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Receding Reservoir Reveals 16th-Century Mexican Church

posted: 10/19/15
by: Danny Clemens

As Mexico's parched Nezahualcoyotl reservoir slowly succumbs to drought-like conditions, its receding waters have revealed a haunting relic from the past: a submerged 16th-century church not seen in over a decade.

Church ruins in Nezahualcoyotl reservoir
AP Photo/David von Blohn

Originally built by Dominican monks, the church was located in Quechula, a small town that church officials envisioned would eventually become a large population center. Quechula, however, was completely abandoned in the 1770s after a devastating plague ravaged the area.

In the 1960s, what remained of Quechula was completely submerged when Mexican authorities dammed the nearby Grijalva River.

Church ruins in Nezahualcoyotl reservoir
AP Photo/David von Blohn

Since then, the church has only been seen in such detail one other time. In 2002, the reservoir was reportedly so low that visitors were able to walk through the church's remains.

So far this year, the reservoir's water level has dropped 75 feet, exposing much of the resilient structure, which stands 48 feet tall at its highest point.

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