16th century construction emerges from the waters due to drought in Oaxaca

After two years of drought in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region in Oaxaca, the temple located in the town of Jalapa el Viejo has emerged from the waters.

The town was flooded for the construction of the Benito Juárez dam in 1962, submerging what construction remained in the city, including this Dominican construction dating from the sixteenth century.

The fishermen attribute this spectacle to the lack of rain and the high temperatures that are felt in the area.

Since the last century, on May 5, 1962, when the town was relocated to form the municipality of Jalapa del Marqués, the ruins of the temple have emerged from the waters four times, the most recent in 2017 where it was seen in all its glory.

Miguel Olivera Sibaja, fisherman and inhabitant of Jalapa del Marqués, Oaxaca, explains:

“Definitely, to see the level of the dam in this situation is worrisome because if it’s not raining, it will dry up again and if we do not have a dam we will all suffer.”

Also the descent of the water allowed to see the tombs of the old pantheon of Jalapa del Marqués.

The temple of the Assumption of Mary, was covered that same year by the rains of the tropical storm Beatriz that filled the dam with a capacity of 900 million cubic meters in two days, again under the water, the earthquake of 8.2 on September 7 caused more cracking and the collapse of one of its domes.

Currently, the Benito Juárez dam , which supplies water to 50 municipalities and the Antonio Dovalí refinery in Salina Cruz, is 60 percent of its capacity and its water continues to fall.

About the author

This article was written by Ian Hayden Parker, Oaxaca Life staff writer, the leading source for English news in Oaxaca, Mexico.