Abandoned church reappears thanks to arid conditions
While not exactly on par with the fabled city of Atlantis, a sunken church has recently been revealed in Mexico. This is only the second time the Temple of Quechula has been above water in the last 50 years, what’s old certainly feels new again, at least enough to draw attention from tourists and curious explorers. There’s a disappointing lack of mystery to all this, although it’s obviously an unusual situation. Unlike most flooded buildings, in this case the submersion was on purpose, but the drying out is the natural disaster.
The Temple of Quechula was originally built in 1564, complete with a 48-foot belltower. The town of Quechula was founded by Bartolomé de las Casas, and was expected to be a bustling stop on El Camino Real. The population never got going enough to even warrant a full-time priest at the temple, which was instead managed by priests from neighboring towns. Any possible growth came to a halt in the 1770s due to back-to-back plague outbreaks, basically leading to the end of the town.
The Temple was still in place in 1966 when the Mexican government built a dam on the Grijalva river to create the Nezahualcoyotl reservoir. The church and any remaining traces of Quechula were submerged under over 100 feet of water, falling even further from memory. A drought in 2002 revitalized things temporarily, when the reservoir was so dry visitors were able to walk the grounds of the ruins, with some people even taking picnics to the area. Now the Temple is peeking out of the water again, with the reservoir’s water levels down by 75 feet. Once again, the exposed ruins are drawing visitors, although that’s only a small silver lining against the worries of the current drought.
Source: The Mexican Drought Caused This Mysterious Sunken Temple To Re-Emerge by John Brownlee, Fast Company