The building, which is known as the Temple of Santiago, as well as the Temple of Quechula, is roofless, over 60 meters in length, and has walls as high as 10 meters.
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It was abandoned in the 16th century due to “the big plagues of 1773 to 1776,” local architect Carlos Navarrete told ITV.
The church was originally submerged after a dam was built, which flooded the surrounding area and formed the reservoir. However, during times of extreme drought, the former place of worship has become visible, with fishermen even taking interested passengers on their boats to getting a closer glimpse of the ancient relics.
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The church first became briefly visible in 1966, while in 2002, the water level was so low that locals could even walk inside the church.
"The people celebrated. They came to eat, to hang out, to do business. I sold them fried fish. They did processions around the church," local fisherman Leonel Mendoza told AP.
The church is connected with the famous colonial-era figure of Friar Bartolome de las Casas, who came to Mexico in the 16th century, along with a group of monks who built the church.
"It was a church built thinking that this could be a great population center, but it never achieved that. It probably never even had a dedicated priest, only receiving visits from those from Tecpatan," Carlos Navarrete said.