A majestic 19th Century church that was once part of a bustling town has emerged from the depths of a lake in Mexico after water levels dramatically dropped following severe drought in the region.
The church, known as the Temple of the Virgin of Dolores, was last seen in 1979 before the construction of a dam drowned the entire area.
The crumbling Temple of the Virgin of Dolores spent 40 years laid hidden beneath Lake Purisma in Guanajuato and reappeared in July last year as a result of the drought, according to The Independent.
The church, which once housed a rectory and civil registry of Villa Real de Mina which was part of the community in the town of El Zangarro.
Documents suggest that the temple could actually date as far back as the 18th Century.
Former president José López Portillo ordered the construction of the dam after a nearby one in the town of Irapuato burst six years before.
Dulce Vázquez, director of the community’s municipal archive, told Mexico News Today : "The place, the parish, was crowded, because there was the civil registry and the vicarage, it had permission to carry out these types of procedures, that is why it was a very important place."
“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.
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"A few resisted until they saw it was already a reality that the water would arrive to cover the entire town."
The dam flooded 1,200 hectares and covered the entire town in water until the devastating drought set in.
Mexico’s National Water Commission chief, Blanca Jiménez Cisneros prompted Mexico to adopt water saving measures after 70 per cent of the country was deemed in a drought.
The area where the Temple of the Virgin of Dolores is located is among the worst affected areas in the country and dams are 50 per cent below capacity.
Ms Vázque said the receding waters had revealed more treasures than just the church itself but they had been subjected to looting.
"Things have been found, although it is already very looted, imagine, we are talking from 1979 until today it has been a long time," she added.
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