10 incredible churches consumed by water

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Bulgarian church

credit: Hristo Svinarov

What to do when a church gets in the way of your water plans? Drown it.

The planet has a pretty good system for moving its water around – it’s been doing it for a very long time. But we humans think we have better ideas for what to do with water, so we go and move things around and make dams and canals and reservoirs and other objects of infrastructure to supply our never-ending needs. And unfortunately, those plans sometimes conflict with things like, you know, ancient villages and stuff. But judging by the examples here and many more instances of the same, it doesn’t seem to be much of a hindrance.

All of the following churches have been intentionally drowned. But as drought and deluge persist, the structures emerge and sink in cadence with the whims of nature, providing an eerie foreshadowing for what the future of this planet may hold.

1. St. Ivan Rilski Church: Zapalnya, Bulgaria


This church was built in 1895 and was the center of the village of Zapalnya, a town dating back to the 14th century and which was famed for rose oil production during the Ottoman Empire. In 1962, everyone from the village and two surrounding ones was kicked out and the reservoir was built; all that remains are the ruins of an ancient church and fading memories of the scent of roses.

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