A Drought in Southern Mexico Has Revealed a Drowned Colonial-Era Church


A piece of drowned history is drying off in the southern Mexico state of Chiapas. Thanks to a recent drought, a reservoir along the region’s Grijalva River has dropped to such precipitously low levels that the ruins of a Colonial-era church now loom out of the water.

The stone structure was part of a town once known as Quechula, Mexico News Daily reports. Dominican friars built Quechula along a stretch of road known as the King’s Highway in the mid-1600s. They intended for it to become a bustling urban center, but population levels remained low until the the town was finally abandoned when a plague hit between 1773 and 1776. In the 1960s, the Nezahualcóyotl dam was constructed on the Grijalva River to generate hydroelectric energy, and Quechula was flooded.

Recently, the Associated Press says, water levels sunk by 82 feet, allowing locals to row up to the church and take in its 30-foot high remains. However, this isn't the first time that the aging structure has seen the light of day. In 2002, the AP reports, the Nezahualcoyotl reservoir sunk so low that visitors could walk inside the church. And although it's certainly unique, Quechula isn't the world's only drowned ghost town. Thanks to other hydroelectricity projects, historic ruins lay submerged around the world, often emerging whenever droughts strike the surrounding area. 

[h/t Associated Press]