around inside the church.

Visitors who were interested in seeing the church today are taken there by fishermen to visit the ruins. 

The church was built over 400-years ago (AP)

“The people celebrated. They came to eat, to hang out, to do business. I sold them fried fish. They did processions around the church,” fisherman Mendoza said.

Carlos Navarete, an architect who has worked with Mexican authorities on a report on the structure said that ‘’the church was abandoned due the big plagues of 1773-1776.’’

It is linked to a famous figure in Spanish history, namely Friar Bartolome de las Casas, who arrived in the Quechala locality in the mid-16th century with a group of monks that built the church.

The church is 61 metres (183 feet) long and 14 metres (42 feet) wide, with walls rising 10 metres (30 feet) high.

The church highly depended on the nearby monastery of Tecpatan which was founded in1564 and was on the Chiapas' king's highway, built by Spanish settlers. The highway is still in use in the 20th century.

“At that time we still found the wood from the chorus loft and the roof beams,” Navarrate said. “Also a large ossuary of the victims of the plague that depopulated the area.”

“It was a church built thinking that this could be a great population center, but it never achieved that,” he added.


TRTWorld and agencies