The Church of the Virgin of Dolores The Church of the Virgin of Dolores has reappeared after water levels dropped at the Purísima dam reservoir.

19th-century church ‘rises from the water’ in Guanajuato

The church disappeared in 1979 after the construction of the Purísima dam

A church hidden underwater for most of the past 40 years has reemerged due to drought in Guanajuato.

The Church of the Virgin of Dolores disappeared in 1979 after a dam was built in the area.

The church, built in the mid-19th century, was the heart of the colonial community of El Zangarro, which once housed the rectory and civil registry, of what was then Villa Real de Mina de Guanajuato.

The history of the community came to an end in 1979 when president José López Portillo ordered the construction of the Purísima dam, which flooded 200 hectares.

His hand was forced: six years earlier the city of Irapuato, 25 kilometers away, was completely flooded after another dam burst. The new dam was intended to avoid future flooding.

Dulce Vázquez, director of the municipal archive, said there was some resistance from residents of El Zangarro. “Oral history tells that it was very difficult for them to leave the place, not just because of the buildings, but because of the sense of belonging to the place … A few resisted until they saw  it was already a reality that the water would arrive to cover the entire town,” she said.

The inhabitants of El Zangarro were relocated to nearby land, where they founded a community of the same name.

The Temple of the Virgin of Dolores reappeared in July last year as a result of drought.

More than 70% of the country has been affected by the prolonged dry season, with a lack of precipitation particularly acute in Guanajuato.

Source: Milenio (sp)

Reader forum

The forum is available to logged-in subscribers only.