It’s not every day that a 450-year-old building emerges from the depths of obscurity, but for the second time in just over a decade, a 16th-century church known as the Temple of Santiago has reappeared in a Mexican reservoir . A severe drought in the state of Chiapas this year has sent water levels dropping some 82 feet.
The church has been the site of a few unfortunate events. Legend has it that the group of monks who had been running the place abandoned it in the 1770s after a series of plagues hit. Then in 1966, the construction of a dam on the Grijalva River flooded the area, essentially turning the temple into a 48-foot-high fish tank castle. An even worse drought in 2002 allowed people to walk inside the church and revealed the ossuary in which the bones of plague victims had been resting. While the reservoir’s water level isn’t quite so low this time around, the sight of ruin is just as beautiful (albeit troubling). Who knows? As climate change keeps heating things up, the monks may someday be able to return to spruce things up.