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After Years Underwater, A Church Re-Emerges In Mexico

The remains of a mid-16th century church, visible from the surface of the Grijalva River in the Mexican state of Chiapas, because a drought has lowered the water level. David von Blohn/AP hide caption

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David von Blohn/AP

The remains of a mid-16th century church, visible from the surface of the Grijalva River in the Mexican state of Chiapas, because a drought has lowered the water level.

David von Blohn/AP

A drought in the Mexican state of Chiapas has led to the reappearance of a mid-16th century church.

Lack of rain in southern Mexico has dropped the water level in the Nezahualcoyotl reservoir, revealing the Temple of Santiago, a church built in in 1564.

This is the second time the church has become visible since the construction of a dam led to the flooding of the structure in 1966. In 2002, according to the AP, water levels fell so low that visitors could enter the Temple of Santiago and walk inside it.

At its highest point, the church stands 48 feet. According to the Huffington Post, it's normally under nearly 100 feet of water.

As water levels have dipped by more than 80 feet, local fishermen have been taking visitors in boats to see the remains up close.

The church was originally constructed by monks led by Friar Bartolome de las Casas, a Dominican missionary who advocated for the abolition of slavery in the Americas. The church was abandoned after plagues swept the region in the late 18th century.

"It was a church built thinking that this could be a great population center, but it never achieved that," Mexican architect Carlos Navarrete told the AP. He adds that it probably never even had a dedicated priest.