Haunting Ancient Church Rises From Drought-Stricken Reservoir in Mexico

The Temple of Santiago. (Photo: AP/YouTube)

The beautiful ruins of the Temple of Santiago are once again basking in the sunshine of Chiapas, Mexico.

The 450-year-old chapel, submerged under 100 feet of water in 1966 for a reservoir project, has risen from its watery grave due to a widespread drought affecting the region. According to officials, water levels in the Nezahualcoyotl reservoir this year alone have fallen by 82 feet.

The Temple of Santiago was built in the mid-16th century by a group of monks headed by Friar Bartolome de la Casas. It was positioned on the Grijalva River along the King's Highway, a popular route used by Spanish conquistadors. It was abandoned in the 18th century after widespread plagues hit the region from 1773 to 1776. According to SF Gate, it measures 183 feet long, 42 feet wide, with walls rising 30 feet. The bell tower reaches 48 feet above the ground.

This marks only the second time the church has reappeared, with the last emergence in 2002. Fisherman Leonel Mendoza told the AP about the festive reaction from the local population. "The people celebrated," he said. "They came to eat, to hang out, to do business. I sold them fried fish. They did processions around the church."

The other big difference this time? Social media. Visitors to the Temple of Santiago have been circulating stunning photos online of the ruins.