Jalapa del Marqués

The drowned temple of Oaxaca

The town of Jalapa del Marqués in Oaxaca was intentionally flooded 50 years ago on January 1, 1961, to build a dam that was filled by the Tehuantepec and Tequisistlán rivers. Meanwhile, the population living there was relocated on the banks.

An old sepia-colored photograph shows the Dominican church in Jalapa del Marqués days before it was intentionally flooded. The temple is surrounded by adobe buildings and palm trees affected by the strong air.

Jalapa del Marqués

Now, when the level of the Benito Juárez dam falls, the old Dominican temple begins to emerge from the mirror of water, like a ghostly figure or a mirage.

That is why Jalapa del Marqués, in southern Oaxaca, has become the most visited in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region. It’s most popular time of the year is during the dry months when the church built in the sixteenth century makes its appearance.

The first thing that comes out of the temple are the two domes, then the walls with their beautiful columns and finally the vaults of the entrance, when the water completely leaves, it’s spectacular and a site you won’t easily forget.

In March each year, it is expected, that the temple built by the Dominican friars will be seen totally, do not miss this moment and explore it.

About the author

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

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